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The Mystery of History and Volume I Craft Pak Review by Kendra Fletcher

Jean Henrich
Enrichment 4 You
40 Great Oak Drive
Springboro, OH 45066

There are few curricula that have thrilled our family more than The Mystery of History. And while this review is not about The Mystery of History, I could certainly fill several pages with that product's merits and assets, the thoroughness of its content, and the enthusiasm with which our children listened to every lesson.

But this review is about The Mystery of History and Volume I Craft Pak, and I think I'm even more excited about it than I am about The Mystery of History!

Jean Henrich has been an educator for more than 20 years, and her artistic abilities have been put to brilliant use in her fabulous interactive, hands-on activities to enrich your studies of history, art, science, and language arts. All of her projects are unique and highly artistic, and yet when my 13-year-old created a weathervane last year, he was able to do the project completely on his own because the downloadable project guide was so thorough and easy to understand.

Jean worked with The Mystery of History author Linda Lacour Hobar to create an entire CD of projects to enhance your study of The Mystery of History, Volume I. These are wonderful projects:

  • Fossilize a fern in plaster
  • Sculpt a Sumerian bas-relief
  • Build an Egyptian shaduf
  • Create an ancient oil lamp
  • Assemble a Chinese cricket cage
  • Construct a Greek temple facade
  • Make Chinese paper cuts
  • Arrange a Roman animal mosaic

In addition to the projects, the CD (which retails for $22.95 as of this writing) also contains 35 beautiful reproducible coloring pages based on each craft activity. While all of the coloring pages include facts about the subject on the page ("By looking at a leaf's shape and edge, you can identify what plant it came from."), some also include wonderful truths about our God ("What a wondrous thing God has done!").

The CD itself is beautifully rendered. The graphics and artwork make it delightful to scroll through, and the way it has been laid out makes it easy to navigate and use. Each set of instructions includes plenty of clear photographs; there is no guesswork involved.

Older students (perhaps 12 years and up) can follow the instructions on their own. Younger students needn't be excluded from the fun--mom can do the projects right alongside them. I believe the benefit to the student would be well worth the effort involved. Some projects, however, require adult supervision regardless of the age of the student, so be prepared to join in the fun! The completed projects are a higher caliber than other craft ideas I've seen. These are items you will be pleased to actually display in your home.

The CD includes a master materials list for all of the projects. In addition, each project is referenced to the coinciding lesson from The Mystery of History, Volume I, so you will know right off the bat when to integrate each one into your history instruction.

Typically when I review a product, I try to identify a potential negative in the product. This time, however, I am hard-pressed to find one. Jean Henrich and Linda Lacour Hobar have produced a product that is beautiful, helpful, educational, age-integrated, and thorough. I wouldn't change a thing!

Minimum system requirements: MS Windows 95, 16 MB hard disk space. 

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2006