As we homeschool our children, we see it as an opportunity to disciple the whole child.  Today’s review is for a documentary released by FishFlix entitled, “Exploring Ephesus: City of Apostles“.  Although we have always taught our children that the Bible is true and is history, being able to journey to modern day Turkey with Dr. Andrew Jackson and Dr. Mark Wilson really help to solidify in their minds that Biblical events really did happen.

What We Received:

Our family received a physical DVD of this documentary which is appropriate for children and adults of all ages.  Because it is a documentary, it may not prove as captivating for the little ones in your life, but there is definitely no offensive content.  Generally, this film would be most appreciated by those in middle school and above.

The DVD has the feature presentation of Exploring Ephesus: City of Apostles as well as some bonus tracks including the book of Ephesians, The Seven Churches, Lessons for Today, a music video, and a trailer.  The feature presentation is 58 minutes in length.

Our Thoughts after Watching:

Exploring Ephesus: City of Apostles was definitely a very informative film.  There were things that each of our family members learned.  The viewing of this film has really highlighted how little our family has done in really mapping out the location of ancient Biblical cities to our modern day map and really studied the area.  We have studied ancient civilizations, but not necessarily the history of Biblical cities from the New Testament.  What a gap we have created in our children’s learning.

The hosts of the film are Dr. Andrew Jackson and Dr. Mark Wilson.  These gentlemen are incredible Bible Scholars and very knowledgeable with regard to the sites that are visited.  We join them as they drive through regions walked by the Apostles and share the significance of these sites.  As they discuss the significance, there is a great blending of Scriptural references, cultural significance, historical significance, and geographical significance.   These connections truly help to bring the city of Ephesus to life in imagining the pathways that Paul and the Apostles walked during the days of the Early Church,

A pivotal truth for our family was in learning that the exact site of the city of Ephesus from the Bible is in modern day Turkey.  As the documentary progressed, our children could see that in many ways the cities that Dr. Jackson and Dr. Wilson traveled to were just like other modern day cities.  Sadly, the region that includes these historical sites are some of those that have very small numbers of people that will profess Christ today.  The hosts mention asking those on the streets if they could share who Paul of Tarsus was and most did not even recognize the name.

Our family sat under the teaching of Dr. Warren Wiersbe for a time.  One of Dr. Wiersbe’s common phrases was that the church is always one generation away from extinction.  Yes, we are living in a time that is more than one generation away from the days of the Apostle Paul.  However, the point hit home.  How could a man that was so highly regarded by some and so passionately hated by others be completely forgotten in his own land?  My children were talking about the significance of our remembering George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.  It led into a discussion of how long would it take for these men to be forgotten if America was no longer a free and democratic nation.  Likewise, as Christ was taken out of Turkey, the significance and remembrance of Paul of Tarsus and the Gospel of Christ that he so passionately preached have been completely forgotten and lost their relevance for those that do have a recollection.  I am hoping that this is a truth that stays with our children their whole lives.  It is only an active, living faith that will pass through to their children and grandchildren.

On a more technical side, the quality of the film and the background music were very well done.  The information contained was relevant to the topic and increased our knowledge of early church history.  This is truly a documentary, so it was not as interesting to our 10 year old as it was to his dad and I, but that would be expected.

In Conclusion:

Exploring Ephesus: City of Apostles is an excellent documentary both in its content and presentation if you are looking to increase your knowledge of early church history and also the physical birth of the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelations.  It would be a wonderful supplemental resource for students studying the early church as part of their Bible curriculum in their schoolwork.

FishFlix has provided several of their other titles to members of the Crew for review during this review period, so you will want to be sure to click through to read about these other DVDs as well: Review

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Over the years, our family has had the pleasure of using a wide variety of unit studies.  There have been studies for literature, science, and social studies or history units.  There are also those that cross over major subject areas in really exploring and experiencing a unit of study.  This is exactly what we have found in using the unit studies from Homeschool Legacy.  Our 15 year old has been studying early American History this year.  He started his year using the Native America study from Homeschool Legacy and will be finishing up his year with the Westward Ho units.  We will use examples from our most recent experience with Westward Ho I in this review to give you a feeling of what one product has to offer.  The other units from Homeschool Legacy are all very similar in their format.

