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:

Who, If Not the Muslim, Is Our Neighbor?


King Solomon wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Last night I wore my Huguenot Cross to the mosque. I almost always wear it everywhere I go, but last night as I sat and listened to the grief and the sorrow and the condolences shared among our local Muslim brothers and sisters, I was struck by the symbiotic symbolism of the cross I wear and the events experienced last Friday in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Huguenots were the French Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries, emerging out of the Reformation like their Protestant brothers and sisters in nearby countries of Germany, Switzerland, England, and Scotland. They suffered severe persecution at the hands of French Catholics.

On August 24th and 25th, 1572, some 3,000 Parisian Huguenots were dragged out into the streets and massacred, their bodies thrown into the Seine and their homes and business burned to the ground. Plotted by Catherine de Medici, the killings continued outside of Paris into all of France, with the death toll reaching nearly 70,000.

“Carts piled high with the dead bodies of noble ladies, women, girls, men, and boys were brought down and emptied into the river, which was covered with dead bodies and ran red with blood,” -Simon Goulart

And as I sat there last night surrounded by grieving Muslim men, women, and children, I could hear the cries of the Huguenots. My heart ached as it recalled the wailing of the Jews, the millions (yes, millions) of Bengali Hindus, the Sikhs, Baha’is, and people who follow smaller factions of faith. Each, at some point in history and many today, experience hatred and intolerance.

In it all, there is this truth:

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The lie is that we have the right to step in and act as God, deciding who lives and who dies. And as Christians, we have two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Who, if not the Muslim, the Jew, the Sikh, the Hindu, the Bah’ai, the Catholic in your community, is your neighbor?

Huguenot Cross.jpeg

What James MacDonald Forgot

What James MacDonald Forgot

Can we stand yet another post on the James MacDonald debacle?

I first watched a video of James MacDonald teaching back in 2010. He was a mighty fine speaker: eloquent, passionate, and well-prepared. He had charisma and humor, to boot. He loved the Word of God.

He seemed so much like so many other charming and well-spoken pastors with big names and bigger platforms, thanks to publishers driven to capitalize on their books and social media outlets that stand in as a worldwide pulpit. Less like shepherds, more like celebrities.

Power trips and the root of it all, pride, are the tip of the iceberg according to insiders. Honestly, I wish the festering pimple would just pop so we could have it all out and be done with it, swabbing the whole mess with a gigantic cotton ball soaked in alcohol.

Or the gospel.

Because, see, that’s what’s been missing for a long, long time. Back when he began, back when I heard him speak, back when he was running an organization that touched the lives of thousands all over the world, I can believe that the gospel was the goal. But as the personality and the ego begins to serve one person—James MacDonald— the gospel becomes painfully absent from the mission. Oh, it might take the forefront in word, but in heart, it becomes, shall we say, nonattendant.

The gospel that reminds us of Whose we are and what He did for us. The gospel that reminds us that God is more than enough, that Jesus paid it all and declared “It is finished”, and that what He did was more important than what we do. The gospel that reminds us that we don’t have to go anywhere else to look for our value, worth, acceptance, or fulfillment. 

That’s what James MacDonald forgot, and I am just like him. Because I, too, leave the gospel behind daily in my quest to feel accepted. I have to remind myself of the finished work of Christ on my behalf daily, hourly. I have to bask in the love of a God who cannot ever fail to love me. 

So really, we’re not so different, James and I. Perhaps now that he’s left with a deep, hemorrhaging, gaping, festering wound, he’ll remember why he loved Jesus in the first place. It may mean isolation and a profound loss of relationships and at the very least, the complete collapse of that pathetic little empire he built apart from the gospel. But that would be the greatest thing James could ever do in his life. Return to Jesus and be filled up with Jesus’ value and worth and significance. It’s all about Jesus. 

Because empires built on anything less than the gospel aren’t worth the tiny men who’ve slaved tirelessly to erect them. In the end, what they had put up as a prop for their own inadequacies fails them miserably, and they become slaves to the very things they might have used to point people to Jesus instead of themselves. 

The gospel. That’s what James forgot.

By the way, if this article sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you read my post called What Doug Phillips Forgot or heard our podcast episode called What Josh Duggar Forgot. James MacDonald shares a lot of company, unfortunately. Us, too.

If you happen to be one of those Christian leaders who find yourself increasingly all about yourself, find a place to start here: In Light of Fallen Men: How Christian Leaders Can Avoid the Abyss.