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As It Was! Series Review by Susan Wojtkowski

Jim McAlpine, Betty Weincek, Sue Jeweler, and Marion Finkbinder
Educational Impressions
116 Washington Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07507

Ok, I admit it. I'm a curriculum junkie. I love books, workbooks, project books, and I can never just use a curriculum at face value. I have to add activities, projects, movies--you name it. That's why I was so excited to have the opportunity to review the As it Was! series by Educational Impressions.

There are dozens of books in this series, each selling for $8.95. I had the chance to review three of the titles (The Civil War, War to Constitution, and Ancient Greece). Since all of the books in the series are laid out the same, I feel I can review them as a whole.

This series, geared for grades 4 to 8 and intended for the traditional classroom (but equally effective in a homeschool environment), has three main components in each book: Issues, People, and Places. Within these components, there are three activity types: Get the Idea, Get the Facts, and Make the Connection.

Get the Idea is a one-page activity sheet with little information given for how to complete the assignment.

In the Get the Facts section, there are numerous pages of activities based on a topic within the main section. Each page gives a short overview (one paragraph) on a particular topic (for example, secession) and gives an assignment for each of the following areas: Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies and The Arts. There is a nice variety of activities suggested, which is a benefit when you are teaching multiple children with varied learning styles.

The final activity type is Make the Connection. Again, it is a one-page activity with one line of instruction and a page of lines to write on.

While I like the variety of suggested activities, this is simply a book of recommended assignments. There are no worksheets, charts, or other cross-curricular visuals to make this a resource I would use often. In addition, it lacks any variety in the page layouts. Each page looks very similar to the one before and after it.

While I would use this series as a resource for varying activities in a unit study, I would not purchase this book for continued use in our homeschool.

Product review by Susan Wojtkowski, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008