Thursday, March 2, 2017

By the Way Book Series, Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come! (Review)

My Youngest is an avid reader, history buff, and nature lover, so our latest review was right up his alley! Introducing the By the Way Book Series. Currently there are 6 titles available, with more on the way. We chose to review Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come! because we wanted to learn more about Pennsylvania for a few reasons. One reason is because Pennsylvania is where my oldest will be attending college next fall. The other is because my youngest has already formed an attachment for Pennsylvania, as one of the few states that allows capybaras to be kept as pets, so learning more about the state was high on his priority list. ;)

The By the Way Book Series is intended to offer parents and other caregivers the opportunity to incorporate the directive from Deuteronomy 6:7 to diligently teach our children to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" while we "walk by the way" with them. The authors have determined that one way to do this is to point out the goodness, beauty, and diversity shown by our Creator in a variety of locales.

Each story follows two siblings (Alex and Lexi) as they discover items of geographic historical, natural, and scientific interest in a specific location. In Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come! the children are chosen as ambassadors for a special July 4th "Celebrate Pennsylvania" trip around the state, where they visit a variety of locations. They learn about some of the special things that can be seen and experienced, all with a Biblical Worldview.

Because my youngest is an avid reader, I set him loose with the book to start with. He was delighted to have something new and interesting to read. A week or two later, I sat down to read it aloud with him. He kept skipping ahead, telling me bits of information he found interesting from the times he read through on his own, before I would get to those specific pages or parts of the story.

I will note that for a book with quite of lot of photos there is also a remarkable amount of text, so it is not a "quick read" for children at the younger end of the age-range. It would be very easy to use it as part of your daily read-aloud time, reading about one or two of the places they visit each day (2-5/6 pages a day). There are 48 pages in the book, so you could take 1-2 weeks to read this book, and even use it as a unit study spine, looking up more information on each topic/location/event discussed.

Topics included:

  • Things and places specific to Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania's State Dog (the Great Dane), the State Capitol (Harrisburg), the Jumonville Memorial Cross, Toll Roads, Brownsville Castle, The Bethlehem Star, Groundhog Day, Hershey
  • Historic locations and events: Gettysburg, the historic "National Road," Fort Necessity, 1813 Battle of Lake Erie, Valley Forge, Philadelphia and Independence Hall, Missionary David Brainard
  • Geographic Features: Pennsylvania Rivers and River Ferries, Lake Effect, Appalachian Trail, Mason-Dixon Line, Geocaching, Fishing
  • People of Pennsylvania: Immigrants, Amish, American Indians
  • Natural Resources: Coal, Oil Wells, Concord Grapes, Mushrooms, Farmer's Markets, and wildlife, including Chipmunks, Raccoons, Crickets, Caterpillars, Birds (including the Bald Eagle), Deer, Bears, Salamanders, and Elk (! this was of particular interest to me, as I grew up not far from Yellowstone National Park, and while Elk are fairly common out west, I didn't realize that there were herds as far east as Pennsylvania)

While most topics are lightly introduced, they really could become a springboard for mor in depth discussion are research.

My son definitely enjoyed this book, and I enjoyed learning a bit more about the state than I knew. Over the next four years I expect we will be able to combine visiting his sister at college and exploring a bit of the great state of Pennsylvania.

Other By the Way Book Series titles reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew : 

You can also find optional items for purchase on the website which coordinate with each title: Posters, Trading Cards, Activity Books, and Stuffed Animals, so be sure to take a look at those if you like. ;)

Keep your eyes open in 2017 for new titles:  Ireland, New York City, Idaho, and Indiana.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
You can visit By the Way Book Series on Facebook.

Please click the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say about this one one of the other five titles that are currently available. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
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