The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

History Makers Puzzle Block Set Review by Lisa McKinney

Bevy & Dave
PO Box 370
Ashburn, VA 20146

I recently was given History Makers Puzzle Block Set from Bevy & Dave to review with my seven-year old. Although he is too old for playing with blocks in general, I was intrigued with the additional aspect of learning Black History—something our family hasn’t focused on yet. History Makers Puzzle Block Set includes 30 wooden blocks (made of natural wood) with six sides of play—they fit together to form three puzzles; two African-American History puzzles and one puzzle of Bevy and Dave. The other sides are a colorful collection of alphabet letters, numbers, and new words. The block set comes with a fun mini history booklet (printed on recycled paper), Black History, 3 mini-posters, and promotes self-leadership concepts. The age range is 3+ and the set retails for $24.99.

The moment the blocks arrived, my seven-year old son practically ripped into the box. He LOVES puzzles so was eager to start putting together the blocks with their first puzzle. At first he was frustrated because he couldn’t see how it really went together, but when he discovered the included mini-posters contained the pictures of what the three puzzles looked like, he quickly was able to get to work. As soon as he had put together the first puzzle, he mixed them all up and attempted the next puzzle. Before he was done, he had put together the three puzzles that could be built with the blocks.

Once we had the puzzle that had the Historic Figures and Events put together, I spent time reading from the Mini History Booklet to learn more about the men and women featured in his Historic Figures puzzle. The booklet provides a very short biographical statement about what the person did to make them a History Maker. This was informative for me, as I was only familiar with three of the thirteen people on the list! I enjoyed learning more about these trailblazing yet lesser known historic figures. One of the ones I wasn’t familiar with was Percy L. Julian, one of America’s greatest scientists who pioneered creating chemical from plants to make medicine! Also new to me was Maggie L. Walker, who in 1903 established the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank in Virginia, consequently making her the first female bank president in the United States. I appreciated having this mini history lesson to incorporate new people into our homeschool history timeline.

Because my son is beyond the need to learn his letters and numbers, we have used the blocks just to enjoy the puzzles. We did discover through our exploration of each block side, that there are alphabetical vocabulary words, names, and events to coordinate with the letter on each block. For example, on the A block you will find the word Appreciation. One another side of the same block it reads “Be thankful. Express your gratitude every day.” The B block has the name Benjamin Banneker. He isn’t one of the characters in our mini history book, but the block tells me on another side that he was an astronomer, farmer, and scientist who helped design Washington, DC. Through this discovery, I found even MORE amazing men, women, organizations, and events relating to Black History!

I think this is a great resource to add to your collection, whether you are a homeschooler or not. Unlike the normal blocks, this set is actually a resource for teaching about a nearly forgotten group of incredibly important men and women in United States history. How easy it would be to go off on rabbit trails with your children to learn more about these men and women, who played a clearly vital role in our history. If these were just regular old blocks for my children, I would say that the price was too high, but because these blocks are real mini history lessons, the price is perfect! I will recommend these blocks to all my friends, especially my friends who eagerly are searching for ways to teach more about famous men and women of color to their children. I think I might have overlooked a very wonderful resource that the History Makers Puzzle Block Set offers, had I not been blessed to receive this product to review!

-Product review by Lisa McKinney, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2017