Pennsylvania Here We Come
Naturally, when I was selected to participate in this review, I had a strong desire for us to learn about Colorado, where we live. My second choice was Pennsylvania, an area that I have never visited and one of the focal points of our homeschool this year as we continue our early American History studies. I got my second choice and have not been let down in the least. I fully expected that this book would be a typical fact-based book, filled with random facts throughout, but where it is hard to actually learn anything substantial because of the lack of framework tying anything together. However, this book proved to be anything of the sort and was unlike any other fact-based books that we have perused over the years. I was delighted to see the story line of two young children that shared their journey throughout the state.
The book itself is a nice sized hardback children’s book that is small enough to tote around and fit on most bookshelves, yet large enough to enjoy the many colorful photos. We decided to read this 49 page book during our history studies as a supplement. We ended up spending the better part of a whole afternoon as the kids were engaged in the story and wanted to find out what was happening next! The next few days was spent recovering from an illness, which prevented me from reading the book to them. I guess they were not happy with that thought because one afternoon I found them snuggled together under The Boy’s loft bed with Bookworm Beauty reading the story aloud. This was a melt-my-heart-homeschool-moment. They even brought it in the truck with us that same afternoon when I had an errand to run, but did not start reading it aloud until after they filled me in on the details and Pennsylvania facts that I had missed out on.
The facts shared are stated in a memorable fashion, so much so that my children (ages 8, 6 and 11) are recalling them and discussing them at different times. We have learned about many standard state facts such as the state bird, but also about the Appalachian Trail, the Gettysburg battle, Punxsutawney’s big day (Groundhog Day) and many historical facts. There is also information about waterways (including the Lake Effect snow formation), agriculture and native species. The kids’ favorite facts are about the 50 ton, 12 foot wide concrete cross erected in Jumonville and the introduction to geocaching, which has sparked a new interest in this household. The kids are wanting to learn more about geocaching, create their own and search for other local ones.
The real treasure in this book is not the local and historical facts of Pennsylvania but rather the way that God and His plan for mankind is woven throughout the story. Our household is the 1 out of 20 in the opening statistic of this post. We speak of God and include Him in our daily conversations. We found this book full of scripture, mixed with state facts, weaving together a beautiful tapestry of Pennsylvania. For those that may be struggling with finding ways to include God in their daily conversations, this book may be a great introduction of how to do so.
We hope to read all of the books in the By the Way Book Series as part of our homeschool studies in the years to come. In the meantime, we will enjoy returning to the Pennsylvania ~ Here we Come book as a resource and are anxiously waiting for our Colorado State book to arrive so that we can learn more about our beautiful state!