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Ancient History Portfolio Teacher's Guide Review by Heidi Shaw

Barbara Shukin

Barb actually sent me this fantastic guide quite a while ago, and between life catching up on me (and cyberspace apparently eating my first review), I am sorry to say I haven't yet been able to share my opinion. Here it is--get this guide! No kidding, if you are at all familiar with Barbara's awesome History Portfolio timeline books, you will absolutely love this teacher's guide. It's specific enough for those of us who want to fill all the boxes with something yet general enough to leave lots of room for creativity. I can't find anything I didn't like about it.

I had the pleasure of homeschooling a friend's daughter alongside my own for two days a week this last winter. This guide was and will continue to be a God-send since I didn't have to think up sketch ideas for them, or find clip art on the Internet, or pull out a labeled map. All the direction I needed was in the guide.

The guide I am reviewing is for the Ancient History Portfolio, and it is correlated for the 2006 and 2009 versions of the Portfolio. If you have an older portfolio but haven't used it yet because you were trying to decide what to fill it with, no worries. Mine didn't exactly line up box-for-box with the guide (as I have the 2002 portfolio), but it worked beautifully anyway. We just used the included clip art, used the maps (as they match perfectly), and used some of the many report and journaling ideas to fill in the empty boxes. The art is crisp and clear, perfect for markers or pencil crayons. The copywork ideas are great and include many pieces of Scripture along with other options, such as definitions or puzzles, so that the finished product is something to really be proud of.

I like the idea of having the Teacher's Guide in a separate book so that the ideas you use are the ones you choose. If you are flying through the portfolio with your own entries and ideas, just enjoy and use the guide for backup. If you need a suggestion, it is here. If you don't, you can just head on to the next section. I can see this guide coming in very handy when Dad may take the kids' school for a day or two. Or if they should need to work on their own, it is very easy for older children to do so.

I didn't use the guide much for the first few chapters of the portfolio since we were pretty comfortable doing the Biblical era and the first civilizations. But I used it during our study of Egypt, and next year as we move into Greece and Rome, I am sure I will be using the guide more and more.

The guide begins as does the portfolio--in the book of Genesis, and it carries on through to the early Christians and New Testament times. I can't think of a better combo than this guide and Barb's awesome portfolios. I even used her ideas to help my son finish up his timeline, and it was a different book altogether. The ideas can be used as a springboard in so many ways. I really believe it is a necessary resource on every homeschool family's bookshelf. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Product review by Heidi Shaw, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2010