Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate is a 192 page paperback. Although I thought we'd be getting a diversion from our regular history studies, Milton Hershey's childhood years took place during the Civil War, which is where our current studies had just ended. The book does an excellent job of weaving in current events and how they affected Hershey's childhood and life in general, so we actually got a lot of incidental but relevant history just through reading the book.
I requested the study to use with my 10 year old son, but we were using it as a read-aloud, so my 7 year old began listening in as well. We found the beginning, Milton's childhood, a little slow-paced at first, but once it got to his apprenticeship making confectionaries, the boys became more interested. It became our lunchtime reading, and both boys really enjoyed it. They were always stopping to ask questions or admonish at something crazy Milton did or to discuss one of his failures. Due to the wanderlust and get-rich-quick schemes of Milton's father, and Milton's own failures and successes, we had plenty of opportunity for discussions about happiness, contentment, perseverance and more.
You can't read about a confectioner without eating his chocolate!
The Unit Study
YWAM generously sent a digital copy of the Milton Hershey Unit Study Curriculum Guide as well.
The Unit Study comes in two main parts. The first section is how to utilize the guides depending on your situation. The Homeschool section even includes a timeline for using all of the books/guides for a thorough U.S. History curriculum. The fact that they include small group and classroom options means the studies could be great for utilizing in book groups or co-ops as well.
Then the Unit Study section is specific to expanding the specific book in a variety of subjects, including:
Part One has all of the material and suggestions, while Part 2 has a printable biography sheet, map and timeline. We have done a lot of literature-based unit studies over the years, so I'm very familiar with them. The recommendation of 10-15 years old is pretty accurate. There are enough activities to engage younger students, but many of the topics are appropriate for older students to study in-depth. For instance, some of the topics include the history of Pennsylvania, wars, transportation during Hershey's lifetime, the Great Depression and more. This book and unit study certainly stand on their own, but I could see them being extremely useful as an addition to a Pennsylvania state history course or as part of an elective on Business or Entrepreneurship.
We focused on the vocabulary and chapter questions, but I also went through the recommended reading materials to assign independent reading. My 7 year old loved the suggested non-fiction reader about the history of chocolate, and my 10 year old read a literature book that I wasn't familiar with, but he found interesting. There's another famous chocolatey literature selection that immediately came to mind, and the book and movie are both mentioned in the guide. Those are already family favorites, but since it's also an upcoming book in my 7 year old's language arts program, we're going to enjoy it all as a family again very soon!
The book is well-written and engaging. Hershey Milton was definitely an interesting person, and my kids were actually captivated and fascinated with this man. The unit study adds another dimension to your studies, and is useful for a variety of ages.
The Homeschool Review Crew has 100 reviewers total discussing 30 other books and unit studies, so be sure to check out the variety that YWAM has to offer!
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