As I mentioned a few days ago, I like to use living books instead of text books. Recently I was offered a chance to review a children’s biography from YWAM Publishing: George Washington: True Patriot along with the accompanying unit study guide George Washington: True Patriot Unit Study Curriculum Guide.
George Washington: True Patriot by Janet and Geoff Benge is one book in the Heroes of History series. Intended for readers 10+, it is an engaging 224 page narrative covering the life of George Washington from childhood through death. The story of Washington’s life is told in a very engaging way. Although it is a biography, it did not read like a dry text. The personalities of the characters was brought to life through quotes and speeches. It also highlighted various aspects of life that might not necessarily be covered in a child’s biography like why Washington went to the Caribbean with his brother, how he felt about the French, why he made the military decisions he made, etc. Not only was this a biography of George Washington, but it was also a great resource discussing the Revolutionary War, military strategy, and the founding of the United States. It discussed the political climates and various factions of unrest leading up to the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and in the early years of the country. I learned many things I did not know or hadn’t thought about as I read this book. I also appreciated that this book seemed to be rather unbiased. It showed some of George Washington’s flaws as well as his strengths. He really seemed human in the story.
The George Washington: True Patriot Unit Study Curriculum Guide includes a pages guide and four notebooking pages including a fill-in biographical sketch, maps, and a timeline. The guide includes eight chapters- an introduction to unit studies, and two appendices. The various chapters include suggestions like creating a display corner, chapter comprehension questions, key quotes from the text and suggestions on how to use them, extension activities like essay prompts, creative writing prompts, and other hands-on and audio visual project ideas, suggestions for how to use the community, social studies prompts, a brief chapter on how to extend George Washington into other areas of study, and one on creating a culminating event to end the unit. The appendices has a list of related books and documentaries, website, and National Geographic articles. Each resource is fully documented with ISBN and suggested age range, a brief synopsis, and brief commentary on the resource. The second appendices is the answers to the chapter questions from the study guide.
I did not read the whole book out loud to my girls. I began reading it out loud to them, but because of the meatiness of the text and their ages, I had to go slowly. It is a wonderful read aloud though. We also only used parts of the accompanying unit study curriculum while we were reading the book. The unit study guide is very detailed and has some truly inspirational suggestions that I think would be perfect for middle school students and possibly 5th graders. Most of the projects were really too advanced for my girls though. We did use some of the suggested resources in the appendices and the maps and timeline from the study guide though. My girls really enjoyed the virtual tour of Mount Vernon. I only wish I could take them to see it in person! We did enjoy the maps and began working on a timeline of events starting with George Washington’s life. We intend to continue the timeline this year as we get more into the Revolutionary War.
George Washington: True Hero costs $6.99 and the unit study guide costs $7.49. Only the biography is available in multiple formats including Kindle and Nook. Be sure the check out the other reviews. The Crew also reviewed a book on Jim Elliot.