APR
17
2013

Homeschool History Curriculum Forum

history

Welcome to day 4 of my Homeschool Curriculum Forum/Discussions! Today we’re talking all about the subject of history. Now I have to say that historically speaking history has been a large part of most homeschooling families.

I on the other hand haven’t been quite so enthusiastic regarding the topic! While I have done my own Road Trip USA which includes a basic history of the United States of America for younger learners, I haven’t been too out of the box for this subject yet. So I’m sure you all have some great ideas and opinions on this topic to share!

This current year I was really overwhelmed with so many things going on that we decided to simplify wherever we could. History and Science, which we’ll discuss later, were two areas that we tried to make my life a little easier and less stressful.

So this year, and most likely next year we’re going to be doing Abeka’s History curriculum. Since Turbo and Strawberry Shortcake are only one grade level apart, they do the same level. Tinker Bell listens in on the lessons, but I don’t require her to take any tests or complete worksheets at their level.

Instead we take our own time together to do history on her level which is mainly just reading right now.

 

abekahistory

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Thorough review of historical topics
  • Minimal pre-planning required (if any)
  • Lesson reading is appropriate for each grade level
  • Lessons don’t take very long
  • Children seem to remember what they’ve learned
  • Includes quizzes, tests, and mapping skills worksheets

Cons:

  • Not super “exciting”
  • Not very hands-on

Another thing I like to add in to Abeka just to make it a little more hands-on are the Time Traveler’s Units and the Evan Moor History Pockets.

Both are fun hands-on activities that correlate with various events in history and make the more traditional style of the Abeka history a little more interesting and fun for our family. And since the Abeka is pretty easy to do, i.e. almost zero pre-planning on my part, it’s a little easier to have time to add in these other fun activities to supplement what we are learning.

historypockets

timetravelers

 

 Pros:

  • Hands-on and fun addition!

Cons:

  • A lot of pre-planning and priting required to get this curriculum ready, even as a supplement.

Another history curriculum that I’ve looked into and actually purchased, but haven’t used yet is the Mystery of History series. I purchased volume 1 last year and planned to use it before our decision to “simplify”. I do like this curriculum, and think that it looks like a lot of fun, we just haven’t used it yet, but I wanted to mention it as it does look like fun.

history2

 

So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite History curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards History, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

–> Click here to see all of the Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

 

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.

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Comments

  1. We used Mystery of History this year and really enjoyed it. I plan on continuing it as long as it is beneficial for us. Speaking of simplifying, this curriculum is geared toward all age levels and have hands on activities often. The lessons are written in a way that is interesting and keeps your attention. I use it with my preschooler up to my 3rd grader and all seem to enjoy it and benefit from it. The nice part is, the curriculum is planned out through high school, so I know what I need to cover and how quickly or slowly I can move through. I also have the consolation that we will be going over the same period of history again when they are older, just at a higher level. They are not expected to ‘get’ it all at their young age, just be exposed to it.

  2. We also use Mystery of History and the Story of the World together. My kids beg to do history everyday, so that makes things SIMPLE!

    • Interesting! I’ve been using Story of the World but have wanted to combine it with Mystery of History. How do you combine the two together?

    • I am also curious as to how you combine the two. We are on our second pass through Story of the World and would like to expand it even further. I have been exploring Mystery of History but have been hesitant as I want the two programs to tie together.

      • On the MOH1 yahoo group there are several different lesson plan ideas on how to combine them.

      • I just found this
        http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/sotwmoh.htm

        it breaks down Mistery Of History and Story Of the world lesson plan to combine both

      • and here is the one for book two of each
        http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/sotw2moh2dee.htm

        • What age would you consider combining? I have a K and 2nd and like both but think combining would be too much!

        • Thank you this was very helpful! My daughter is in “5th” grade and we are finishing up Ancients for the second time. We used only Story of the World in 1st-4th. I think when they are little it is best to stick with one or the other. I enjoyed SOTW as much as she did as it is very much a story format.

      • I also love both programs and own all 4 years of SOTW and the first 2 years of MOH. I have used the charts to attempt to combine both. I found that is was too much for my 1st and 3rd graders. I also purchased the audio for MOH. Many of the words were too big for them to understand and I was constantly explaining what a word meant–which is not a bad thing if it’s once in awhile. I found the SOTW audio to be better for their level. I heard Linda speak this summer (author of MOH) and she has a great heart and loves history! She did say it was geared for 4th grade and up, but there are certainly activities for the younger kids too. I plan to do my first 4-year cycle with SOTW and my next 4-year cycle with MOH. When I start the second cycle I’ll have a 6th, 4th and 1st grader–I think it will be perfect timing. It’s nice to have MOH on hand now though as she pulls in the Bible with history so well–now I know what was going on during the time period we are studying in SOTW. LOVE BOTH!!

  3. We also are using mystery of History. I loved volume 1 but volume 2 was not as exciting. I am sure it is because it is the dark ages but I am looking forward to moving on to volume 3.

