YWAM Heroes of History: Thomas Edison (Review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

When the opportunity to review a book from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing arose, the only question was which title we would choose. We love the YWAM Publishing biographies and were excited about the chance to review a new title!

We have used titles from these series as read-alouds, pleasure reading, and as part of literature study for my older students. There are so many great options.

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For this review, I decided to let my daughter choose the book and use it as part of her literature studies. After looking over the various titles, she chose to read the book about Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard Work was written by Janet and Geoff Benge. It is a paperback chapter book that is recommended for ages 10+. They are written from a Christian worldview.

We think they are ideal for upper elementary and middle grades. However, they are interesting enough to still make good pleasure reading for my high school student. They also work great for younger students as read alouds.

In addition to the paperback book, YWAM Publishing also graciously provided us with the coordinating unit study. The unit study is over 80 pages of ideas, projects, worksheets, and maps to use with the book.

The first section of the unit study is key quotes that go along with the study. Some are quotes by the Thomas Edison and others are quotes that relate to his work and character.

Next, there are ideas for building a display corner. This is an area in your home that your student can put things that are relevant to Thomas Edison. This might be maps of where he lived, pictures, models, diagrams, examples of his inventions. This can make a great visual to help students remember more from what they read.

Third, there are about six comprehension questions for each chapter of the book. You could have your student do all of the questions, but I chose to have my daughter answer just the ones that I selected.

Next is the part my children enjoy most, the activities! There are a variety of suggested activities to choose from in various categories ranging from hands-on projects to essays to audio/visual projects. There are also art and craft project options.

My daughter chose to complete the hands-on project of writing and sending a message in Morse code. She enjoyed writing it and hearing how it sounded. She also shared it with her brother.

The next section of the unit study is community links. These are suggested field trips or people that could be interviewed to increase your knowledge of either the person you read about or his field of expertise.

For example, some of the suggestions given in the Thomas Edison study were interviewing a draftsman to talk about blueprints or going to a power plant/power plant museum.

In the social studies section, there are mapping projects, vocabulary terms, geographical characteristics, and questions to ponder. My daughter did the mapping projects and I felt that it really helped her to understand where the events took place.

Finally, the unit study includes a culminating event and a books and resources section. The culminating event is a fun party style event to close out the end of the study and the books and resources section provides ideas for additional study.

My daughter said, “I enjoyed the way they talked about his life and his inventions and how they were made.” When asked about the unit study portion she said, “I really liked the link they gave for a program where you could type a message in and it would give you the Morse code translation.”

She recommends it for middle schoolers and anyone who was interested in history and inventions.  The only thing she would have changed was making the map larger for the geography activity because there were a lot of places to include on the small map.

Whether you want a fun read-aloud, a new pleasure book, or an in-depth unit study, I absolutely love these books. The unit studies are great because there are so many options, the books are very educational and they are written from a Christian worldview.

I love that it is so easy to pick and choose what components we want to complete to make it as short or in-depth of a unit study as we would like to do.

You can check out my reviews of Benjamin Franklin, Orville Wright, or Alan Shepard. Don’t forget to click on the graphic below to see which books other Crew Members reviewed and how they choose to use them in their homes.

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