{Homschool Product Review} ~ YWAM Publishing

I love reading aloud to my children. And recently I was given the opportunity to review a book from YWAM Publishing Christian Heroes: Then and Now. I chose to use Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den. I was also given access to a Study Guide on this book as well.

YWAM Publishing

This soft cover book is written by Janet and Geoff Benge. This couple does an amazing job of re-telling biographical books in story-book form. They are captivating and great for elementary through middle school students, but even my high school students have read books by them or used them as a reference.

Christian Heroes: Then & Now

The story of Corrie ten Boom is a captivating one. The first chapter grabs your attention by beginning right as she was captured by the Nazi's, but then the subsequent chapters retrace Corrie's early life in Holland as the daughter of a watchmaker. Her father is a big influence on her life, and raises the family to love the Lord and love his people as well. Corrie throws herself into helping others and actually begins a club for girls, to aid them socially, intellectually, but most important, to know God and his love for them.

But the climax of the story is how Corrie and her family help others when Germany invades Holland during the second World War. The ten Boom family becomes part of the underground, and helps and hides Jewish people. This does lead to the families arrest. The story follows Corrie's time in jail and then in different concentration camps, Vught and finally Ravensbruck.

In God's Providence she is released but she was not finished with her work. She found a home for both those that were misplaced from the war and survivors from the camps, and helped them to readjust to normal life. She wrote a book and then began speaking and traveled the world, telling her story. The theme of her talks was forgiveness of others, remembering how much Christ forgave us. All through the rest of her life she encouraged others and shared her message of love and forgiveness.

If you are familiar with Corrie's story then you do know that there are some hard parts to read - both her father and sister die in captivity, and some of what she saw in the camps was horrific. But the Benge's do a wonderful job of telling this story, and make it appropriate for all ages. And her entire life story is told in this 199 page book, which is a good overview of her life.

I was also given access to a study guide. This comes in two parts: the Guide and the Unit Study.

The Guide is basically an overview of how to use all sections of the Unit Study. There is also a list of all books in the series in chronological order, which is helpful when choosing supplemental literature for history. There is also a sample schedule for both classroom and homeschool settings, and adaptations for teaching multiple levels and reading aloud.

The Unit Study is laid out by activity. These include display ideas, chapter questions, essay, creative writing and craft ideas, field trip suggestions, social studies activities, related themes to study, and resources. There are also templates for a fact sheet on the Netherlands and maps to fill out.

So how did we bring this all together?

I first looked over all of the projects and ideas in the Unit Study. I did print off all of the questions so they were easy to access.

I had the goal of finishing the book in about six weeks, so we were going to cover three chapters per week. This gave us three days of reading per week, with the other two days for doing activities. On the reading days, I would orally ask the six chapter questions. These were great questions, and had us thinking about word meanings, comprehension questions, and a couple of thought questions. This whole reading/question part took between 30-45 minutes.

The other two days of the week, I would pull from suggested activities in the Unit Study. Some of the things we did:

Colored windmills and talked about how they were used

Filled out a fact sheet on The Netherlands

Did mapwork on The Netherlands

We found Haarlem, Rotterdam, and the North Sea. There is also a map of Europe, where we found Vught, Ravensbruck, and Berlin. This really made the story come alive, finding these locations on a map.

In the social studies section of the Unit Study, there are a few pages of mapwork suggestions and geography questions and activities. I used these questions when we did the map pages.

I also required my high school student to do some creative writing assignments. One week she wrote a eulogy about Mr. ten Boom and another time I had her write a diary entry from the perspective of one of the Jews hiding in the "Angels' Den".

And one day while we were doing some of the Unit Study work, per a suggestion from the study, I found the Dutch national anthem to listen to online.

I loved reading this story to my daughters! These books make a wonderful supplement to any history learning and are very well written. The Unit Study was helpful - I do wish that the sections were divided up by chapter, instead of all being grouped by type of activity. There are pros to this: you can peruse the list each week and decide what you would like your student to do. But sometimes I don't like micro-planning, and would love it if the Unit Study was laid out chapter by chapter, with activities in chapter order.

But there are so many things in the Unit Study that you literally can't run out of things to do. In fact, you could do one biography every 8 weeks with all activities, and it would count as not only history and literature, but social studies and writing as well.

Again, our family really enjoyed this book and the Study Guide. A couple of years ago we reviewed the book on Christopher Columbus, and looking through the series I am also eying the books on CS Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Other members of The Crew reviewed other books, check out what they thought by clicking below.

Christian Heroes, Heroes of History & Study Guides {YWAM Publishing  Reviews}

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