We had the opportunity to review Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life by Janet and Geoff Benge and its accompanying Unit Study Curriculum Guide on CD, which is part of the Heroes of History books series from Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Publishing.
Being a member of the TOS Review Crew has introduced me to a number of companies and new products of which I knew nothing about; companies and products I was familiar with and companies and products I thought I already knew about. YWAM is one of those companies I was familiar with and thought I already knew about what they had to offer. I just thought the company was a publisher of biographies. After having the opportunity to review one of its Heroes of History books, I realized they not only publish biographies, but also have a curriculum built around the books they publish. They also carry many other products that would be of interest to homeschoolers.
The YWAM book series, both Heroes of History and Christian Heroes: Then & Now, have several books in each that I have wanted to purchase for my children to read. I really want both sets and now, I am seriously considering “biting the bullet” and purchasing them for our school. The stories alone are worth the price, which is reasonable whether or not you purchase a set of books or individual ones. The books work well as read-alouds for all ages, but could also be used by a middle to high school student as independent history and literature study reads.
We read through Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life, which tells the story of the little girl who we all know as Laura and the author of the Little House on the Prairie stories. The Benges take the reader from meeting Laura at the age of three and a half years old through her death in February of 1957. We come to know the woman who documented her life and become the family storyteller. It is kind of funny reading another person’s interpretation of Ingalls’ life when she already has done such a wonderful job as an author in her books. Regardless, the Benges manage to create an interesting read even for those people who are fans and may have already read all of Ingalls’ books.
The unit study guide is available to purchase and use alongside the book, but is not required to enjoy the history shared through the stories. We received a physical CD of the unit study, but this option will soon not be available. YWAM is phasing out the physical CDs of the unit studies and moving to a digital option, which works just fine. It is one less CD to have to keep up with when working on school material.
As I noted, the Curriculum Unit Study Guide is not required, but if you would like to turn the learning experience into more than just a book read, having the study is very helpful. You can turn the history study into one that includes other areas of study with art; creative writing; drama; essay writing; geography; public speaking and reading comprehension with the activities included on the guide. Something I like about the exercises in the unit study is that they are geared toward that student who is working alone and may not have a classroom of peers with which to complete projects. The activities can be easily adapted for more than one student.
Because I had a wide age-range of children, we just used the reading comprehension questions that followed each chapter in the book. I always like this time with my children, because it is so interesting to hear the different interpretations of the same material. They are all individuals. Sometimes, they think alike and other times, they differ, but all make great points.
You should really consider YWAM products for your school. YWAM is a non-profit organization and much of the money they receive from your purchase goes back into the mission field, supporting people internationally.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life is available for regular price at $9.99, but YWAM offers it for $7.50.
You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members.