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Book Review: Draw and Write Through History: Creation Through Jonah, Volume 1 by Carylee Gressman, Illusrated by Peggy Dick

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As the Gressman family traveled across the United States representing Miller Pads and Paper at a variety of homeschooling conferences, the seed idea for the Draw and Write Through History series was born. Having had the opportunity to speak with a wide variety of homeschoolers regarding their educational needs, experienced homeschool mom Carylee Gressman teamed with Peggy Dick – an accomplished and talented illustrator – to create a series of resources allowing students to draw and write their way through history.

Creation Through Jonah is the first volume in a four-part series, covering the time from creation of the world (c. 6000-4000 B.C.) through Jonah (a contemporary of the first Olympics c. 760 B.C.) Biblical history is well-covered in this volume, as well as a variety of notable events from world history.

Divided into eight major periods: Creation, Noah’s Ark/Ice Age, The Tower of Babel, Egypt: The Pyramid Age, China, Joseph/Moses, Trojan Horse/David, and Jonah – each features from one to four step-by-step ‘how-to-draw’ art instructions and a cursive copywork passage. Written for children ages 8 and over, it can easily be adapted for younger students. A non-consumable book, the drawings and copywork is designed to be completed outside of the book, making it a rich resource for years to come.

Peggy Dick’s step-by-step instructions are wonderfully easy to follow, with the new segments of each drawing displayed in a lighter brown. Helpful suggestions are given for shading, colouring, etc with full-colour, completed illustrations excuted in coloured pencils included for imitation. Some brief historical information is shared, and the provided copywork example summarizes the historical event from a Christian-worldview.

Art is my six-year-old’s favourite subject, yet when Creation through Jonah arrived, her perfectionist tendencies kicked in. The quality of Dick’s completed artwork seemed above her abilities and she was afraid she couldn’t ‘measure up’ in her own mind. However, when one of our homeschooling assignments required drawing a picture of Noah’s Ark, our book came out and we sat down together to draw our pictures.

Having both produced some fairly realistic-looking Arks, we’re both delighted with our results. I’m not at all artistic by nature, but after drawing a few projects from the book, I’ve been impressed by my results. My six-year-old also thinks the book is pretty neat after her successful drawing experience.

Easy to integrate with any existing history curriculum, we’re using Draw and Write Through History with Mystery of History Volume 1. Because our course of study covers so much ground this year, Creation through Jonah will get us half-way there, it looks like Greece and Rome would carry us the rest of the way with some left over for next year.

Whether used from front to back, eclectically, or as a source of inspiration for notebooking pages, or other projects; Creation through Jonah makes an excellent history and art supplement, as well as a wonderful gift for children who’ve been bit by the drawing bug.

A sample drawing lesson can be found online at the Draw and Write Through History website.

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