History Through Books {Homeschool Review Crew}

History Through Books

Homeschool Review Crew

History Through Books {Homeschool Review Crew}


Do you love history?  We do!  I also like using a more Charlotte Mason approach in our homeschool.  Learning history through books is the perfect way to go!  We’re beyond excited to tell you about a new series of books that we’ve recently been reviewing through the Homeschool Review Crew.  It’s the If You Were Me and Lived In . . . . series brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com.  We received four titles for our review!

The four titles we received are If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Elizabethan England(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 3), If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Middle Ages(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 6), If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Colonial America(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 4), and If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Renaissance Italy(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 2).  

These learning history through books titles do not have to be done in order of volumes.  Which is wonderful!  It allows for kids to pick what time period most interests them and dig in.  No slow going through titles that hold no appeal for them just to get to the fun stuff.

I personally love the Elizabethan England period and couldn’t wait to dig into that book with my children.  Learning history through books is so much fun.  Well, it is to me!  And thankfully my children have inherited my love of reading and history as well. The books are engaging and full of information.  When you travel to Elizabethan England you become the child of a mid-class tradesman.  But, you also learn about the class of people above and below you.  You learn about the entire time period without really realizing you’re learning.  This is why learning history through books is so much fun!   This book is 50 pages long including the important people section and glossary. 


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

After going through the Elizabethan England book we jaunted back into time through the Middle Ages.  It’s a bit longer than the first at 97 pages long.  We could have done these in order probably but I was in a hurry for the Elizabethan England. It’s my favorite time period!  Medieval would be a close second though.  In the middle ages we got to become wealthy(where we were middle class in Elizabethan).  This was a new and fun experience and even my three year old daughter was interested in the book and what we were reading.  Blood letting brought about a very long discussion as well. 


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

We decided to stay with this theme and went to Renaissance Italy next.  It’s again a bit thinner at 53 pages long.  I can’t say that I have ever put a lot of study into the Renaissance though I do like the time period.  It’s not a favorite that’s garnered a lot of attention.  I love that in all of the books they show the city or area that you’re studying in a then and a now picture for comparison.  This is great and leads to a lot of good observations and study.  We also love finding all the names that might have been.  Some bring a lot of laughs from my children.  Studying the Renaissance also gave us more information about why people didn’t drink water.


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Our last stop brought us to Colonial America.  This would be an amazing book to add to a Thanksgiving unit study.  It is 61 pages long.  There are other books in this series about different periods in American history but this is the one we were sent.  It’s 61 pages long.  You’re in for a fun adventure in this book as you start out in England before going to the Netherlands and finally America.  

This book series brings you history through books in a way that children of all ages will love and enjoy.  It’s not the dry history that makes you memorize dates and names though.  The history you’re learning is much more fun!  Learn the clothes that were worn, the way they wore their hair, the food they ate, etc.  History through books helps bring about the discovery of history through the eyes of a child their own age living in a different time.  It’s fun yet also learning which is the best combination!

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
Learn more about Awaywegomedia.com and the If You Were Me and Lived in . . .  series by visiting all the reviews linked up on the Main Crew Blog Page.  There were several different titles available for review so you’re sure to find a time period that interests you!  You can also find them on facebook, twitter, goodreads, and pinterest.


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Literature Based Learning #hsreviews

Moving Beyond the Page Review
I don’t know about your school, but in our homeschool I love to base our learning on books.  Literature Based Learning takes the focus off book work and turns the focus on books.  We do a LOT of reading.   Thus I was thrilled to be able to choose two titles to review from Moving Beyond the Page recently through the TOS Crew.   We chose one Language Arts Package – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and one Social Studies Package – Early Explorers.  

Moving Beyond the Page has three separate categories for learning.  You can find literature studies for Language Arts, Social Studies, or Science.  They are then broken down by ages so you can find one appropriate for your child.  After you decide what subject and what study you want, you then have to choose whether you want an online study or a physical package study.  I prefer the physical package study but for the purposes of this review I have received one of each!  Great to get to try them both out.

Let’s talk about the studies now!  Each study can either be online or physical with the study guide.  They are designed to take 3 weeks to complete.  We used it as described for that.  You’ll find that they tell you how many days and what to do which day so that you have a great guideline.  I enjoyed this as it did not require a lot of planning on my part.  

We chose The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because it has been a favorite supper time read aloud with daddy.  Several times now he has read through the series with our children and they enjoy and love the series as well as daddy reading to them.  I thought it was about time our older two read it on their own and delved a little deeper into it.  We received the online package for this study.  You might ask what is included in the online package?  We received a physical copy of the book and then online we gained access to the guide.  This study is geared towards ages 8-10.  It is designed for a child who can read at a 4th-5th grade level as well as be able to write an organized paragraph.  The site suggests that this is  normally children in the 3rd-4th grade range.  The online package can be purchased for $21.92.  The physical package can also be purchased(we received the online version) for $25.98.  In the physical package you receive the book as well as a physical guide.  

Each of the units can also be used with another unit.  They have been geared to work together and build on each other.  However, they do not have to be used together.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe can be used in conjunction with Unit 2: The Power of People or as a standalone unit.  We are using it as a standalone unit.  But it’s nice to know that you could combine two to get more from them and make it an even greater unit study.  We like unit studies here!


literature based learning


In the literature based study of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you do not JUST compare the book to the movie, though that of course is a fun thing to do.  We used the animated version of the movie as it is a bit less scary and some of my children really struggle with scary things causing them to shut down.  If the child shuts down, it really does no good to talk to them because they would not have heard or be able to think of any of the answers you are looking for.  So, back to the original thought process!  In addition to comparing to the movie, with this study your child will learn to write a rough draft.  Now, it might not be a perfect one, but they learn the process as well as how to use possessive nouns, the correct forms of plural(use the rules of plural correctly), and practice logical thinking.  That last one quite a few of my children have issues with.  Their brains are not quite at a point that they can think logically and rationally.  I am always looking for new ways to encourage this.  I really did not have to worry for this study though because the child who was doing it does not need those special helps.  I have packed away some things in my brain though to study and try out with the others.

Now!  Let’s talk about who used this study. My oldest daughter who is 9 years old and working at a 3rd to 4th grade level was the one bouncing off the walls with happiness about this review product.  No joke.  This is one of her favorite books and a first time for her  reading it on her own.  At the end of the day she would spend time talking to daddy and discussing what she had learned with him.  This was probably my favorite part.  Watching them connect over school.  With all of his chores to keep our farm going and his business(work), he’s not home during school to help with the kids a lot.  I love that he can be involved over supper talking to them about what they’ve learned and having these types of discussions.  The other part of Literature based learning that is so wonderful to me is that we can go into detail over the age-old philosophy of good vs evil.  This book is wonderful for that and is a lot of what daddy and Bridgett discussed.  Also the use of power and how power can corrupt.  Daddy also brought up absolute power and the power of God and it made for some fun discussions.  The other children would chime in as well and it made me wish I had a way of recording the discussions for my kids to hear themselves in a few years!W

Wow!  All that on the first Literature Based Learning unit from Moving Beyond the Page.  Let’s move on to our Social Studies Package for Early Explorers.


literature based learning



I chose the Early Explorers course for my oldest son.  He is 7 but is at the same level with his older sister.  He is very competitive and doesn’t want her to get ahead of him in school so he works to keep up.  He also is gifted and really has not had to work hard.  This study is also geared for ages 8-10 or grades 3rd-4th with a reading level of 4th-5th.  We received the physical study for this one which can be purchased for $33.97.  An online version is also available to purchase for $29.91.  For this we received the study guide(in physical format), and two physical books.  These books are Explorers Who Got Lost and Exploration and Conquest The Americas after Columbus: 1500-1620.  

The reason we chose this study is that my son currently is very interested in learning about exploration and this time period.  He’s really loving history!  I, of course, like to encourage him in his love of history and help him learn as much as he wants.  This study was perfect for him.  In the study your child will get to explore with the explorers and then think about what the explorations meant.  What did they mean to the Native people of the land?  What their exploring mean for the countries doing the exploring?  What was gained?  What was lost?  This is some powerful thinking for an 8-10 year old(or 7-year-old in our case)!  Of course, you then have to decide what an explorer needed to go on his exploration.  Patrick had some mock explorations that he did with this study.  

It was so fun for him!  He became the explorer.  We went up on our hill(bluff) and we explored in a way we really haven’t done before.  We looked at what someone who had never seen this land before would see.  I think it opened all of our eyes to a new way of looking at our little world.  It was fun for the whole family to take our adventure hike.  This study is recommended to be used with another study titled Pedro’s Journal which is a language arts package; however, it does very well on its own and they do not need to be done simultaneously.  

In one of the lessons, the study guide included some explorer cards that your child fills some information in on.  These my son filled out, cut out, and then carried around talking to anyone who would listen about the explorers.  I really think we’ve created a monster in this boy!  I can’t wait to see what he does next in his quest for knowledge!  Wait that makes him an explorer of knowledge!  Oh yes, he loves this designation.

Need to learn more about Moving Beyond the Page and their approach to Literature Based Learning?  Not sure if you would like the studies we did but want to see if there are others you would.  Maybe the Science?  Well check out the Main TOS Blog Crew Post and read other reviews from fellow exploring children of the Moving Beyond the Page Curriculum.  You can also find Moving Beyond the Page on Facebook.  


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Self-Paced History with Veritas Press #hsreviews

Veritas Press Review
Recently with the TOS Crew we were introduced to Veritas Press.  I had never heard of them before and was eager to do a little looking around at their site before choosing a course that would interest my children.  They offer several different periods of history in a self-paced form and have one that should appeal to anyone.  Most importantly to us, Veritas Press offers history through the Biblical perspective.  They are intertwined together so that one cannot be taught without the other.

Veritas Press Review
We chose the Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation as my son is into the middle ages and the times of knights right about now.  The castles, the battles, the knights and their kings; these are all things that interest my 7 year old who is starting into third grade.  With this online self-paced course we also received a set of Middle Ages, Ren & Ref Flashcards to help him learn the specifics that are more rote memory.

We received a full year of the course.  This is what you receive when subscribing as well.  You have a year from start date to end date to finish the course.  While it is self-paced I did want to point out that you do only have  a year to finish.  It really isn’t that hard to do from what we’ve done with the amount of lessons.  

Let’s start with the flashcards.  There are 32 cards for major events that happened during our session of history.  You can use them for the typical flashcard way of memorization or find fun new innovative ways to use them.  They are available to purchase for $19.95 on the Veritas Press website.  

Veritas Press Review
The self-paced history courses are geared for children ages 7 and up or grades 2-6.  My son is 7 years old currently and going into the 3rd grade so this is a great fit for us.  The cost of the program is $199.00.  It is all online and perfect for the little one who doesn’t like someone telling them how many chapters they must do per day.  They are given a year from start date to end date to finish their course.  


My son loved the “do it myself” aspect of this course.  He is advanced which means he tends to get bored easily if he knows something.  The course has 160 classes covering 32 important historical events during the time period.  Those 32 important historical events are also on the flashcards to help and make sure that they are learned by the child.  

I have to say I was a bit worried at first that my 7 year old would get bored with the course.  It’s online.  Would it be just a lot of reading?  Would he get bored and not want to do anymore?  Was I going to have to force him to do his work?  He had seemed interested when we looked at it before being chosen to review, but was he still interested?

Veritas Press Review
My worries were all for naught.  This program has interactive teaching which includes some clever games to help increase involvement and also help them with their memorization.  There is also some pretty fun video spots for the kids and even talking historical characters relevant to the time period.  This was the fun part!  I have to also let you know of a part that really made my son love this.  His daddy made him a wooden sword that takes two hands to wield just like the knights and people of the time period had.  I think it’s called a broadsword or a longsword.  I’m not hip on all that terminology, but his daddy knows and the two of them had mock fights and just had a lot of fun playing around with the information he was learning.


I on  the other hand, had to be the “mean” parent since daddy was the fun one and help him with his flashcards to make sure he was learning his dates for the tests.  Yes, there are tests.  And yes, he has some problems with his advancement which make him get very upset when he doesn’t do well.  It is my understanding that the tests can be retaken, but the first grade is the one that sticks.  So, when we took the first test and missed some questions he was NOT happy.  That made him want to try harder to learn the dates and people that he needed.  

I, as a parent, am impressed with this program.  My son, as the student, is happy with the program and has not gotten bored or wanted to quit.  I think if we were to start over I would want to start at the beginning with their first history program and do it in a timeline approach.  Help us learn all our history by doing it in order.  For now though, I’m glad we chose the one that most interested my son so that he would enjoy his history for this year.  

Don’t forget to check out Veritas Press on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and google + to see when they have updates and possible some fun things for kids!

