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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study One

 The Friends and Heroes video series features two young people living in the first century fighting for survival and justice against the Roman Empire.  There are 3 series of videos: one set in Alexandria, one in Jerusalem, and one in Rome each containing 13 episodes.  A Homeschool Unit study has been designed to go with the DVD's and this review will cover the first episode in Series One: Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study One, The Long Journey.

I received 2 items for this review:

Friends and Heroes DVD The Long Journey

Friends and Heroes Unit Study One CD Rom

Let's talk about the DVD first.

In The Long Journey, Macky and his family are surprised when 2 refugee girls show up in Alexandria seeking refuge in their home while their father (who was a friend of Macky's father) is off fighting the Romans.  Taking them into their home would mean big trouble and danger to their family.  In the DVD, the old testament story of Daniel in the Lions Den and the New Testament Story of Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish are used as Biblical examples to help guide Macky's family into making the right choices, being courageous, and helping others.  The DVD is 25 minutes long and recommended for ages 6 and up, although younger children can view it as well (my 2 and 4 year olds did.)

Now the Unit Study.

The Unit Study was designed for ages 7-11.  On the CD Rom, you will find PDF files of the Teacher's Guide and the Student Book.  The Teacher's Guide  is in black and white contains learning goals, background details, answer keys, and internet links.  The Student Guide is in full color and contains all of the activities and assignments for the student to complete. The study is divided into 3 chapters with each chapter covering the following subjects and the study covering the following topics:

a. History/Geography- Rome, Romans, Roman Money, Trade, Imports/Exports
b. Creative Writing-Journal Writing, Copy writing, Written Expression and Narrartion
c. Bible Study- Daniel in the Lion's Den, Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish, The Early Church
d. Science- Silver, Sand and cement, Geek and Roman discoveries
e Crafts: Sculpture, Paper Weaving, Pottery
f. One on one time: Discipleship-Trusting Others, Pride, Worries

You can purchase Unit Study One for $29.99 here.

Or you can purchase all of series 1 for $299.99 here.

All of my children (2,4,6,8,10,12, and 16) watched the video Long Journey.  I think the length of the video is perfect for the age range being targeted.  The animation, sound, and music are all good quality.  It was a story that captured the children's interest.  I liked the inclusion of both Old and New Testament stories in the DVD.  One of the things that I felt was lacking in the video was that although the Bible stories encouraged the characters to be courageous and help others based on what Daniel and Jesus did, the characters never go to the Lord in prayer and seek His will for the situation.

The Unit Study was used mostly with the older boys.  It was much more than I expected!  The study gives a good amount of detailed information on the background and history of Rome.  There is a variety of different activities to go with each chapter of the study.  The study is laid out very well easy to print out and follow along.  The amount of time you will need to complete the activities varies on the activity.  Reading through the history and answering the comprehension questions will take less time than researching a topic such as the river Nile and writing a mini report on it.  We decided to complete the comprehension questions orally.I really liked the One on One sections in each of the chapters.  We did not get to do the science activities because we did not have the necessary supplies.

How much time will the parent have to invest?  That really will depend on the age of your children.  The study is geared at ages 7-11, and I believe that 10 and 11 year olds could complete it independently.  The younger children are going to need some parent help.  Also, the hands on activities do not use items that you just have lying around the house so you will need to look at those items (tarnished silver, air dry clay, different types of sand, modeling clay, art supplies etc...) and have them ready for your child.  Reading through the Teacher's Manual and viewing the video ahead of time would also be helpful.

One thing to keep in mind as well is that it is recommended that the Student pages are printed in color.  It is 50 pages long.  I chose to print in black and white because my color printer uses a lot of ink and it is expensive.  I do think that the pages would look better in color, so that is something to consider when trying to figure out the cost of this study.  I did not print the Teacher's Manual (it is in black and white), I read it on the screen.

You may be interested to know that Friends and Heroes have some Christmas freebies on their site including an advent calender and a Christmas music video.

Disclaimer:  I received this products complimentary from Friends and Heroes for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.
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