Review—Kendall Hunt Pathways Heroes: Amos Fortune, Free Man

I was compensated for my time reviewing this product. I received the product for free. All opinions are honest, and I was not required to post a positive review.

Kendall Hunt’s Pathways Heroes Focus for 6th Grade: Amos Fortune, Free Man

Many of my regular readers are home educators, and as you know, from time to time I share some of our homeschooling resources and best tricks with you.

I was super interested to get my hands on a copy of Kendall Hunt’s Pathways 2.0 Grade 6 Heroes Unit, Amos Fortune: Free Man because this is the year the 6th grader and I have been studying American history. He’s a reluctant reader (ahem), so I am always looking for solid lit guides that will engage him and get him into the story.

Amos Fortune, Free Man is a Newbury Medal winning book about an African man taken to America as a slave. This particular literature curriculum, Kendall Hunt Pathways 2.0 Grade 6 Heroes: Amos Fortune, Free Man is quite a mouthful! Let me break it down for you.

The front yard swing is always the reading spot of choice for my 6th grader.

The front yard swing is always the reading spot of choice for my 6th grader.

What You Need to Know About the Kendall Hunt Pathways Heroes: Amos Fortune, Free Man Curriculum

From the publisher website:

Pathways 2.0 is a comprehensive elementary reading program with integrated language arts. This approach allows students to follow a variety of avenues to become readers, writers, and learners. Organized around broad themes and a scope and sequence of skills, Pathways 2.0 uses award-winning trade books that children want to read to deliver the skills that they need.
— from the Kendall Hunt website
  • The full curriculum includes a hardcover copy of Amos Fortune, Free Man and an ebook version of the Teacher Daily Lesson Guide. Score for the homeschooler who doesn’t have a lot of shelf space; I love printing only what I need from an ebook format.

  • The curriculum is designed for a classroom setting. This can typically be seen as a negative for me, because it means I have to wade through the classroom management sections, the group activities that can’t be replicated with my one student in a homeschool setting, and a litany of standards guidelines, irrelevant to our family.

    In this case, I didn’t find it difficult to pick out what would be most useful or helpful. I simply made notes about what I wanted to cover and circled the pages to print copies and use as a worksheet where applicable.

  • The curriculum is more than just a literature guide. In addition to questions about the text, the Teacher Daily Lesson Guide offers vocabulary, spelling, writing mini-lessons, independent writing exercises, handwriting practice, and grammar mini-lessons. There are also opportunities for interactive read-alouds. As a homeschooler, I see this as a benefit. While we might not need spelling practice, the option to use it is great as we pass down curriculum to a child who might.

  • For us, there were important lessons and worksheets that taught my son to RACE: Restate the question, Answer the question and all its parts, Cite evidence from the text, and Explain the evidence. He is continuing to use this as we’ve moved on to other studies.

    He also learned to skim a non-fiction passage for the main idea, how to recognize denotative and connotative meanings, and how to spot allusions.

  • As of this writing, the package (book and teachers guide) is priced at $40.

About Kendall Hunt Publishing

Kendall Hunt is an Adventist curriculum publisher. The Teacher Daily Lesson Guide references an Adventist worldview, but as a non-Adventist, I did not find it to be an issue or to conflict with our own views of Scripture and faith. More on how the topic of Adventism shows up in the curriculum later, but for now you might want to be familiar with the faith connections made in the Teacher Daily Lesson Guide:

Unit Essential Question: What can we learn from heroes that will enable us to be heroes for God?

Unit Big Idea: God uses heroes to reveal who he is.

The Faith-Based Worldview of Kendall Hunt Pathways Heroes

If you’re curious as to how that plays out in this particular curriculum, the publisher has given us an explanation of the Adventist Worldview:

Adventist Worldview, from the Kendall Hunt Pathways Heroes text

Adventist Worldview, from the Kendall Hunt Pathways Heroes text

Out of this meta-narrative of Scripture, the publisher has given us thoughtful questions to ask our students as they read the text, in this case, Amos Fortune, Free Man. I appreciated the focus on the faith of the story’s main character and was able to enter into some thoughtful conversations with my 6th grader using the chapter questions as a guide.

