From their website, "A vital part of any well-rounded education will include emergency preparedness. This extensive, yet practical hands-on course will equip the participants to be ready to face whatever the future brings, while always acknowledging the True Source of our well being: God Himself! . . . Learn outdoorsmanship, survival skills, and sustainable living skills." There are many homeschooling families who have decided to live "off the beaten path" and do what they can to provide for themselves through farms, home businesses, etc. While my family is not one of these, I still want my children to be self-sufficient and able to take care of themselves and their families during tough times.
The two unit studies written by the Brashears are called Prepare and Pray and Blessed Assurance. Both are subtitled as Family Preparedness Unit Studies. At first glance, I can see that the contents look good. Each unit covers Bible memory, health and nutrition, life skills (gardening, cooking, sewing, shelter, etc.), science, history/biographies, and handiwork/crafts. There are just a few additional books needed: Volume I uses The Swiss Family Robinson, while Volume II has the family reading Sign of the Beaver and Robinson Crusoe. The scheduling suggestions included at the front of each unit explain the layout that the authors have chosen to use.
My fifth-grade son and I are enjoying the Prepare and Pray study. The Swiss Family Robinson is a great book to read together, and we are having some good discussions. We are not completing most of the activities due to time limitations, but we are discussing them each week. Some of the activities we have encountered so far include instructions for making emergency shelters, trapping game, making all kinds of knots, reading maps, and even trying a recipe or two! Each chapter study includes a vocabulary list and a summary of the topics discussed. The discussion questions are good too.
While I think the study is good, I have been disappointed in the quality of the printing of the material that I received for review. Both units have obviously been copied from a previous print-out and, in some instances, it is difficult to read what has been typed up. There are numerous typos, and some handwritten corrections are included. I contacted the author/publisher about this, and the response I received explained their current situation:
All of the original typing and layout of both manuals was done by [our son] between the ages of 14 and 16. Yes, there are imperfections, but we to a degree treasure the imperfections. With God's covering on this project, at the end of three months my children's education had progressed nicely, my house was still orderly, meals and laundry done, and babies content and happy. What I remember most about this period as I sat in the middle of my living room to write (staying available when needed) was a divine quiet over the household, soft voices, little confusion or disobedience. A miracle indeed! . . . We held back on a full release of these materials until we had finished a major relocation. We also had hoped to do more extensive editing but found that our disks were damaged and all editing would have to be done manually until we could do a professionally typeset print job. One of our problems with this year's relocation has been finding a good print shop. . . . I am assuming you got [a copy from a "bad" run], because my husband said he pulled one out for your review. His logic was it was a good use for these because we wouldn't actually send these to a customer."
Overall, these are very good unit studies that cover material in a way that I have not seen offered elsewhere. Homesteading families now have a curriculum they can use to teach their children their lifestyle while reading some great literature at the same time. And families who dream of spending a year or two "away from it all" and living a simpler life can do so through the readings and activities in both unit studies. These units were previously published in 1999 and have been republished since 2005. The price of each unit study is only $65. As Robin Brashear told me by email,
When speaking on the "homeschool convention circuit," we made many friends of nationally renowned speakers and businesses. All of them cautioned us that the book . . . was seriously underpriced, [but] . . . our heart was to put it in as many hands as possible. . . . We have these books out on the market simply because our prophetic inner alarm says loudly that they are going to be needed now while there is still time to learn and adjust to a simpler way of life.