Monday, September 21, 2015

C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing ~ A Crew Review

Do you like to read biographies? We do! Our girls have always had a special interest in reading biographies about their favorite writers. Sometimes it can be difficult to find biographies that are age appropriate to share with the whole family. Enter YWAM Publishing. Arlene and I have been reviewing C.S.Lewis: Master Storyteller from YWAM’s Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series, along with using the available Unit Study Curriculum Guide. Arlene and I have read many of Lewis’ books, so we were ready to see how his life was portrayed.

Christian Heroes, biographies
Many people are familiar with YWAM Publishing and their biographies, although they may not know about the Unit Studies that can accompany most of their titles. We received the Unit Study Curriculum Guide on a CD. This allows you to print as many copies of the pages (maps, questions, etc.) as you’ll need for every child in your family that is participating. The helpful folks at YWAM told me they are working to convert all of the Unit Studies over to downloadable PDF’s. So if you’re international, take a peek at their page because the one you want may already be available as a download!

The Unit Study for the C.S. Lewis biography has several parts and includes ideas to adapt it for either classroom or home use. This gives you the flexibility to use it in a school, a co-op, or at home with your own family. There are a couple reminders in the beginning that you shouldn’t expect any student to do all the activities, but to choose the ones that best fit their learning styles and your available resources. In the guide you will find six questions for each chapter of the book, plus oodles of activity suggestions. The book and unit study are geared for ages 10 and up, but could be adapted for use with younger members of your family.

I had Arlene pick out several activities to complete. The first one she did was to read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, then watch the movie version and compare how closely the movie stayed to the original book. Your students will find something for every style in the essay questions, creative writing exercises, hands-on projects, audio-visual projects, or arts and crafts suggestions.

You as the teacher/ parent may find inspiration in the Community Links, Social Studies, or Related Themes to Explore sections. I found it fun that the last section of the study guide encourages you to work with your students to plan a culminating event to end the Unit Study. How fun to brainstorm with your kids and plan together, instead of doing all the planning yourself!

C S Lewis Unit Study

Arlene, being 15, read through the C.S. Lewis book the first time in just a couple days. If you have independent readers, they may enjoy reading the book by themselves before you begin the Unit Study. I appreciated that the book is all-age appropriate. If you are using it with mixed ages it can be a read-aloud where you simply start and read through, no editing for content required. Why is this so important? Because most people do not live saintly lives before coming to know Christ. YWAM has worked to keep their biographies informative, yet still family-friendly.

Lewis’s life is covered thoroughly in the book, including not just what he did, but the thoughts and feelings that accompanied his actions. That’s a great thing about authors, they tend to write everything down… no guessing required!

From Arlene: 
After having recently read a college level book that dives deep into the lives of four specific Inklings (including J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis,) I want to say that I think this book from YWAM does a good job at telling Lewis’ life in a way a First grader up to a Sixth or Seventh grader should understand. Let me put it this way: this is an all around good, family-friendly, G-rated book. It starts when Lewis is a boy and ends with his death. It covers his childhood, early school years, later school years, WW1 experience, and College life both as a student and as a teacher. Also his personal life including the death of his mother, his relationships with his Father and Brother, his Wife and stepsons, and others including J. R. R. Tolkien and other Inklings. It also covers the many books that he wrote over his life from ones everyone knows like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (and the Six following books)to the Space Trilogy, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, and Surprised by Joy. 

Find out about more of the wonderful biographies from YWAM Publishing by clicking on the Crew banner below!

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