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Freedom - The History of Western Liberties Set Review by Linda Rose

Hardback Student Book and Teacher Guide
Kevin Swanson
1 (888) 389-9080

Freedom - The History of Western Liberties is a one semester course for high school students who are junior or seniors. I would even say that most adults would enjoy reading at least the hardcover reader. It has some very thought provoking information in it. The text takes a serious and in depth look at something many people take for granted these days: freedom. The retail price of this set is $46.98 and can be purchased as a set on the Generations website.

This product is made up of two main components: the student reader and the teacher guide. The teacher guide includes a very helpful schedule. The schedule breaks down the readings into manageable chunks and also assigns memory verses, vocabulary words, study questions, essays, and exams. In total there are three exams and three essays assigned over the course of this one semester class. Permission is granted for you to make copies for you to use in your family. This is always nice if you have more than one child who will be using the material.

For the vocabulary assignments, students are to find the definition of a word and then write a sentence using that word. Each vocabulary page has the students defining and using at least five words. The study questions are designed to help the student digest and comprehend the reading material making the student think and apply the topics to life. The study questions provide a nice variety of though provoking material. Scripture is also incorporated into the questions, which provides students the opportunity to view the material through the lens of God’s word. The questions allow students to do more than just regurgitate the material they read. Students are asked to respond with their thoughts or their viewpoint on several questions.

The essay assignments ask the student to write at least a 500-word essay on one of several topics. They are given three days to work on the essay assignments, which roughly translates to one day to research, one day to write a rough draft, and a final day to polish the final draft. Some examples of student essay questions include the following:

  • In your own words, describe the biblical idea of freedom and redemption.
  • What are the links between the Magna Charta and the American Bill of Rights?
  • What are the areas in which we have lost freedoms over the last 100 years?
  • Why should Christians be involved in politics, and what are the issues for which they should fight?

All of the essay assignments are very thought provoking and really make the student lay out their belief based on what they have studied and researched. I appreciate the fact that this curriculum allows students the freedom to defend their position. This curriculum doesn’t tell them what to believe, but it does guide them to see the value of the freedoms that we have and why we need to protect those freedoms.

The student reader is a beautiful hard cover title written by Kevin Swanson. The book is broken down into five parts and contains 18 total chapters. The daily reading assignments do not take very long to read, however, digesting the very thought provoking material is a bit more difficult than just reading the text. The vocabulary is written at a challenging level. Students are encouraged to read for comprehension and they are encouraged to break the reading assignments into manageable chunks. Even as an adult reading through this text, I would find myself needing to stop or re-read a portion to be sure I understood what was being communicated. The book begins with a definition of freedom and continues to define tyranny. Following a brief history of tyranny, the topic of freedom is approached in chapter three. This chapter begins with a study of biblical accounts of many heroes who faced struggles in the Old Testament. Moses, Gideon, David, Esther, and the Apostles are all discussed in depth. From there the book dives into the early church. Chapter eight discusses the Pilgrims and their pursuit of freedom. Subsequent chapters discuss the fight for freedom throughout history. Part Four in the text discusses the subject of freedoms that have been lost and are eroding away at our families, our schools, and our government.

This is indeed a thought provoking and eye-opening book. It is a challenging read and will require a mature student who is able to digest and really dig into the topics that are presented. When reading this text and working through the study questions and vocabulary, the reader should expect to be challenged to think and to form opinions based on what they have read. It is listed as a history course for a senior in high school. I would consider using it with a mature junior, who is ready for a challenge.

-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2018