Knowledge Quest Sacagawea E-book: Review

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 photo SacagaweaBook_zps004a015c.jpgRose loves history.  I love providing her with resources which capture her interest and cause her to want to know even more, I”m sold! We studied Sacagawea about 2 months ago through our core history curriculum. She couldn’t wait to delve into the biography, Sacagawea: Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know, from Knowledge Quest. Knowledge Quest was founded by a veteran homeschooling family dedicated to providing solid resources for history and geography for home education. Click here to read more about their story!

The e-book was originally published in four installments which can each be purchased separately for $1.49. It is also available in its entirety for $3.99. I feel it is an excellent value for a uniquely written and produced piece of accurate biographical literature. It is intended for ages 8-14, but younger students can certainly enjoy this as a read aloud. My daughter is 7 (5th grade reading level) and read this independently.

We study literature by genre once we move past the emerging reader stage. Rose is reading several grades above her grade-level, so I felt this would be perfect for our biography unit…I was right! The Sacagawea e-book is an interactive biography told in the first-person narrative. The two aspects I liked most about this book was that it had links to a variety of topic right in the text for further study and it was written from Sacagawea’s perspective telling the story to her son, nicknamed Pompy. Our core curriculum advocates living books and this fits that description beautifully.

To go along with our literature study Rose completed several activities. She kept a log of words she wasn’t familiar with so we could look them up together, a char which indicated how she was the same and different from Sacagawea, a timeline, and two post-reading projects I’ll talk about later. While we added these items in for our literature study I feel this book stands alone nicely. The integrated links to websites which give further information about the topics adds a unique dimension to reading. This would also be excellent for read-loud as a family and then exploring the links together.

Rose usually does her literature studies during the girls’ quiet time and would typically curl up on the couch or in her bedroom. Every once in a while she would choose the school room, but not usually. It took her about two weeks to finish the book reading 1-2 chapters a day (or three if she missed a day!)

At the end of the book she filled out a literature page which helps her identify aspects of literature such as main characters, genre, setting, conflict, etc. She did this completely on her own for this unit and I was pleased with her retention from the story and attention to detail. This shows me how captivating the story was to her.

 I asked her what her favorite part of the book was and she told me it was being able to click on the links. She particularly enjoyed learning more about Native American culture as well as the variety of animals mentioned in the story. Once again I was shown how nice modern technology is for research. Kids love using the computer to study. The vibrant illustrations and valuable information at a moments notice provides extended learning far beyond what many ever imagined would happen. I also know I can trust Knowledge Quest to include links I don’t have to worry about. I learned alongside her as she navigated the various links, but I was never once concerned about the content she would be accessing.

One of the post-reading projects Rose completed was an acrostic of Sacagawea’s name. I was pleased with how many facts she retained! She wrote the poem with me and I copied her ideas on the whiteboard to make the writing process a little bit more fluid. I also helped her figure out how to turn some of her sentences around and assured her that because it was poetry it was okay to be creative!

She was kidnapped
A new medicine she made
Charbonneau was her husband
A member of the Shoshone tribe
Guided Lewis and Clark
Able to speak Shoshone
Went to get horses for the journey
Even ate roots and berries
A son she had named Pompy

Another activity we did was make trading cards of some of the historical figures Rose learned about. She really liked learning more about Sacagawea’s family so that is what her trading cards focused on. We found the pictures for her trading cards through some of the links which were found within the pages of the pdf file. This is another fun way for her to remember who she read about. Also included within the story were a handful of illustrations including portraits and maps. While Rose is well beyond the picture-book stage, she always enjoys seeing illustrations.

I highly recommend this living history book be added to your library. Sacagawea is a fascinating character from American history who is often only taught about in the context of her help to Lewis and Clark. While this was a very important event in her life, there was much more to her as a person and this e-book portrays the many other events of her life beautifully.

Don’t forget to read other reviews from my Crewmates about this e-book and another product from Knowledge Quest, the Timeline Builder App for the iPad! This app really makes me wish I had an iPad!


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Abraham’s Journey: Review


My Kindle Fire has become one of my favorite tools for homeschooling! I love finding books, unit studies, and pdf documents. The girls enjoy it as well because of the apps, but I limit their playtime. While I’m happy to have learning apps, I have hoped they would enjoy reading. I was very excited for my daughter to read Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream, by Kathleen and Robert K. Basmadjian, written for students ages 7-12.

PhotobucketThis unique children’s book combines beautiful illustrations reminiscent of traditional comic books and an engaging story. You can purchase either the book version ($14.95) or the Kindle or i-Pad version ($9.99). While the story takes place during present day, historical figures provide an unexpected twist. The story revolves around a young boy, Abraham, trying to help his parents who have both lost their jobs. With the help of historical figures Abraham discovers what the American Dream means and is inspired to find a way to help his family.

Rose and Zoe, our kitty cat, snugged in for some reading one afternoon with this book. She eagerly jumped at the chance to read on Mommy’s Kindle and settled into her beanbag chair. She enjoyed the story. When I asked her what her favorite part was she said she really liked the illustrations and that Abraham Lincoln was in it as well.

The idea behind this book is so many in America have lost their hope in what is possible. We used to call it, “Living the American Dream.” The dream used to be taught and encouraged in schools. Now children are often taught America isn’t as great as we were once told. The evils of our history are emphasized while the triumphs and events we can be proud of are diminished. The authors of this books are hoping to instill once more the ideals of what “The American Dream” is stood for.

The American Dream includes aspects of faith, courage, imagination, innovation, compassion, self-sacrifice, and so much more. In spite of those commonalities, it always looks different for each individual…

…My great grandparents surviving through the Great-Depression by running a bakery from their home in Illinois when my great-grand father lost his job at an oil refinery. 
…My grandfather working long, hard hours at a coal mine in Kentucky until he had saved enough money to buy his farm. 
…My parents moving from New York to North Carolina when I was six and leaving full-time ministry as a pastor so my dad could earn his doctorate and become a seminary professor. 
…My husband and I both graduating from college debt-free. 

We want our girls to see they can do more than expected too. I appreciate the author’s desire to reteach this to our youth and inspire them to reach higher.

At the end of the book is a list of definitions and mini biographies of each historical figure in case students haven’t studied them yet. I really like this feature because my daughter, for instance, had only studied about Abraham Lincoln. She had heard the other’s names, but didn’t really know much about them yet.

I asked Rose if she’d like to read another story like this one and she enthusiastically said, “Yes!” That is enough of an endorsement for me!

Don’t forget to check out other reviews from my crewmates!
I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received.