Growing up, history was probably my least favorite subject. We were taught to just memorize dates, names, facts, etc.. So I did. And I promptly forgot most of that information once the test was over. There was nothing fun about it for me. Deciding to homeschool, I was on a mission to make history fun for the kids and I think I’ve succeeded so far. A few months ago, my daughter learned about Rosa Parks so we have been on a roll with the history of slavery to freedom and everything else along the way.
One thing I quickly learned was that if I gave my kids a book – whether my daughter was reading it herself or I was reading it to the kids – they absorbed that information quickly. Not only that but they asked questions because they wanted to know more. They were mad about injustices done to people in history and excited to read about the change. I knew that we would enjoy reading the YWAM publishing books, beginning with HEROES OF HISTORY Clara Barton: Courage Under Fire.
I’m a book addict. I will read just about anything I can get my hands on and when this book arrived in the mail – it looked inviting. It showed up just as the kids and I were leaving for the community center. I figured I’d bring it with, page through it a little and get a feel for whether the kids would enjoy it or not. So…..three hours later I had read the book start to finish. That’s perfectly normal, right?! The beginning was very intriguing and left me wanting to know more so after the first few pages, I had to keep going. It felt like I was right there, experiencing it all with Clara. I was sure the kids would like it and we started reading it that night.
We all snuggle up in my bed and read for about an hour every night. Best time of the day you guys!!! My six-year-old really enjoyed reading this book and started doing something awesome as I was reading. He started drawing pictures of what I was reading to him. I’m talking page after page after page of what he took away from the story about Clara Barton. He would stop me every now and then to write a description about the picture for him and then go right back to working hard. He has started a journal of sorts to go along with the story now, such a cool idea! I’m always looking for activities for my boys to do while I read aloud because they can get each other wound up, I never knew one of them would come up with the solution.
I really enjoyed hearing the kids’ questions, observations or thoughts about what we were reading. This brings me to something else to love about these books. You can get a study guide to go along with them. The study guide is PACKED full of activities and ways to get more out of the story. The questions are separated by chapter which was super helpful for us. I kept the printed pages of questions by our book and would glance through it before I started reading that chapter. Often times, the kids’ questions, were related to a question so we would stop and discuss it. I love the essay questions in here and will probably use them in the next year with my oldest but for now, the creative writing questions are perfect for her. I wish we had started mapping out the activities on the maps in the study guide, but we didn’t get around to it and we love map activities. The information is separated by what you are learning about – geography, social studies, science, ect.. It is way more information than you will use so you can pick and choose what works best for your family.
I had my daughter put together a trifold display about Clara Barton. She was free to include whatever she wanted on it. I especially love that she decided to include the current temperature for where Clara was born. I helped her write things out on the timeline but she did all the rest of it on her own. While she was working on it, she reminded me that we still had to do school work today. She had no clue she was doing school work – she thought it was so much fun! It turned out great and I loved seeing what she remembered about the story. She absolutely loved Clara’s resourcefulness when she used the empty tin cans to put food in for the soldiers when they were out of dishes.
We learned a lot about not only Clara Barton but also other figures from that time period in history, places they took place and so much more. I think we will read about HEROES OF HISTORY Abraham Lincoln next. I think in a couple of years – the kids will read these on their own as part of their history lessons.
You can read about some other HEROES OF HISTORY reviews if you click the image below.