  4. My oldest daughter (finishing 8th grade) loves the Mystery of History, Volume 3. She wanted to pick out her own history topics for herself before the high school years begin and I thought that was a great idea! She reads the text, pops in the accompanying CD-Rom, and decides what activities look interesting to her. She really enjoys the author’s style of writing and conversational tone and gives it rave reviews. I definitely be trying MOH with my other children.
    My other children (ages 10-13) have been using the Notgrass set on American history. We’ve been doing the lessons together and find them quite boring, to my disappointment. I do enjoy the primary source volumes such as We the People, but the two (very large) hard cover volumes are very textbook-like in nature. So, I’m tweaking the lessons to fit our needs for now. My kids desire something with more projects and I’d like to use living books as the main source of information. History is a wonderful subject and it should never be dull! I’m looking forward to reading other people’s opinions about what products they’ve used.

    • I’ve never been on a post like this before, so i’m not sure what I’m doing, but saw you all talking about the Mystery of History and wanted to ask some questions. I have a 10th grader that needs World History this year and I thought the Mystery of History sounded good, but he doesnt have 4 years to complete this, he only has this year for World History, then he goes on to Government etc. If he didn’t do the projects ( not as much fun I realize, but he is older) could he get through all 3 or 4 volumes in a year? Would he miss to much by just reading and not doing the extras? He might be able to do some extra reading, but has a full load with lots of reading in his English class too.
      Any help would be appreciated from anyone reading this post.
      Thank you
      Blessings on your schooling year
      Colleen

  5. We have been using Story of the World. I like it, for the most part. I originally bought it because I wanted something a little more engaging than Abeka. I wanted something that would allow us to do more and expand on each lesson. It does allow for that, however, I am starting to miss Abeka. So, next year we will go back to Abeka and pick up on American History. I’m ready for all the work to be done for me. :) We may check out the supplements you listed to toss in once in awhile for a bit of fun.

    We will also be using your Geography curriculum!

  6. I love The Story of the World. It is great for different levels to use at the same time. Each lesson is read from a book, either by the child or the parent. At the end you ask some questions to see what they remember from the passage and a brief summary or narration is written. This can vary by the child’s ability. There are maps to color for each section, optional projects and book recommendations to take the lesson further. I LOVE this curriculum. You need the Story of the World book and the Activity book. They are not consumable, so you can use them again and again. The goal of our teaching is to get them reading, writing and thinking. This is exactly what Story of the World gets them doing.

    • We also use Story of the World and my children love it. When I considered not using it this coming year my children cried for it…real tears (I wanted to switch to Trail Guides). Any curriculum that children cry over is worth keeping. The Activity Guides makes it hands on and fun for them. We make every recipe.

    • We will be starting homeschooling this next year (K & 2nd) but have gone ahead and gotten our curriculum already. I was surprised at how excited I am for us to do the Story of the World History! I’ve gotten our first month planned and there’s a variety of different activities I can add in to tailor the lessons for my kids. The chapters are well written and engaging. I’m so happy to have found this history curriculum!

    • We love Story of the World as well. My girls (gr 2/3) found it very interesting and all the activities seem to be at the right level for them. I have also used the additional reading lists and ordered other books in from the library. It really helps to reinforce the topics. One thing I wish we would have added was putting up a timeline. I was lazy but I think I will work on putting one up this summer and going back with the kids to add things.

    • We love Story of the World as well! It’s perfect for my 4-9 year olds. We have the audio and they really enjoy listening to it. We do many of the activities as well. My kids also love LAPBOOKING! Lapbooking is a way for my kids to remember a little piece of history from each of the 42 chapters. There are two blogs that have SOTW lapbooking elements available:
      For Volume 1 and the first half of Volume 2: http://runofthemillfamily.blogspot.com/
      For the second half of Volume 2 and all of Volume 3: http://brendajohnston.blogspot.com/

  7. We use Bob Jones Heritage Studies along with books from the library.

    • We use BJU Heritage Studies also with my 4th and 6th graders. What ages are you working with? We have found the 6th grade history to be tough. What do you think?

    • We also use Heritage Studies. We’ve done first grade, second grade and will be finishing up third grade in a few weeks. In case anyone is interested:

      – the teacher’s guide tells you exactly what you need and even what to say. I don’t follow it word for word, but it’s great to have it laid out in front of you.
      – colorful text
      – age appropriate
      – includes many hands on activities and also bible supplements if you want to include them
      – I don’t purchase them, but tests are available
      – the consumable student notebook isn’t expensive ($15?), so if you have the text and teacher’s guide you can use it forever

      Both my daughter and I have enjoyed BJU Heritage Studies. However, I’m unsure what we’ll do next year. My daughter is so tired of wars. LOL! I would like to find a geography curriculum.

      • Mother of Two Boys says:

        I used BJU Heritage Studies for 4th grade this year. Although we have done BJU in the past I decided to do the DVD lesson this year for this subject. What a blessing this has been. We were able to see interviews of missionaries from Africa, re-enactments of American inventors, video of footage of places around the U.S. Although we are moving on into capitalism, we are still expected to learn the capitals and the state names by the end of the year. I just love how I know they are learning what they ought to. The DVD have a blessing to me as I sit and watch them with them.

