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Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History Review by Tracey Masters

Amy Puetz Fox
Golden Prairie Press
P.O. Box 429
Wright, WY 82732

Choosing a History curriculum can be a difficult task. I wanted a curriculum that incorporated other subjects and makes History come alive. I want my daughter to be captivated by the stories of the past and for her curiosity to ignite which is why I want to introduce you to a recently released History curriculum with a Christian perspective titled, Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History written by Amy Puetz Fox.

Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History is a complete one-year History curriculum filled with historical lessons, stories, and activities. It is jam-packed with supplemental resources that complement the content. The full curriculum set we received in print version includes the following components:

  • Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History Part 1
  • Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History Part 2
  • Ancient History Skits Volume 2
  • Additional Materials CD
  • Listen to Some Ancient History MP3 CD
  • Sing Some Ancient History CD

The spine of the softbound curriculum consists of two volumes each containing 75 lessons making it easier to split the content over the first and second half of the year or to use over a two-year time period. Part 1 covers Creation to Alexander the Great. Part 2 addresses History from 300 B.C. to 500 A.D. from the Hellenistic Age to the Dark Ages beginning with the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to Saint Patrick. Story titles are indicated in bold print. The curriculum is planned out over the course of 30 weeks and provides the user with a total of 150 manageable lessons.

The book shares beautifully illustrated black-and-white artwork with corresponding thought-provoking comprehension questions related to the text. The questions can be answered in written format or verbally discussed to check for understanding. They are also available in PDF format on the Additional Materials CD. There are two useful 3-page answer keys found at the back of the books. Weeks 1-15 are located in Part 1 and weeks 16-30 are found in Part 2.

Reinforcing activities may include recipes, crafts, map work, experiments, past time games, memorization of Bible verses, visual timelines, reflection questions, songs, writing prompts, audio narratives, skit performances, and historical artwork observations. A helpful list of supplies and recipe instructions were given.

A one-page recommended resource list states high-quality literature selections and videos mostly for children ages 10 and up. I wish that there were more book suggestions offered for lower elementary grade levels.

The Additional Materials CD is pocketed at the back of the first book and includes printable game-boards, color-coded accordion book timelines, educational videos, colorful artwork, alphabetized pronunciations, lesson quizzes, maps, crafts, activities, and story pictures. Items are mentioned at the end of each lesson when needed.

The 44-page Ancient History Skit Book lists 22 historical skits from the Ancient Greece time period to the Early Christian Era. Bring History to life by performing them. Depending on the skit act, a range of 2-10 actors will be needed. A few titles included in this book are Pandora’s Box, Joseph and Pharaoh, Romulus and Remus Meet Their Grandmother, Alexander Learns a Lesson in Justice, and The Good Samaritan.

The Listen to Some Ancient History CD contains 1 hour and 57 minutes of historical accounts beginning with God’s Covenant with Noah and His Descendants through Saint Patrick’s Account of His Escape from Slavery. An audio collection of 22 original speeches, letters, Bible readings, and documents can be heard such as The Code of Hammurabi, The Ten Commandments, Nicene Creed, and Letters of Ptolemy and the Jewish High Priest to name a few. The accounts are approximately 1-20 minutes each. It cannot be used in a CD player, but is compatible with a computer CD drive, DVD player, and MP3 CD player.

The Sing Some Ancient History CD in this set contains 9 recreated historical songs representative of the time period lasting 26 minutes. The Peterson Family Band sang and played instruments for the songs on the CD. A few song titles are the Song of Moses and Miriam, Sleep Dear Child, and Cherry Bloom. Sheet music and lyrics were provided in the books for the songs.

Elementary children in 1st through 6th grade will take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete a daily lesson. The curriculum is organized into 5 daily numbered lessons for the week. The curriculum is adaptable for both older and younger children.

The lesson begins with a short informative reading separated into two differentiated grade ranges. The first section is written using a larger font for children in 1st-2nd grade. The content is shortened giving a basic overview. The second reading covers the same content using a smaller font, but is suitable for 3rd-6th graders. More details are added to the story giving students an in-depth look at the historical account. The reading content spans across 2-5 pages. I usually assigned the first reading to my daughter and I read aloud the more advanced version. Furthermore, the author gave warnings about graphic and textual content that may NOT be appropriate to younger or sensitive children. Alternate readings were provided if necessary.

I discussed the 2-5 comprehension questions with my 8-year-old daughter. We were able to pick-and-choose from a variety of fun and engaging activities. I glanced ahead to make sure that I had the supplies for upcoming activities.

She attempted to memorize the weekly Bible verses referenced in the lesson text for her Friday recitation. You can choose any Bible translation. We wrote the verses on 3x5 cards to study. Scattered throughout the book are verses from the King James Version.

The curriculum will appeal to homeschool families implementing many types of educational approaches including Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Living Book philosophies. The readings are short. You can cycle through Ancient History several times starting at a young age. Narrative stories and literature make History come alive. The activities will motivate any hands-on learner and all learning styles are addressed.

We thoroughly enjoyed utilizing this comprehensive curriculum. All of the age-appropriate activities enhanced the learning process and captivated my daughter’s attention. Her favorite activities were the recipes, crafts, and games. Making Egyptian Bread was a highlight of Week 4’s concluding lesson. She learned about the importance of bread during that time period. She’ll treasure her play dough ark, clay top toy, and her bow and arrow for many years. I love that homemade recipes were included for play dough and salt clay. Writing our names in cuneiform and watching the silkworm video were two other activities she enjoyed. The curriculum was easily implemented into our schedule. The daily lessons were straightforward and required very little prep work.

I was impressed with the integration of other subjects especially the inclusion of Art, Geography, Writing, and Bible. Identifying locations on a map such as Egypt, Uruk, Kish, Ur, and the Red Sea showed the accuracy and relevance of the content being studied. My daughter loved looking at the colorful artwork using a picture study approach. Discussion questions accompanied each piece of art. She observed more details and paid closer attention to and appreciated the artwork. She wrote creative stories about what happened at the Tower of Babel, life during the plagues, a soldier’s perspective from inside the Trojan Horse.

I wish the curriculum included a pronunciation guide at the front of each book rather than just on the CD. On many occasions, I came across Biblical names and places that I couldn’t pronounce but I didn’t want to stop the reading to pop in the CD to hear it. We usually sat on the couch for readings. Furthermore, it might be easier to locate pronunciations if the words were listed by lesson rather than in alphabetical order.

We were not as impressed with the Sing Some Ancient History CD as I hoped. The songs weren’t very catchy but we still listened to them. We also wished that the Listen to Some Ancient History CD stories were told with a little more passion or excitement using more interesting intonations and sound effects. The skits were more appropriate for small groups or larger families. However, we didn’t want to miss out so we split up the character parts and read it aloud. My daughter was fascinated with Pandora’s Box, a Greek legend, found in the skit book. She wanted to act out each skit. The skits definitely made History more interesting.

I highly recommend this well-written curriculum to all homeschool families and private Christian schools. You’ll be able to teach multiple children at different grade levels. The price is reasonable for what you receive and comparable to other history curricula currently on the market. If I didn’t already own it, then this curriculum would be one that I would consider purchasing.

Heroes, Heroines, and Tales of Ancient History can be purchased for $98.99. You can choose from two formats either the print or digital version.

-Product review by Tracey Masters, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016