Review: Ireland~By the Way

By the Way has introduced four new adventures since we last encountered them. The cool kids were happy to have another opportunity to review a selection from the By the Way Book Series. We used this book to study the rich culture, history, and atmosphere of Ireland.

Our travels to Ireland began after Alex and Lexi’s mother received an email invitation from a distant cousin. The family made arrangements, traveled to Ireland, and met their long-lost relatives. While there the reunion goes on to include visits to popular places, animal sightings, tours, and local delicacies. I used parts of this book to create a two-week unit study about Ireland. Here are several themes covered by the book and how I applied them during our unit study.

Ancestry Research
I thought the information about tracing lineage was so timely because that is a popular pastime right now. Aside from the library, there are several companies that provide ways to research your family history. I enjoy hearing about the reunions so I appreciated the author touching on the research. We recently attended our family reunion and were able to see the family history go back approximately ten generations. Each reunion, they print out our history and hang it on the wall. Walking the wall and looking for our names is my favorite part of the event. While reading this book I printed the family tree and showed our children their history.

Animals

Throughout the book, vivid images of local wildlife and herds were scattered about the pages. We learned about sheep, Red-tailed Fox, Kingfishers, wild goats, Puffin bird, Connermara Pony, and several more. Majestic water creatures like dolphins, whales, otters, were also discussed. Facts about the animals were included in the character’s dialogue with the sheep crossing conversations occurring frequently. This must be true because movies shot in Ireland often show sheep or other large herds in the road. Animal fact boxes can also be seen on various pages. We took the time to learn about each animal mentioned in the book which afforded us plenty of library visits.

Landscape

As the family toured the land, the author provided detailed descriptions of Ireland’s natural decor. This land is covered with beautiful mountains, rolling hills, and an array of green peaks. I had Bear label a physical map of Ireland while the younger ones created hills and mountains with playdoh. We also looked at photos of this country’s beautiful land.

History, Culture, & Attractions

While there the family stopped by a lighthouse, took a tour of a famine ship, the dock visited by the Titanic, Blarney Castle, and many more. I hadn’t heard of the potato famine before so Bear and I researched it to learn more. The emigration of Irish people and history of the Blarney Stone were also interesting tidbits. Geocaching was a fun addition to this book which provides the chance to participate in an online scavenger hunt. You search for locations online, find the left articles, sign the logbook, and leave the items for others to find. I also liked how various foods from Ireland were included throughout the book. We had a fish and chips lunch one day, minus the fish for the two that don’t eat it. We liked the light crisp of the fish batter and thought the texture was a nice change of pace. The batter worked well on chicken strips too.

Religion & Mythology

I was actually glad the author didn’t shy away from mentioning Irish mythology and fairytales. I think it is important to learn about all parts of history and teach your children so they are fully informed. Other parts of Ireland’s religious history is included like St. Patrick, the Dark Ages, Irish Monks, Celtic Cross. The book notes that some of these symbols and persons are deemed Christian but we feel it is important to do your own research. Doing so led to great conversations with our oldest about the importance of studying the history of any thing you’re interested in. This will help you personally decipher if the items correlate with your religious beliefs.

As usual, By the Way has created another colorful and creative story that aids readers in learning about a new place. I do suggest parents read this book along with their children rather than allowing them to do it alone. By reading with your children you are present to answer questions and give guidance on the information provided. We learned so much during our trip to Ireland and do recommend stories from the By the Way Book Series.

Click the photo below to read other Homeschool Review Crew blog posts about Ireland, New York City, Indiana, Alaska books from this series.

Make this week adventurous,

Ta’Neisha K.

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