Homeschool Legacy Unit Studies

The unit studies from Homeschool Legacy are also referred to as the once-a-week studies.  When I first heard this, I questioned the meatiness of the units and were they really appropriate for grades 2-12.  As we got knee deep into the study itself and really using it, I discovered that my fears were just that.  The units from Homeschool Legacy vary in length and can be as indepth as you wish.  The Westward Ho I study we used is meant to be completed in 5 weeks and can easily be done in that timeframe.  It is tempting to exceed this as you see your child’s enthusiasm into the material being covered and the great literature they are enjoying.  There are some weeks that the variety of activities leaves you wanting to do all of them rather than picking and choosing a couple.

The units from Homeschool Legacy are affordable and can be purchased in both physical or download versions.  Unlike unit studies that have lapbook features, these units do not have an abundance of pages that require a lot of printing.  There are some maps, recipes, and other student work pages, but these are just a fraction of the total unit.  It is comprised greatly of creative ideas across all subject areas that spur your student to do work outside of traditional worksheets or even notebooking pages.  Generally, I like to have a hard copy of the study we are working on.  The Westward Ho I unit had lots of links built into the text that led us on new learning adventures that we may have overlooked in just using a printed copy.

Let me give you some more specifics of what we learned, did, and encountered in completing the Westward Ho I unit.

How We Used the Study

When our downloadable copy of Westward Ho I arrived, I skimmed through the unit and we jumped right in.  I try to review these units at least a couple of days before we are actually supposed to begin our learning.  This is not because there is a ton of parent prep ~ there is actually very little.  However, the very first pages of each week contain wonderful suggested reading lists of books that can be checked out of your public library.  These books are used to research and learn more about the topics highlighted in the weekly study.  The wonderful part is that there are not specific reading comprehension questions on particular reads, so no sweating if your library does not have the exact titles.  We just selected books on the same topic or theme for the week.

For example, the first week of our study focused on Frontiersmen as well as the literary form of tall tales as they were very much a part of the Westward Movement.  Homeschool LegacySome of the books shown here were directly off of Sharon Gibson’s reading list in the study and others were ones we happened upon when exploring at the library.  Did I mention the great library skills your children can gain from finding these great resources?

We then used these books as the backbone of our study.  The week focused on both Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett as examples of well-known Frontiersmen.  Being from Kentucky and having visited Boonesboro, our son decided to do his reading and research on Davy Crockett.  We had some wonderful discussion after on which of these men would make a better role model or hero for young men of today.  It also led us into really considering what they each contributed to both our local as well as national history.

Our library selections also included examples of well known Tall Tales.  We studied these examples as we learned more about our this genre of writing and then we wrote.  Writing is normally a grit your teeth and bare it experience for our son, but he really enjoyed this assignment after being inspired by the examples and having it feel like more than just an exercise.

So, let me backtrack for a moment.  After obtaining our library resources, which at times include family friendly movies to bring the study even more to life, we would then do the family devotion on day one and then I would provide a map from the assortment of activities for my son to do each week.  Some weeks we did all of the activities and projects and on other weeks we selected some.  The wonderful part of these units is that there is such variety.  Within the five weeks we spent using Westward Ho I, we had learning experiences in Science, History, Geography and Mapping, Writing, Literature, Cooking, Art, Music, Life Skills, and Bible.  This variety insured that boredom was not a word in our home associated with this study or others we have used from Homeschool Legacy.

As an example of being able to select activities, Week 2 offered two suggestions for life skill applications – making a tin can lantern and churning butter.  Churning butter is something that our family routinely does in having a dairy farm.  Our son is responsible for rounding up the cows each morning and evening.  He was able to make the tin can lantern instead and used this one evening after dark to see just how challenging it would be to use this source of light rather than a flashlight.

There are also great read-aloud suggestions that can be built into your school day or used at night before everyone heads to bed.  Again, these are suggested titles, but could easily be substituted with other book selections.  At no time during our study did I feel that the suggested books where inappropriate for any of my children, but comprised of quality, living literature.

Our son did build a timeline during this study of significant developments.  Partnered with this were great studies on key individuals and what they contributed.  It was wonderful as a mom to once again see that twinkle in my son’s eyes as he considers what he might contribute to history someday as he explores where God will take him.

