Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Digging into Britfield & the Lost Crown with a Study Guide {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

Reading. . . yes, reading is important in our home. I have mentioned that many, many times in the past. So, when we are given the opportunity to review a new book, of course we jump at the chance. This time around, thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew, we received a copy of the first book in what is expected to be a series of five books for middle-school age children. The title of the first book is Britfield & the Lost Crown and it is written by C.R. Stewart. 

Not only did we receive the 386-page paperback book, but we were given a digital download of the 83-page Study Guide.

This award-winning book is full of fast-paced adventure as the reader follows the journey of two escaped orphans, named Tom and Sarah, who are attempting discover the truth of Tom's past, while staying ahead of the police and the cruel caretaker from Weatherly, the horrific orphanage they have lived in for the past several years. Thankfully they were able to escape with the help of their fellow orphans, and end up being chased all over England as they make their way first, to London, and then to the shores of Dover.

Something that some Christian parents may appreciate, is that there is no magic in this adventure. You will find lots of peril, betrayal, and suspense, but you don't have to worry about magic or any inappropriate language or homosexual mentions (which sadly are becoming more common in even juvenile books). Though not technically a Christian book, a Christian parent can rest assured that their child is reading a wonderful adventure, while also learning about English history, culture and geography. 

I will mention that there is a scene where a gun is shot at a person. Additionally, the way the orphans are treated is quite horrid, for instance as punishment children may be locked in an attic in solitary confinement for long periods of time, or left out in the rain. And there is a suspenseful scene of a dog trying to attack the escaping orphans. So, if you have concern about those scenes, you may want to keep it from younger readers.

Now, if you don't want a huge spoiler, you will want to skip this next paragraph. 

Something Tabitha and I were a bit hesitant about after reading the book in full originally, was the revelation that Speckle, the caretaker who treats them so miserably and then chases after them in an attempt to capture them, is actually a good guy undercover. When we were rereading the book, we both agreed that we couldn't see how he could have done some of the horrid things he had done to the orphans if he was supposed to be a good guy, even if he was supposed to be undercover. Though it did explain why sometimes the orphans had not gotten caught at the beginning of the book, when it originally made me feel like they had gotten away with something way too easily. Such as a time when Mr. Speckle hadn't heard that there were two children on the roof when he had to have been close enough to hear them screaming. Or that it seemed to take him way too long to catch up to them, giving them time to have a conversation. Even though we aren't sure if we quite buy the fact that Mr. Speckle turned out to be on Tom and Sarah's side, we still love the book.

If you would like to read more of my original thoughts, I would invite you to read the review I wrote about a month ago. Now, I would like to focus on the Study Guide.

I am so glad we were given this opportunity to read the book again while utilizing the Study Guide. As I mentioned earlier, the Study Guide is 83 pages long. It is meant to take eight weeks to complete. As I am reading it aloud to three of the children, we are working at a bit slower pace. Tabitha is reading it independently, but is sticking to the pace we are reading at. 

The guide begins with a synopsis and an "About the Author" section before moving into the lesson pages.

Tabitha takes the book and her study guide pages up to her room to read and work undisturbed. 

On the other hand, I read to the younger three in the evening or before bed. We may read up in my bedroom, on the couch or the loveseat.

Once I am finished with the chapter(s), I give Amelia the corresponding Study Guide pages. 

The first six chapters are paired up in the study guide, with chapters 1&2, 3&4, and 5&6 being combined. Then, for the remainder of the guide, each chapter is by itself. 

Each section follows the same format. It always begins with Vocabulary, then moves on to Comprehension, and Going Deeper. Some of the chapters even have Learn More with Technology activities.

One thing I thought was really neat is that the vocabulary activities vary for each chapter. A student may need to:
  • match them with the definition
  • select a word from the word bank to fill complete a sentence
  • take an educated guess on the definition and then look up the actual definition
  • choose a synonym from a multiple choice list
  • complete a crossword puzzle
  • complete a word find
  • look up the definitions and draw pictures to represent each word

Here are a couple of examples:

The Comprehension questions are straight forward and require no more than knowledge of what was read in the chapter. I do allow the girls to use the books to find the answers if needed. 

The Going Deeper questions require the student to think through their answers more. The are asked to imagine or think things through and personalize it, explaining what they might do, or how they feel about it. They may be asked to role play or write a short letter or paragraph. They may even be asked to draw a picture.

And the Learn More with Technology section requires the student to use the internet to research details about different things they learned about in the chapter. They are asked to choose an author mentioned in the chapter or a location in another chapter. They are asked to research orphanages, why aircraft speed is measured in knots, Oxford University, Winston Churchill, and more. The are even asked to do some map work on occasion.

As you can see, the Study Guide is a great way to make sure your child is getting the most out of the book as they can. If you thoroughly work through it, you will learn an awful lot about England, its culture and history. There is ample opportunity to work on creative writing and drawing skills, along with improving vocabulary in fun ways. As much as I am one who just loves to read through a book and not be bothered with such things, I highly recommend using this study guide with your children if you want to get the most out of the book that you can.

In addition to the website, you can find out more about The World of Britfield on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew mates have to say about Britfield & the Lost Crown.

Britfield & the Lost Crown  {Reviews}

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