Saturday, October 5, 2013

Schoolhouse Review - George Washington: True Patriot

This last month we have done a delightful book driven study by YWAM Publishing.  Since I was already familiar with their Heroes series I knew that we would be in for a treat with the selection we were asked to review George Washington: True Patriot.

While I had read some of their other titles that I found at our church library I did not realize that they offered a curriculum guide to go along with them.  Now you not only get to read about the hero, in this case George Washington, but you get to take what you read and turn it into an entire unit study.  For the purpose of my review we received both the ebook George Washington: True Patriot and the PDF version of the George Washington: True Patriot Unit Study Curriculum Guide.

The book itself was an enjoyable read.  Because of her special needs, Gess and I read the book together, taking turns doing the reading.  We were both captivated right away as it took us into George Washington's childhood.  I actually learned facts about his childhood that I never knew, like how Mount Vernon got it's name.  I liked that it kept to the factual elements and skipped legends about the man.  I also enjoyed how it read like a novel rather than a history book and yet stayed true to the facts.  It certainly made it more of an enjoyable read for both of us.

The story begins in July 1775 as George Washington is taking command of the colonial army to fight the British Army that he had once served.   Before the battle begins we go back to a six-year-old George Washington who is waiting or his big brother Lawrence to arrive home from England.  Lawrence, who was technically George's half brother, went to school there and George had planned to go there too, but events would one day change George's plans.  We then follow George's life as he grows up, becomes a surveyor and eventually a Major in the British Army.

It then begins to tell us of the events that led up to our fight for freedom from British rule.  The First Continental Congress met six days a week in secret with all of the windows closed and the doors locked so that spies could not find out what they were doing.  In a hall "filled with the smell of sweat and thousands of flies" the fate of our country was met.  I think the most dramatic scene was the speech of Patrick Henry.  Here is just a part of how it was presented.

" 'Our brethren are already on the field!  Why stand idle here? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God!'  Springing back to his feet Patrick Henry then opened his arms wide.  'I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.'  With that he thrust and imaginary dagger into his chest and sunk back into his seat beside George."

While the words of his speech were already familiar to me, within the book it really came to life as a pivotal moment in our history and the story of George Washington.  It was very moving.  We of course then follow George through the war and after that, his presidency.  In the last chapter we are caught up from the end of his presidency to his death.  Washington was a true hero who did what "no other national leader had graciously done before" when he willingly stepped down from being the President of the United States.  That act made even King George III acknowledge that Washington was the "greatest character of the age." 

Along with this delightful telling of this amazing patriot hero you may also purchase the George Washington: True Patriot Unit Study Curriculum Guide  to learn more about the man. This is a very in depth and detailed study guide.  In fact it was more in depth than I felt Gess was ready for so we didn't really do many of the activities there.

Besides several study questions for each chapter and some map and timeline work there were several other suggested activities including creative writing, drama, movie critiquing, and hands-on projects, arts and crafts and essay writing.   The hands-on projects included things like making a annotated mosaic or comic strip while the arts and crafts recommended candle making or stained glass windows.  The study is made to do it with various grade levels and they offer activities that can be done based upon where the student is.  Here is a fact sheet from the guide that Gess completed.

The book is good for readers of all ages, though for independent reading and study it is best for ages 10 and up.  The curriculum guide is also made to be usable with all ages but I feel many of them do require about the same age range and can go up through high school.

George Washington: True Patriot sells for $6.99 for both the paperback or electronic version.  The George Washington: True Patriot Unit Study Curriculum Guide sells for $7.49 which only appears to be available in paperback.  To learn more about this product you can visit their website or you can check out the other Schoolhouse Reviews by clicking on the banner below.


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