education pathways

Home » 2016 » April

Monthly Archives: April 2016

Cliff Notes for American History???



Amer_HistoryEverything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook is geared to Middle School Students, but makes an excellent reference for adults as well.  The text is marked up with various colors of highlighter to emphasize the most important points.  Periods are outlined so students can visualize a timeline of events, but are fleshed out enough that cause and effect are included making history more understandable and thus more memorable.  Out of approximately 500 pages, I chose to read about the Civil War and Reconstruction periods because of a discussion with a colleague. I was not disappointed: I came away with answers to some questions and a better overall understanding of the events in a fairly brief amount of time.  Obviously, since it was written for middle school students, it was not an exhaustive treatise on the Civil War, but it was a great summary and beginning place for more in-depth research.  One of the difficulties of studying American History at any grade level is that is nearly impossible to cover the full history of America in one school year.  With this supporting text, one could independently study periods that are not studied in class.

As an independent reviewer, I usually read a book one time and then move on to the next book.  In this case I was looking forward to having Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook on my iPad as a reference and work through the various periods as a side hobby. As a tribute to the book’s usefulness, I must say I was disappointed to discover that this book has an expiration date and is no longer available to open. Who knew a book could be like a carton of milk?  I guess I will purchase a copy!

Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook has a proposed publication date of August 9, 2016. I would like to extend my thanks to and to Workman Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Riveting Memoir of a Romanian Lawyer– Could be Used in Christian High School?

Saving My AssassinSaving My Assassin
by Virginia Prodan

Virginia Prodan has written a riveting memoir Saving My Assassin. It was difficult to read many parts of this book because of its troubling, torturous content, but the triumphant spirit of this tiny powerhouse of a woman kept me returning to discover how God could possibly use the evil that surrounded her for His greater purpose.

Virginia Prodan was formerly a lawyer during the cruel Communist dictatorship of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu. Currently she is an international lawyer residing in the U.S. where she continues her work representing Christians who find themselves in legal difficulties because of their stand for Christ.

Saving My Assassin begins with a brief glimpse at a pivotal moment in Prodan’s life. That part of the story ends abruptly, but is repeated and continued later in the appropriate time sequence. This is a technique which could be annoying, but is used here to skillfully draw the reader into the critical nature of the happenings in Prodan’s life. Next we learn of mysteries and events in her younger years which help us understand how she became such a determined adult. She endured a cruel childhood which left her determined to discover the truth on all levels. Why was she so mistreated by her own family? Why did she look so different from them? Why were people in Romania not allowed to worship God when their laws said they could? What motivated the cold violence of the Securitate, the Communist government agents who stalked her, interrogated her, and threatened the lives of her and her children? Why were they so willing to torture and kill their own citizens, innocent of crimes, many of whom apparently disappeared into the night?

Although this book is written for adults, I think mature high school students would appreciate it as well. I taught high school English in a Christian school before I became an elementary public school teacher. This is the kind of book I would have used with my seniors. It would be particularly appropriate for reading in conjunction with a history or civics class as it deals with a Communist dictatorship during the Reagan era and shows the power and influence the U.S. can choose to wield in supporting Christians around the world. Because Saving My Assassin has a strong Biblical message, I assume it could not be assigned for reading in a public school setting, but I would be interested in feedback from teachers with more recent public high school experience than I have.

Saving My Assassin has a proposed publication date of June 7, 2016. I would like to extend my thanks to and to the publisher Tyndale House for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

%d bloggers like this: