Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Any time we can use engaging books to learn about culture, history, geography, or about our world in general, I get excited. When I saw Carole P. Roman’s assorted series show up on the Homeschool Review Crew list, I knew I wanted to review them. We chose four books by Carole P. Roman to review.
There were many intriguing titles, but our first two choices were “If you were me and lived in… Russia” and “If you were me and lived in… Hungary.” My grandparents were immigrants from those respective countries, but died before our children got to meet them. This was a wonderful way to introduce cultures relevant to our family and in some ways helped bring understanding to our children about me, their mother, and our extended family’s traditions and values.
We have been using a classical timeline in our homeschool so we also chose, “If you were me and lived in… Ancient Greece,” and “If you were me and lived in… the Middle Ages.” Both books gave much greater detail to historical periods we had memorized, but not yet studied in depth. We read all four books together during read-aloud.
The books about Russia and Hungary shared a more current experience of what being a child in those countries are like, including linguistics, foods, currency, celebrations, important places to visit, popular games, and what school is like in those countries. For example, if you were me and lived in Russia, you would call your mommy “MaMa” or “Mamochka” (Ma-moosh-ka) and your dad, “PaPa” or sometimes “Papochka” (Pah-poosh-ka.)
Our children especially enjoyed learning about the foods in Russia and Hungary, since variations of those foods are common in our family menu; piroshky – pastries filled with potatoes, meat, cabbage, or cheese, blini – small pancakes rolled with jam and sweetened cheese, and goulash – a thick stew filled with meat and vegetables seasoned with lots of paprika. We also learned new foods we can’t wait to try, like menygyleves, a yummy cherry soup, and dobos torta, a sponge cake with caramel sauce.
It was fun to learn that the Rubik’s Cube was created in Hungary in 1974 by Professor Erno Rubik.
Additional books in this series include “If you were me and lived in…” Mexico, Peru, Poland, France, Greece, Scotland, Brazil, Norway, Portugal, Italy, South Korea, Kenya, Turkey, China, Germany, India, Egypt, Cuba, and Israel.
We learned the people of Ancient Greece believed plain water to be harmful, so even the children drank diluted wine instead. Our honey-loving daughter thought it wouldn’t be too bad living in Ancient Greece because there was always honey for dessert. All our children were surprised to learn that instead of using napkins, people wiped their hands on bread that was later given to the dogs for their food. They were happy to know the dogs got tasty flavored bread.
We also learned about the gods, philosophers, poets, and other important people of Ancient Greece.
In the Middle Ages, we learned about kings, nobles, and peasants. Reading about the daily life and chores of peasant children was a good reminder of how comfortably we live. We learned about the role of the church in that era, cathedrals, knights, and rites of passage.
We were especially interested to learn how salt indicated one’s worth in seating arrangements at the dinner table. The nearer one sat to the salt, the higher their worth. The further away one sat from the salt, the lower their status in the household.
Roman’s additional books in this series include, Ancient Mali Empire, Ancient China, Colonial America, Viking Europe, American West, Elizabethan England, and more.
These books appeal to a variety of ages. Although the ones we chose were written at an elementary-age level, we found our whole family enjoyed them, including Mom and Dad.
I do want to mention that these are independently published books. As a professional writer and someone involved in the publishing and editing side of books, there were things that slightly impacted my reading experience that perhaps others would not notice. That being said, the value of information we gained through this series cannot be understated. These books would be a great addition to any home, school, or public library.
Click on the image below to read more reviews about Carole P. Roman’s assorted series by the Homeschool Review Crew.