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Unveiling Heart and Soul Review by Kathy Gelzer

Gail Ledbetter
Honeysuckle Creek Productions
(336) 402-0030
6252 McLeansville Rd.
McLeansville, NC 27301

Here is a thoughtful, practical tool for homeschoolers, which has been compiled over the years by a seasoned homeschool mom who is making her work available to other homeschoolers. Unveiling Heart and Soul is a chronological multi-page list of curriculum resources for the four classic periods of history (Ancient, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and the Modern World). It features literature, biographies, plays, and films.

Although I received this product as a PDF download, a look at the website indicates it is now available only as a CD-ROM for $19.95. There are seven parts to my download: a cover page, a well-worth-reading six-page introduction, which explains the background story of the product, the four time periods of history resource lists, and binder instructions. Creator Gail Ledbetter suggests putting the pages in a three-ring binder with tab dividers, and giving a separate copy to each child in your family homeschool, which they can take to the library. This enables them to individually pick and choose from, mark up, and add to the list. Since I am used to underlining and annotating my books, this appeals to me. The list of resources should be used in conjunction with a timeline, and it includes resource recommendations for all student ages. The author found this list particularly useful in keeping track of what her high-schooler was reading for transcript purposes, so it can help with necessary record keeping as well.

The page layout has four headings:  Time Period / Title / Author / Level, and the pages are in landscape format. I would have appreciated a column for genre and one for comments, either the author’s or one’s own. However, there is some description added on some listings under the title category. The Time Period heading is a bit of a misnomer, as it also contains the topic or description at times.  A nice touch is a quote in red colored type on each page, which is taken from one of the resources listed on that page. Although this isn’t mentioned, I think these would make great copy book entries.

Under the Level heading, there are letters E, M, and/or H indicating whether the title is appropriate for Elementary, Middle, or High school students. One tweak that would make this part of the pages easier to use, and read, is if the single letters were kept in the same column under this heading. If it is a resource all ages would enjoy, EMH appears under this heading, but if it is only suggested for high-schoolers, an H appears where the E was, instead of where the H was. If the locations of the letters were uniform, it would make it easier to scan the pages quickly and find sources for a specific age group.

There are lots of titles I was unfamiliar with, and I appreciated the inclusion of many Shakespeare plays. It helps to know when to include these great works in your history studies. Lots of old movies, and some newer ones, are also listed. Parents are encouraged to use their discretion, especially where videos are concerned.

Literature based homeschoolers who use world history as their spine, whether Charlotte Mason aficionados or those with a classical bent, will appreciate this affordable product and find it most useful.

Product Review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2012