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Homeschool Curriculum Reveiw: TLP Amos Fortune, Free Man

April 19, 2012

I am at the CAPE Conference  in Albuquerque today through Saturday. If you are in the area please stop by; I’ll be in the Total Language Plus booth.

Since I was so busy getting ready to come to the conference, I decided to post a review I wrote for  the Amos Fortune, Free Man study guide a few years ago.

Why do I love the study guide for Amos Fortune? Let me count the reasons:

First…. It uses a biography of Amos Fortune, an African prince taken captive and sold into slavery in Colonial America. The story is not the intense, emotional, roller- coaster of a typical slave story, but rather, an honest look at a man that was owned by others but rose above that through personal determination and hard work. This man was good, upright, selfless, humble, and most of all generous. These qualities are shown again and again, in the midst of hardship and trial. They shine forth as a dawning day. This is a great book.

Second…… There is a spiritual focus in the Total Language Plus study guide that comes right from the novel. I am a firm believer that God’s Word and His power change lives. We see this in action in Amos’s life and we are encouraged to apply that to our own lives. When situations in Amos’s life are related to events in the Bible, we are encouraged to compare the events. Again and again, the Biblical references in the novel are discussed in the “Projects,” “Pen and Paper,” and “Personally Thinking” questions.

Third…. Another reason this guide is so wonderful are the bigger themes that you can discuss with your students. This book is not only a story about history and freedom but also about the hard work and determination it takes to reach your goals. These themes are very relevant today.

Two of the Personally Thinking questions in particular challenged me:

The first one dealt with the author’s statement about Amos “winning” his equality through hard work. It asks, “Is equality a right or something to be won?”

My first and immediate response was that we are all equally free, but as I searched the scriptures I found places that said otherwise. I must admit this is a trick question; it is meant to make you think and dig a little deeper than just the surface of what you always thought to be true. For even the Bible says the borrower will be servant to the lender, and the simple a slave to the wise. In the epistles we are reminded that we are to choose to be enslaved of Christ and not to sin.

The other question is based on Amos’s statement “It does a man no good to be free until he knows how to live, how to walk in step with God. Do you agree or disagree?”

My answers were just clichés until I remembered that our liberties are all because of Christ, and I am to walk worthy of Him.

Of course there are questions and projects about freedom itself, such as comparing and contrasting the slavery of blacks by whites with Americaand her conflict with Britain. Other questions ask about the separation of the races reaching even into churches and graveyards.

Fourth…. This is an important book for Christians. Amos is face, a tangible and real person, for many Christian virtues. It is an important book for Americans too, because there are decisions being made today that affect their freedom and liberty tomorrow.

Freedom will remain a high and lofty concept in a patriotic song until you dissect it and define this abstract ideafor yourself. You might be led into believing you are free, when you are not.

Lastly, after you get your hands and head around the true meaning of liberty, the guide will be encourage you to use that freedom to benefit others, to set a goal and not give up – ever. Amos wasn’t content to be free himself, but he gave freedom to others. Those are the virtues that the novel and study guide are about.

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