Tuesday, May 30

General Douglas MacArthur

This year, we are focusing on modern American history – namely the 1900s.  So it is rather timely that we had the opportunity to check out Heroes of History : Douglas MacArthur, from YWAM Publishing’s Heroes of History series!  The book even comes with a Unit Study Curriculum Guide, with many ideas for creating a full biographical study of one of America's greatest military heroes.

We read Douglas MacArthur as a read aloud over a week-long period as a ‘rabbit trail’ through our World War II study.  For further supplement, we watched a video about Douglas MacArthur and used the People and Places of World War 2 course from SchoolhouseTeachers.  We used all of this in conjunction with our new (vintage) math textbook that was written in 1946 and heavily features WW2-themed real-world math problems....including some featuring General MacArthur himself!

Book Description
Combining history, biography, and action, Heroes of History shows the story of Douglas MacArthur and how he helped to shape history.  From his humble beginnings as a military child to the battle fronts of World War I and World War II, General MacArthur faced every challenge with courage and faith.  The book takes us from the back roads of Texas around the world to the South Pacific and Japanese islands.  We walk through fire and trials alongside MacArthur, witnessing his use of character as he meets each one head-on.

Geared to students ages ten and older, Douglas MacArthur and the accompanying Unit Study Curriculum Guide are a fun way to learn more about one of our American heroes.  The chapter book is written in a narrative style, and while there are no pictures beyond the small black-and-white line drawings at the beginning of each chapter, you’ll be so busy learning about this great hero of history that you won’t notice!  

We loved the book, but only used the study guide as a sort of foot note.  I appreciated the Chapter Questions section, because it’s always nice to review comprehension and tie everything together through further discussion, and mapping activities made for some hands-on learning, but the rest of the guide was not as useful for us.  If we were using this book in small group setting, or homeschool co-op classroom, many of the activities would be more applicable.  There are a lot of great ideas offered for groups of children working together to learn about the same thing!

There are several biographies in the Heroes of History series, from Columbus and Davy Crockett to Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman. There’s even a chronological list so you can easily add them to your existing history curriculum.  If you want to use that list to create a year-long course, the Unit Study Curriculum Guide comes with a guide for using all of the books in homeschool, co-op, and school settings. The unit study itself is broken down into eight major sections, as shown below.

Key Quotes
This section has quotes from other famous figures that are offered up as examples of what may have inspired the hero. 
Display Corner
Suggestions and examples of items to collect for display are offered. 
Chapter Questions
Each chapter is allotted four questions to help students focus on vocabulary, factual information and opinion/ interpretation of the information.  Answers are provided at the end of the book.
Student Explorations
     -  Essay Questions
     -  Creative Writing
     -  Hands-on Projects
     -  Audio/ Visual Projects
     -  Arts and Crafts
This section is divided into several sections with writing prompts, research probes, map-making projects, play and script writing, and other crafty projects.
Community Links
This is basically a ‘field trip’ section. 
Social Studies
     -  Places
     - Terms/ Vocabulary
     - Geographical Characteristics
     - Timeline
     - Conceptual Questions
This section offers more traditional and familiar study tips for understanding the geography of the area.  The Conceptual Questions section involves more short projects to help students dig a little deeper in the politics and geography of the area.
Related Themes to Explore
This chapter allows you to see other topics (specific topics in science, history, geography) that can be tackled during your unit study.
Culminating Event
These are ideas for closing out the unit study. 
See what others are saying about YWAM Publishing over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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