Monday, March 26, 2012

Branching Out: Genealogy Textbooks for Children- BOOK REVIEW

Since we homeschool, our curriculum must fit into our needs or it will not get used.  Our needs are simple:  make it fun, easy to teach, make it fun, have a visual outcome, make it fun, and make sure it’s fun.  Now, for me, I didn’t see how genealogy could NOT be fun, but my children beg to differ with me on this…  However, if I have a really well-thought out curriculum that includes vocabulary words, small assignments, crafts, and activities and each lesson has focus and direction, I will have a much better chance of sharing my passion with the little ones.

The new Branching Out genealogy textbooks will turn my children right around.  I bought four books in PDF format:

Since I have a Kindergartner and a 4th grader, I thought these would work well to supplement our history and writing for next year.  I’ve been waiting for the release with baited breath and jumped on them the day of the release.

I am beyond thrilled with the layout and quality of the lesson planning.  It’s as if the author knew my teaching style, my children, and my passion and created something tailored to us.  The lessons are different enough for each age level that it will be right for each of my children, but alike enough that, as a teacher, I won’t have to change much. 

Each lesson includes a goal, vocabulary words, a reading assignment, a lesson, an assignment, and something fun.   The older level has more writing and some way to make it personal.  The younger has more visual assignments.  I am so excited to get started that I may even start this over the summer…  

The books come in either PDF or PowerPoint.  I opted for PDF versions and have them on the iPad, which is where I may leave them, since the kids are in awe of any application they are allowed to use on the iPad.

Again, they are so nicely organized that if I’d spent time imagining what I wanted a genealogy curriculum to look like that was made just for me, it likely would have looked just like this (but never actually got completed…).  The author did a phenomenal job on these and I’m so glad that I purchased them.

Disclosure:  While I purchased my copies of Branching Out, I do feel like I know the author, Jennifer Holik.  She’s helped me from afar with my genealogy on several occasions and that’s how I knew she’d do a fabulous job on her textbooks.  The only reason I didn’t also purchase the high school editions is that I’m in denial that I will ever have high school aged children.  Should I ever decide to confront that issue, I will let you know what I think of the books for older ages.


  1. I'm so glad to hear that another homeschooler loves them as much as I do! (Full disclosure: I edited them so I'm technically biased, but I thought that they were fabulous even before I got the change to work with Jen! lol)

  2. I have to admit your review gave me's exactly how I felt when I first saw them in print! Jen's style is both thorough and easy to understand and it's wonderful to know you think so too! (Disclosure: I wrote Chapter 29 for the book.)