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Everyday Life: Exploration and Discovery

By Walter A. Hazen
Good Year Books

PO Box 91858
Tucson, Arizona 85752

This is not your typical history book. It is a softback textbook that covers "the age of exploration and discovery," from the mid-1400s to the end of the 1600s.

This 89-page history workbook has 11 chapters. Each chapter is followed by a variety of activities--math and geography activities as well as vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing activities. There are crossword puzzles to coincide with the reading and many fill-in-the-blank worksheets. Many chapters also include arts and craft. For example, while studying the Spanish Conquistadors, students make their own tortillas. Other craft projects include a shoe-box diorama and a mobile.

The recommended grade level for the text is fourth through sixth (or ages 9-12). I used this book with my third and fourth graders and found that it was challenging and interesting. The writing captures the imagination; and the chapters are short, so my children did not get bogged down with too much detail.

There are quite a few writing exercises. We did not do all of them. My children found it more fun to answer the questions orally. The vocabulary was difficult but not overwhelming.

The answers to all of the activities are found in the back of the book. Mr. Hazen has done a great job of going beyond typical fill-in-the-blanks history workbooks and putting a variety of activities in each chapter. I look forward to more of his books.

Product review by Ruth Hoskins, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, November 2006

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