Occasionally there would be some Adventist-specific questions, but I found it easy to skim past them or to engage my son in a discussion about differing practices and beliefs within Christianity. This is one of the reasons we so value homeschooling, so we don’t shy away from educating our kids on the differences amongst believers.

By way of example, the following questions are posed in the section covering chapter 4 of Amos Fortune, Free Man:

  • Is your view of the Sabbath more like the white people’s view (it was a day of many rules) or more like Amos’s view? Explain your answer.

  • Some students will feel that Sabbath is a day full of “thou shalt nots”, and some students may not observe Sabbath. This is an excellent opportunity to teach students the joys of Sabbath observance and to allow the students who already have that understanding to share the Sabbath celebrations of their families. It is also a good time to share with students that loving God makes it possible to follow Sabbath observance out of our desire to spend time with Him.

For us, the language about Sabbath isn’t common in our faith community, and it was how I was tipped off to Kendall Hunt’s faith background. But the questions are really good, and we personally wouldn’t avoid having such a meaningful discussion with our own students. It’s your call.

How the Kendall Hunt Pathways Heroes: Amos Fortune, Free Man is a Benefit to a Christian Homeschool

As you well know, good literature has the power to transform our thinking and positively affect the way we view the world. By choosing solid books such as Amos Fortune, Free Man and providing a thoughtfully written guide, Kendall Hunt is empowering the home educator to encourage our kids to be thinkers and world changers.

As a homeschooling mom of many (as in, my 6th grader is our 7th homeschooler), I appreciate curriculum that I can grab, quickly make a plan to implement, and go.

You can see all of the titles in the Kendall Hunt Pathways Series here.

More homeschool-related posts:

Studying Modern History With My High Schooler: Sonlight 300 & Modernity


>> This is a post about homeschooling. Just giving you non-homeschoolers fair warning so you can skip out and not waste any time. Affiliate links.

My high school junior has asked me to homeschool her English courses each year, and we've done a number of things together to boost her knowledge of great literature and college-prep writing. 

This year we focused on literature of the 20th century, using the Sonlight 300 curriculum. I wrote a couple of posts on the Sonlight blog about how we organized our year using Sonlight 300, and you can read them here if you're interested:

Using Sonlight 300 for Our Unconventional High Schooler

4 Ways to Engage a High Schooler With Literature

In addition to our literature selections that spanned the turn of the century to the 1990's, I wanted Caroline to have some historical framework for the period she was reading and writing about. But I'm also teaching world history to the 5th grader, and we're in the 1700's, so that's no help. My high schooler needed her own level-appropriate historical discussion of the modern era, and specifically of the 20th century.

As I was pondering the best, most non-mom-involved way to go about this, Compass Classroom released their new Modernity video series. I love it when the stars align! I grabbed the streaming option and we were good to go, assigning her all of the topics and lessons that corresponded with the literature we'd already settled on.

Modernity is an excellent tool. The student can start and stop the videos as needed, take notes on the content, and answer questions sparked by the thoughtful dialog of veteran instructor Dave Raymond. Mr. Raymond teaches from a distinctly Christian worldview, placing events and people in the contexts of prevalent theology, literature, art, and religious views. 

For our purposes, Mr. Raymond's discussions gave my daughter the relevant background she needed to understand the historical context of each literature choice. More often than not, she would finish a video lecture with an "Aha!" realization that helped her comprehend what was driving a character's actions or the plot of a story.

You can find the Modernity series here.

