The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Boyhood and Beyond and Created for Work Review by Heather Jackowitz

Bob Shultz
Great Expectations Book Company
PO Box 2067
Eugene, Oregon 97402

Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz is a collection of encouraging essays on becoming a man for boys aged ten and up. Created for Work, also by Mr. Shultz, expands on the first book, devoting itself entirely to developing a good work ethic. This book was written for slightly older boys, aged twelve and up. Chapter titles are as follows:

Boyhood and Beyond:
A Grand Book
Admit It
One Degree at a Time
A Man
Be of Good Cheer
Education for Life
Forgiveness and Dirty Diapers
Get Up Again
Where Do I Belong?
Mr. Industry vs. Mr. Sloth
Learn to Like It!
Life Is Doing
Meeting God in the Morning
No Rest Without Work
Overcoming Fear
Preparing for a Wife
The Best Book
The Morning Watch
The Value of an Old Man
A Time to Kill
Preparing Your Children
Created for Work:
Art in Your Heart
Dangers of the Diligent
The Doorway to a Heart
Exit Strategy
Great-Grandpa Cornelius
Me Own Dog Tucker
Transported with Delight
How Could It Be My Fault?
My Instructor
The Plumbline
Promptly After, but not Before
Sidestepping Discouragement
Keeping Your Word
The Donut Race
The Making of a President
The Morning Song
The Process
Treasure in Our Box
Understanding Your Boss
What Are You Going to Do?
When Mercy Goes to Work
You're Rude
Work Within the Rules
Finish It

The layout of each book is identical. Each book begins with a poem: "If" by Rudyard Kipling in Boyhood and Beyond, and "Work While You Work" by M. A. Stodart in Created for Work. Each chapter begins with a relevant quote relating to the chapter and ends with a relevant Bible verse. A list of four to six questions at the end of each chapter can be used for discussion or journal ideas.

Mr. Schultz writes in a friendly, conversational manner. The books are written directly to boys but would be enjoyable reading for father and son together. Chapters are short enough to read easily in one sitting. Mr. Schultz uses Bible stories, interesting narratives from his own childhood, and meaningful analogies to illustrate lessons. He obviously remembers the struggles of becoming a man and does an excellent job communicating with compassion and understanding.

Boyhood and Beyond is an excellent book that I highly recommend to all families with boys. Recurring themes include seeking God, serving in the home, working hard, preparing for the future, and being honest. In my fifteen years of marriage and parenthood, I have read many books on family life and have often felt discouraged by them. Not so with this book. Mr. Shultz has a gift of encouragement that is sure to edify boys and their families. And who would have thought that a book written for boys could be so encouraging to a 35-year-old homeschooling mother? If I could pin down one recurring theme that spoke to my heart, it would be to make changes one degree at a time, not getting bogged down with the enormity of the task at hand. Mr. Shultz writes, "Often the boy who looks down on little things because he wants to accomplish great things never completes either."

Created for Work is also a very good book, but I do have a couple of reservations about it. In the introduction, Mr. Shultz writes, "What is the good of knowing how to read or write if a young man doesn't have the heart to work, to produce, and to create? Boys are often forced to sit for hours, year after year, in front of books. Modern child-labor laws hinder and even prevent them from learning to enjoy strenuous work. Then, after twelve to sixteen years of inactivity, folks wonder why all their teenager wants to do is sit on the couch playing games." First of all, I'm not sure I see the connection between reading books and sitting on the couch playing games. Secondly, although I know from his first book, Boyhood and Beyond, that Mr. Shultz encourages boys to do their best in all their studies, this book definitely leans toward physical labor as the best kind of work. This made me slightly uncomfortable; although, truth be told, I would be thrilled if my sons were inspired to paint the bathrooms, fix the fence, and build shelves in my garage! However, I am concerned that an immature mind might misunderstand Mr. Shultz to be discouraging schoolwork in favor of physical labor, as if it were an either/or situation. I offer this as my only caveat regarding a fine book that I hope will encourage my boys to work hard for the glory of God in every area of their lives.

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006