Thursday, October 10, 2013

TOS Review: George Washington: True Patriot (YWAM Publishing)

George Washington is just plain cool. After all, we as Americans enjoy the privilege to do things like speak our minds about important life issues; as well as fight and bicker over government spending (did I say that?) And who can ignore the genius of the American Corn Dog? If it weren’t for George and his cohorts we all be most likely enjoying a bit of bangers and mash (which I happen to think is tasty) and spots of tea. So Bob’s your uncle! Or something like that. 

Josiah has been knee deep into American History as of late, so I was excited when I received the opportunity to review George Washington: True Patriot by Janet & Geoff Benge from YWAM Publishing. The book came with the George Washington: Unit Study Curriculum Guide which helped us dig a little deeper into our First President’s life.

Just a quick note about YWAM Publishing.  A while back I picked up a free book entitled Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime at the YWAM book at a Homeschool convention. I was familiar with Gladys Aylward…The Inn of the Sixth Happiness being one of my favorite movies. I devoured that book. And while I was disappointed to find out that Gladys did not fall in love with a handsome bald soldier, her real life was so much more…inspiring. I became a YWAM fan. If anyone wants to let me borrow (ahem) the YWAM book about Amy Carmichael…it’s next on my list. 

So on to the book at hand.

What I Received

I received an ebook version of George Washington: True Patriot which I easily downloaded to my Kindle. I also received 2 PDF files containing the Unit Study Curriculum Guide. This study is intended for ages 10+. 

The book is written in a fast-paced narrative style. There truly isn’t a dry or dull moment. The book begins when Washington is a young boy and ends with his death. It is approximately 146 pages of action and intrigue.  There is really a lot of information, but I never felt like I was being fed facts and figures. This is simply the story of his life. 

The George Washington: Unit Study Curriculum Guide (part 1) is 64 pages long and divided into chapters. They include:

    Key Quotes
    Display Corner
    Chapter Questions
    Student Explorations
    Community Links
    Social Studies
    Related Themes to Explore
    Culminating Event
    Appendix A - Books and Resources
    Appendix B - Answers to Chapter Questions

The one thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of suggested activities. I was just a bit overwhelmed when I first received it. After I chilled out, I realized that we didn’t have to do all that was suggested….though Josiah was ready to give it a go. What is really terrific is that there is something for just about every age, learning style and interest level. You, as a parent, get to customize it to whatever fits the needs of your group. I’ll tell you what we tackled in a moment. 

Part 2 of the Curriculum Guide are the necessary printables that one might use in conjunction with Part 1. There are a few maps, a time line, etc. 

How We Used It

I used George Washington: True Patriot as a read aloud. It was fascinating read. Even my husband got into it. We were all immediately struck by the amount of loss George Washington faced in his life. I can’t imagine how much families of that era went through. Death from disease was such a common thing. Both of my guys were also impressed with how much George Washington accomplished in the younger years of his life. He was quite ambitious. The battle scenes in the book were harrowing! They certainly kept my busy boy’s interest! 

When I received the Curriculum Guide PDF files I just used Staples online copying services. I also had them punch holes in the paper so all I had to do was stick it in a notebook. I then used a highlighter and marked all the projects of interest.

One of the sections I utilized quite a bit was Appendix A (Books and Resources). I reserved all the books I could online from my library. I also checked out a recommended DVD for Josiah to watch. I really liked having all of that information at my fingertips. It saved me lots of time!

I didn't find all the recommended books on the list. I made due with a few others that were available. The book above is one of those books.

As we read through each chapter, I used the Chapter Questions with Josiah for discussion. I also loved many of the Student Explorations that were suggested. One in particular was a lot of fun for Josiah. He had to pretend he was George Washington writing in his diary. Josiah chose the very first chapter to write about because young George is 11-years-old (as is Josiah). Here is his final product.

My name is George Washington. I am 11-years-old. I live in a wooden house with my family. I enjoy riding horses. I like to climb trees and have adventures. When I grow up I want to sail on ships. My mother won't like me sailing on ships because she is very nervous about storms.She would be worried I'd fall into the water. I could crash on something and drown.

My best friend is my brother, Lawrence. He is my brother and my friend. Lawrence is brave and kind. Lawrence lives on a farm called Mt. Vernon. 

So Josiah's journal entry reads like a pen pal letter, but I'm thrilled he didn't elaborate on the whole "falling into the water" bit. The boy has quite the imagination. In the Curriculum Guide there are some awesome Video Project ideas. We simply didn't have time to complete any of them, but they are certainly our "to do" list. 

Yes, dear friends. That is Darth Vader attending our history class.

Another one of the suggested activities is to create a Display Corner filled with memorabilia of that era, books and other George Washington items of interest. I am all about a Display Corner. It didn’t happen quite the way I had hoped. For one, we have a copy of The Declaration of Independence somewhere in the dark recesses of The Homeschool Cabinet. We had purchased it at one of the National Parks.  It must have run away with my missing socks because I couldn’t find it. I did find Josiah’s State Quarter Collection some of his grandparents had collected for him. He had a good time looking through those…though I had to tell him he could take them out to use for the XBOX 360 he’s saving up for. Details. 
"Mom. What does "blood bath" mean?" True Story.

I can’t recommend George Washington: True Patriot enough. I think it is a terrific read for the entire family. In fact, I recommend any and all of the YWAM books….even the ones I haven’t read yet. I just know they are exceptional.

The George Washington: Unit Study Curriculum Guide is a wonderful resource. Overall, I think that you will be able to use across many age groups. There is a lot of variety in the recommended projects.

You can purchase George Washington: True Patriot  for $6.99. The Unit Study Curriculum Guide is $7.49. That is a fantastic deal for a fantastic product. You can take a look see at this sample to get a closer look. The Crew also reviewed Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose. 

You can read reviews for both products here.



  1. Rebekah--

    Love your review...and your writing style! Sounds like the book was just perfect for your boy.

    Do you mind if I ask----do you use Pixlr for your titles? I just started (very slowly) with it today...but if I could make something as beautiful as you did I would be so excited!

    Melanie R. from TOS Crew

  2. Thanks, Melanie...We did enjoy it. I actually just use Power Point to make my titles. I have found I can use all my digital scrapbooking kits I've downloaded over time. I haven't tried anything else, but I could be curious to see how it worked out!

  3. Oh rats. I have no digital scrapbooking stuff! Well, that just means I need to work on my Pixlr skills.

    You're inspiring me, though! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...