Wednesday, March 28, 2018

An Introduction to Civilizations and Cultures

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If you know our family at all, you know that we love reviewing books, and the Carole P. Roman books and collections are no exception. In only 6 years, Carole P. Roman has written over 50 books for children and received countless awards for her works. Not only is she an accomplished author, she's a generous one, as well. We were able to choose any 3 of her titles. She has various series in her collection from books teaching about cultures and civilizations to bedtime stories to early reader chapter books to books about pirates teaching morals and more. Though they are all charming, we are partial to her If You Were Me series and were excited to read more. We received the following books:

If You Were Me and Lived in...Israel is the 19th book in the Cultures Around the World series. This series follows a distinct pattern. The book begins with a picture of the country along with its capital and then shows where it is on the globe. Next is a brief description of the capital city. The book also gives examples of what you may have been named if you were born there, what you'd call your parents, and what type of currency you'd use (and why its ancient roots). It talks about popular places to visit (why the Dead Sea got its name), some of the common foods (mmm, glida), types of recreation (Krav Maga, for example), and a special holiday.

There are other facts, too, like the word for school, why they read and write from the right side of the page to the left, and more. The last few pages of the book are filled with the pronunciations of the foreign words used along with brief definitions. The pronunciations are also found written throughout the story, but it's nice to have a list of these words in one place. 

If You Were Me and Lived in...Australia is volume 8 of the same series and is also told in the  second-person style and follows a matching format. This book talks about the Old Parliament House and why its location was chosen as the capital city, what animals you'd find in the Great Barrier Reef, and when you might eat Vegemite (my kids are leery to try this). We learned when you'd use wickets, about Australia Day and why it is celebrated in January, and about a bareboat.

Like the other, this one  also concludes with a pronunciation guide with descriptions. This one is a tad shorter than the other at just shy of 25 pages.

If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West is the 10th book of the Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series. The books in this series are so much more in depth and contains much more information than the Culture series books.  Each one places you, the reader, in that location during that time period. This 50+ page paperback gives a fantastic description of what it could have been like to live in the American West in the 19th century. It explains why you may have left your homestead in the "Great Migration of 1843." It describes the hardships you would have experienced during travel in your conestoga, like the thick mud, clouds of dust, illnesses, and accidents. You learn about the simple clothing, the daily chores (like collecting buffalo chips to build a fire to cook dinner), why you would hang a pail of milk on the side of the wagon, and what you'd eat. You'll read about how you'd have to build a home in the new land, how you'd spend your days, when you'd be fortunate enough to attend school, and why you might long to be a cowboy. 

The back of the book contains a glossary of people, places, and things that are pertinent to that time and place. It also has a section about important or famous people and a description for each. These resources can be used as a spring board for further study.

My kids and I enjoyed these books greatly. With literature being the foundation of our schooling, I depend on living books for the majority of our learning. A book that puts you in the story and teaches without feeling like work is the preferred way to learn history in our home. These books are not full curricula on the topics, by any means, but they are a wonderful introduction. We had many "rabbit trail" discussions that were encouraged by the stories and took the time to look up pictures and more information along the way. The boys and I have been calling their sister Minerva for days, laughing about the buffalo "chips," making a grocery list for homemade humus and falafel, and dreaming about visiting the beautiful sights of Australia and swimming in the Great Barrier Reef. 

If you'd like to learn more about cultures of our world or civilizations of the past, Carole P. Roman has many award-winning options to choose.

You can connect with Carole P. Roman on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of the Carole P. Roman books and collections on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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* Some of the links in the content above are affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225.
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