YWAM (Youth With A Mission) is a company that puts out material that seeks to encourage Christians to make a difference in the world. They focus on evangelism, educational training, prayer, discipleship and mercy ministry.
One of their series is all about learning about some of the great heroes, their life and ministries and how they impacted our world.
I have not done much biography studies with the boys so I was quite happy to get the book about the life of Jim Elliot - a missionary in Ecuador who lost his life serving God and seeking to reach tribes in the Jungle there - to read with them.
These series come with a book (telling the story), and a Curriculum Study Guide sold separately.
The book is wonderfully written. It was very descriptive, and engaging. The authors took care and time to describe sceneries and feelings in such a way so as to give you an impression of being there. The way the story was told was with flashbacks into Jim Elliot's journey to Ecuador and through his ministry there. My son and I found this approach of telling the story quite enjoyable. It starts towards the end of his life and flashes back in each consecutive chapters to tell a piece of the story leading to the end. Each chapter's ending kept you anticipating the next step in the journey. You are taken through Jim Elliot's life story from his upbringing, college years, struggles, anticipations, and service on the mission field of Ecuador, relationship with Elizabeth Elliot (referred to as Betty in the book), to his tragic death and its aftermath.
These books are aimed at an audience of 10 year old and up, and I think that it is about right. A younger child con follow but kids that age will really enjoy them.
I received the book as a e-book in PDF and the chapters were about 10 to 12 pages long. My only complaint is the lack of illustrations within the book.
The study guide is really a unit study on the themes developed in the book. This study guide is quite lengthy with lots of activities to chose from. At first it can be overwhelming, but like any unit study, it is about picking and choosing what fits your style and that of your child, and what would be more appropriate, enjoyable, and doable for your students.
The unit study curriculum guide, is about 60 pages long, and has different categories or classes of activities:
- Key Bible verses to learn
- Ideas for a display corner such as large map of Ecuador, foods from Ecuador, Spanish writing examples etc...
- Chapter questions that check on the student's understanding of the story and vocabulary, as well as encourage engagement with the story.
- Children's explorations, which are more like essay topics to delve into, and ideas for hand-on projects such as timelines, making models of objects that represent various significant events in Jim Elliot's life, topics like the ways in which the modern technologies have changed the role and lifestyle of modern missionaries.
- Creative writing on topics such as imagining you are a Quichua Indian child going to school in Puyupungu and writing a song about Jim and Betty
- Community links: field trip ideas or ideas to connect with our own world.
- Social studies connections, more focused on the geography with map work and such and research on South American countries.
- Related themes to explore like Life skills, Mission, Math
The study guide also come with 4 pages of worksheets which include a fact sheet on Ecuador and a map to fill in.
The activities are not according to grade levels but there plethora of activities offered and suggested allows for a wide range of grades. You will find something for the youngest to the oldest in your crew to do.
I think this was a great way to introduce the boys to the story of Jim Elliot. It was done in a very tactful way and the emphasis was put on the right themes. It rose the awareness of the boys to mission and the need of these South American countries and tribes.
I only wish that there were more detailed maps included in the second part of the study guide as well as within the book itself. We had to go look at other resources to find the places and follow the journey.
Overall, I would say that if the other books in the series are like this one,(which I am pretty confident are) this is a great series to use to introduce and study these men and women that have impacted our world.
YWAM carries a series for Christian Heroes and Heroes of History.
Study Guide (book or CD): $7.49