Special Feature

A special feature of many of the unit studies from Homeschool Legacy is their alignment with merit badges from both Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girls.  It is a great way to be working on merit badges while simultaneously continuing the work you would normally do in school.  There are special notations throughout the study which identify exactly which activities must be done to fulfill the requirements of these badges.

Our Final Thoughts

Our family has come to love the units from Homeschool Legacy.  They offer a literature rich approach to study across subjects meeting your child wherever his or her reading ability is.  Because the ability to pick your own reading lists as well as choose from a breadth of activities, the study takes on a life of its own.  Some of the other things we really appreciated about the Westward Ho I and other units from Sharon Gibson are:

  • I learned that my son loves to cook.  I had no idea since many times he is out working on our farm when I am preparing meals.
  • These units can really stand on there own with only the need to add in additional math and grammar instruction.
  • The flexibility in projects really does allow for a meaningful learning experience whether your children are in the early elementary grades or high school.  There are also great opportunities for the whole family to learn together.
  • We loved learning about the people behind the history.  There is just something about learning about the lives of those that shaped our history and what their daily lives were like.
  • I was able to squeeze in some additional study on art and music that sometimes neglected due to our busy days.
  • There truly is little to no additional parent preparation needed.

We used the Westward Ho I study as part of a full year of focusing on Early American History.  The full year can be built by linking the studies offered from Homeschool Legacy together in chronological order.

The only piece we found to be missing was the Civil War.  In contacting the company, I was told that it is one of the next studies to be released.

There are also a wide variety of more science themed units that our family has yet to explore.

As always, this is just our experience.  I encourage you to check out the other reviews being posted by our Crewmates by clicking on the graphic below.

Homeschool Legacy Review

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A Great Resource for the Homeschool Mom in Your Life

May 6, 2015

It seems only fitting that our latest product review is something specifically for the homeschool mom in your life and just in time for Mother’s Day.  I recently had a chance to read a copy of The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight written by Heidi St. John and published by Real Life Press. The […]

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A Spring Day on the Farm

May 4, 2015

When you live on a farm, the things before you each day are just part of your normal.  I was reminded today by a friend that others really have no idea what it may be like to live on a farm.  So here is a glimpse into our day, at least what today had in […]

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Spelling You See – Product Review

April 27, 2015

Spelling You See is a relatively new spelling curriculum published by Demme Learning who produces the Math U See curriculum.  We have never used their math curriculum, but were really interested to see how their “visual” approach to spelling would be received by our son.  Our review is focusing on their Level F book entitled Ancient Achievements. The […]

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Marriage is a Choice, Not a Feeling

April 24, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me that when you talk to many young people about marriage, their first response is about the wedding.  There is always so much excited and anticipation of an approaching wedding day.  Handsome men in tuxedos, the bride in her flowing white gown, beautiful flowers adorning the surroundings, and melodious music […]

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Orphs of the Woodlands ~ Product Review

April 17, 2015

A new on-line tool that our family recently had the opportunity to try out and now review is Orphs of the Woodlands created and sold through Star Toaster. I am looking forward to sharing more with you about this resource that is part reading adventure and part fun game that will enthrall your child that likes to […]

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Real Life Homeschooling – They aren’t all Brainiacs

April 10, 2015

Another myth of homeschooling is that all homeschool children are in the top 3% on the bell curve for intelligence. In actuality, there are students who receive a home education that are extremely bright, but these do not make up the whole population of homeschooled students. As the resources available to those that home educate […]

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Touching the Heart with Real Life Homeschooling

April 10, 2015

There are lots of myths and misconceptions about what homeschooling is all about.  Yes, our children must take all the same coursework to fulfill high school graduation requirements and take college board exams to further their education.  There are tests, projects, and papers.  There are even opportunities to play competitive sports through athletic leagues.  However, […]

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It’s Not Greek To Me!

April 2, 2015

After several years of homeschooling, I feel like our family has really settled into expanding our vocabulary and even spelling to a large degree through the learning of Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes.  So many of our words find their heritage in these languages.  Because of the power we have seen in this approach […]

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