Switherby Pilgrims: Tale of the Australian Bush
Miss Arabella Braithewaite (a.k.a. "Missabella") teaches orphan children living in England in the early 1820's. Realizing there is no future for these children in this era of factory growth and child labor, she plans to move her group of ten orphans to Australia to take up a land grant. Follow along with Missabella and the children as they journey at sea and face the challenges and triumphs of making a new continent their home. By Eleanor Spence. 195 pgs, pb. ~ Lisa
Miss Arabella Braithewaite of Switherby knows there is no future for the ten orphans—a remarkable mix of genteel and working class children—she has gathered together in these years of England’s grim factory growth in the early 1820s. Her plan, quite outrageous in the eyes of most, is to take the children to Australia to take up a land grant. Thus, one day the townsfolk gather to watch a line of departing “pilgrims” led by the fearless “Missabella.” On a new continent, and after a daunting ocean voyage, the challenges begin. To the orphans it becomes a life-giving adventure, even when serious unexpected threats must be overcome. Australian author Eleanor Spence, writing with keen personal insight, sketches each child and adult’s engagement with the new land and its people and with one another. From their courage we glimpse the futures of this unlikely band beginning to emerge with hope and personal dignity.
I am excited that Ray and Charlene Notgrass have written this excellent, one-year world history course! While many families enjoy a chronological, multi-year approach to world history, others prefer to study history in a more traditional manner - one year at a time. Written in the engaging narrative voice that has made the Notgrass courses beloved by many homeschool families, this new World History begins at the very foundation of our Christian foundation- Adam and journeys to the end of the 20th century, with a final unit on our interconnected world (from the thrill of world-wide sporting events to turmoil in the Middle East).
Containing 30 units, with 5 lessons per unit, this course will take students one year to complete. It is anticipated that daily lessons will take 45-90 minutes per day, although it is naturally flexible for homeschool families to set their own pace. While the target grade range is 5 through 8, families with younger children will find this a perfect read aloud curriculum, as the text has been clearly and engagingly written.
Let me give a bit of an example of how the unit lessons are laid out. At the start of each unit, there is a brief introduction to the lessons including the recommended literature selection to accompany the reading. Each weekly unit has one lesson from each of five categories: Our World Story (major events in history); Gods Wonders (impact of the worlds created wonders on history and culture); World Landmarks; World Biography of some of historys most influential personalities and Daily Life (an inside view of everyday life). Daily lessons are richly illustrated with graphics and photographs, including maps of historic places and regions. At the conclusion of each lesson (approximately 5-8 pages), parents and children will select assignments to complete from a list of 5-7 assignments. Older students may be able to complete all the activities-but again- there is built-in flexibility for your individual familys needs. Assignments include readings from the Our Creative World book (collection of original documents); Map Book assignments; Timeline Book assignments; assignments from the Student Workbook and Lesson Review Book (optional resources), as well as language arts assignments covering vocabulary, creative writing, literature selections. Thinking Biblically assignments are also included with most lessons and are designed to engage students in applying Scripture to history and life. Each unit also provides a suggested weekly family activity-projects vary and include arts and crafts, recipes and games. Materials are easily found for the projects and are designed to bring the family together to enjoy time together building memories.
Curriculum package contains From Adam to Us Part 1 and 2; Our Creative World, Map Book, Timeline Book and the Answer Key to end of the lessons questions as well as the activities and tests in the Student Workbook and the questions and tests in the Lesson Review. Although it is possible to share the Map and Timeline books, they are available separately, allowing each child to have their own copy. I suspect that most children will be eager to create their own map and timeline.
If you would like to add more supplemental instruction or review, consider the Student Workbook (5th-6th grade) or the Lesson Review (7th-8th grades). Both include additional assignments that correspond to the daily lesson as well as unit tests and questions related to the literature selections. Most literature based questions are recall based. However, there are a smattering of higher level thinking questions.
Middle school children will be enthralled as they view world history through the lens of a Creator God who is alive and active, from the very foundation of our world through present day. ~ Deanne