Would you like to hear more of what others thought of the program?  Want to check out the other levels of history they cover?  Simply head over to the Main Crew Review Page and look at the other reviews.  We were allowed to choose which self-paced history level we wanted as well as some using the Omnibus history.

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American History Unit Study for Elementary Ages #hsreviews

Golden Prairie Press Review
If you’re like me, you love history.  I want my children to love history as much as my husband and I do, so I put a lot of thought into which curriculum we choose.  Recently, we reviewed Golden Prairie Press.  They have an awesome American History Unit Study for Elementary ages.   It is Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum and it is great!   Okay, so you don’t have to take my word for it, keep reading and decide for yourself!

Golden Prairie Press Review
This history curriculum is geared for grades 1-6 though older ages can use it as well.  Within the digital file you will find two sections on each subject.  The first section is for younger grades 1-2 with larger font and a more basic overview.  The next section is for grades 3-6 and is more in depth with smaller font.  This is a 30 week history.  We received the complete history set which includes:

  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 e-book (lessons for the 1st half of the year.)
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 e-book(lessons for the 2nd half of the year.)
  • Historical Skits e-book(nineteen skits from the time of Columbus to World War II)
  • Sing Some History Audio Download(Hear some of the songs that are mentioned in the book)
  • Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 Audio Download(An audio collection of original speeches, poems, sermons, and documents that are mentioned in the book)
  • Additional Materials Downloads (Printable timelines, instructions and entertaining videos, color artwork, coloring pages, and much more. 

The full curriculum is available to purchase for digital download for $98.99.  These come in MP3, zip, and PDF files.  You can then use them online or print them off.  I prefer to print off the two sections of the book so that I can have them in my hands for planning purposes.  I’m a very hands on type person when it comes to books.  I want to be able to touch them and mark them up if I want to.  It’s kind of hard to highlight my computer screen!

Golden Prairie Press Review

American History is so important for our children to learn.  It’s our history and heritage as a country.  However, most of the time history curriculums are dry.  They don’t hold a child’s interest let alone leave an impression on them that will stay with them.  This is where the good and the bad in terms of American History curriculum are separated.  For us, Golden Prairie Press has created an American History Unit Study that we consider to be a good one!  A keeper if you will.  As a history buff, I’ve tried several history curriculums.  While my kids might have been okay with most, and maybe even paid attention and retained s0me of the knowledge, they were just lacking.  I did not approve.  I wanted an all intensive curriculum that would engage my children and make them want to go back in history.  I wanted them to question and actually be fully involved in their school.  

This is what the Digital Downloads Heroes and Heroines of the Past does for us.  It’s makes my children want to learn.  It makes them want to do more than just that days history lesson.  We have history recreations going on in our yard and in the bedrooms.  I also discovered that you have the option of purchasing the curriculum with a print book as well.  You can see that by going to THIS PAGE.  If I were purchasing the curriculum, I would purchase it with the print books instead of printing them off myself.  

We used this curriculum as our complete history.  So it was being used 5 days a week.  We just stopped the history we were doing(I wasn’t that impressed with it, but it was what we had) and implemented this new curriculum as our main history.   It took over.  We used it daily for the review period and well, we’re still using it daily!  A sample of our day in history would be we do a lesson a day.  We read  the lesson, then we use any of the extras that might go along with our daily lesson.  And then the fun begins!  This is where we either use the skit that is in the extras or we make up our own!  My kids love to reenact things(might have something to do with us being Civil War reenactors) and this is such a fun history to reenact.  I find we spend twice as long on our history lessons, but we retain almost 100% off the lesson!  

If you’d ask me if I recommend this curriculum for your American History needs, the answer would be yes.  I do also want to mention that a few other books are mentioned in the lessons and you are asked to read and reference them.  You can purchase them through the Golden Prairie Press website or simply borrow from the library.  The only difference will be that the books through Golden Prairie Press have been revived a bit.  A main one that is mentioned is Ten Girls From History in which the creator of the curriculum has removed a few chapters and edited the version she sells to make it more child friendly.  

Like what you’re learning?  Want to learn some more about this curriculum before you purchase?  Please take a moment to jump on over to the Main Crew Blog Post and check out all the other Crew reviews.  There are several and we all reviewed the same products so you are bound to find someone who thinks along the same lines as you do and see what their reaction was.   You can also check out Golden Prairie Press on Facebook.  

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