How We Organized Her Year Using Sonlight 300 and Modernity

1900’s - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Study Guide: 7 Sisters Study Guide

Modernity     12.1 Nationalism: The Principle

                      12.4 Making Nationalism International: Communism

                      12.4 Communist Manifesto

                      16:4 Woodrow Wilson

                      16.5 Wilson’s Presidency

                       17.1 The Principle

                       17.2 The Scope of the Great War & Its Beginning


1930‘s - Murder on the Orient Express 

Study Guide:     Sonlight 

Modernity         21.2 G.K. Chesterton

                         21.3 Evelyn Waugh and Dorothy Sayers

                         21.4 C.S. Lewis

                         21.5 J.R.R. Tolkien


1930’s - The Grapes of Wrath

Study Guide: Penguin Guides

Modernity     20.1 The Principle

                      20.2 Hoover and the Crash

                      20.3 FDR and the New Deal


WWII - The Book Thief 

Study Guide: The Book Thief

Modernity    20.5 The Austrian Devil: Hitler

                    22.1 The Principal and the Rise of Nazi Germany

                    22.2 The Rise of Nazi Germany II and the Start of the War

                    22.3 France, Britain, and The Soviet Union

                    22.4 The Empire of the Rising Sun

                    22.5 American Entrance and Early Battles

                    23.1 The Principle and the Invasion of Fortress Europe

                    23.2 The Fall of Man’s Empires 

                    23.3 The Atomic Bomb and the Holocaust

                    23.4 Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Winston Churchill

                    23.5 Winston Churchill II


Apartheid (1950’s) - Cry the Beloved Country 

Study Guide: Sonlight

Modernity     25.2 The Civil Rights Movement (skipping ahead in time, and also dealing with civil                          rights in America, not the rest of the world, per se)


1960‘s - The Wednesday Wars 

Study Guide: Sonlight

Modernity   24.1 The Principle and Pop Art

                    24.2 TV and Suburbs

                    24.3 The Cold War

                    24.4 M.A.D. and China


                    25.1 The Principle and Kennedy’s Presidency

                    25.3 The Culture of Revolution

                    25.4 LBJ: War and Peace

                    25.5 The 10,000 Day War: Vietnam


1980's Hope Was Here 

Study Guide: Sonlight

Modernity    26.1 The Principle

                    26.2 The Sexual Revolution and Abortion

                    26.3 Modern Israel

                    26.4 Watergate and Iran

                    26.5 Alexander Solzhenitsyn


1990's My Father’s Daughter

Study Guide: Sonlight

Modernity     27.1 The Principle and the Church Today

                    27.2 Ronald Reagan

                    27.3 Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and the Leaders Against Communism

                    27.4 Gorbachev and the Fall of the Evil Empire

                    27.5 Postmodernity

You can modify the above schedule to fit your student's needs, but I'm also a big believer in not reinventing the wheel, so if this would work for you, go for it!



Planning a Homeschool Week in Just 15 Minutes

Hey there! I know what you might be thinking: But I don't homeschool. That's totally okay. From time to time I will be posting good things for my homeschooling readers, and those of you who aren't, feel free to delete and move along! Isn't it nice to have one less thing to read online anyway?

Back in the day (January, 1997, to be exact), I spent my Sunday evenings planning the upcoming week of curriculum and school goals. I hated it. I mean, seriously, who wants to spend their Sunday nights doing that?

But now it's 2017 and I've gotten much older and a tiny bit wiser. I've learned to:


Make a whole year's plan all at once over the course of a weekend in the summer. 


Adjust each week according to what needs adjusting.

Let's begin with that first one. The whole year? Really??? Yep. And I wrote about it at length on my homeschooling blog, so here's the beginning of the series: Planning a Whole Year of Homeschooling. You can do it! And come December, you'll be giving yourself a high five.

But what about making adjustments as things change during the year? Things do change, don't they? Kids get ahead, kids get behind, unexpected visitors hijack the school hours, etc. It's totally okay. What you take 15 minutes to plan at the beginning of each week (or on Fridays, as I do, for the next week) can be adjusted according to what the current, weekly needs have become.

You can use any planner that suits your fancy. I use this free, customizable printable from Crystal Paine:

I fill in the spots, he does the work, then he checks the boxes. Straightforward, uncluttered, done and done.

Get your copy of Crystal's 1-Week School Planner here.