        • Mother of Two Boys says:

          I wanted to add that I do BJU heritage studies 4th grade level as well with my 1st grader and it words beautifully. We have also done the cooking activities and the crafts that they demonstrate. We really have had a lot of fun.

        • Mother of Two Boys, I am looking for a dvd based history at a fourth grade level. what you described it just what I’m looking for but I wasn’t clear how to obtain it. Is this DVD a part of the BJU Heritage Studies component. Where do I order it from? Does it include some sort of exam or follow up written work to make sure they are retaining what they learn through watching? Where do I order this from? HELP! My daughter is doing an accountability program w/ a private Christian School and she was supposed to already start history and I haven’t even found what I’m using. I just know I want something DVD based because I’m afraid she will get overwhelmed w/ another workbook to complete. Any direction you can give me would be immensely appreciated! Thank you!

  8. My family has been using Tapestry of Grace for three yrs and have loved it! The main two reasons I fell in love with this curriculum: 1. it uses an integrated approach which means that all its subjects (history, church history, geography, literature, writing and fine arts with government, philosophy and a comprehensive poetics course to come alongside literature added during the high school years) are tied together with history as the central organizational theme, and 2. it incorporates whole-family learning, which means all my kids are studying the same slice of history just at their different learning levels. It covers creation through current day history in four years with the intent that this will ideally be done at the grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages. Real living books are used for the reading which my kids and I love! History is so much fun in our house and I cannot even begin to explain how much I have personally learned in the last three years. It is an extremely thorough curriculum which allows you to see “whole world history” and gives you the ability to make so many connections across continents and time periods. My children also love the fun activities and projects we make along the way! It does take some time to plan and we use the library for most of our books so that takes time as well to reserve books ahead of time but the depth and scope of the material is worth it. I just have to be careful and not try to do everything that is available every week!!

    • Denise Kingery says:

      Hi Angela,
      I was just reading about your post on Tapestry of Grace. It sounds really wonderful! I have a son who will be six in about a week. You indicated it incorporated whole family learning. Do you feel it would work well with a six year old? He is a very visual, handss-on learner.

      • Denise, it will work well as long as you remember that you don’t have to do everything in the plan for each week. For the grammar learning level, especially, the author calls it a buffet of choices from which you are able to select the items that best fit your child for each week of study. I have three children (9,7,5) and all have enjoyed it and are learning a great deal as well! Your child will love the amount of hands-on activities that are suggested. My oldest is a boy and when we first started, he would build something using k’nex or legos related to our reading while I read the material to him.

    • I’ll second what Angela said. I cannot say enough good things about Tapestry of Grace. I feel that TOG is providing my children with an excellent understanding and knowledge of history…not as a stand alone subject, but as it relates to all aspects of life. Literature, art, geography, etc. ARE all related, and TOG does an excellent job portraying that. My children love this curriculum just as much as I do. I am so thankful for it, since it teaches history from a Christian worldview, it is the story of God’s sovereignty through the ages, but it does not ignore the fact that there are other worldviews and other religions. TOG is NOT a workbook style curriculum, but the extra effort and time required to use it is so worthily spent. While I believe I received a decent education (with the exception of history), I am so thankful that my children are receiving an even better one!

    • I’ve always been interested, but it looks like it’s difficult to plan everything out for the year?

      • It does seem a little complicated at first, but each week is organized the same way and the teacher’s notes contain all the information that you would need to lead discussions on any level. After you get the hang of how it is organized and start only looking at the material that you actually need for the learning levels you are teaching, it becomes much easier. The hard part for me has always been to not bite off more than I can actually accomplish in a week. :)

      • We use TOG as well. I love the lapbooks that they sell that go along with each unit! TOG talks about how the beefed up the curriculum to give you more of a choice. They do not want you to do every thing that is suggested in the guide! You get to choose what to focus on that week. Most of the planning is done for you. I just check the week book list , order from the library if we don’t have it, get my student pages ready , pick 3 activities and we are ready to go! EASY! I have 4 girls all at different levels and we can all study the same topic for history.
        The videos and mp3’s really are worth listening to! This is a Classical approach to History so you will be reading a good deal which we enjoy. I throw in Classical Conversations as well with the Map Skills and we work on memory work using our Veritas Press History Cards as well. LOVE THOSE TOO!

        • Is TOG really expensive? It seems that with all the books you have to buy it can get quite expensive!

  9. We have tried the gamut of history curriculum, but always come back to Truthquest History by Michelle Miller. The author builds her curriculum on living history books, of which she has a lending library in the 10s of thousands. Elementary children start out with American History for 3 years, then advance to the older guides: The Beginning, Egypt, Greeks, Romans, Middle Ages,Renaissance/Reformation, and Age of Revolution I, II, and III. Michelle gives what I call a glorified booklist in the guides in that she takes families chronologically through history topic by topic, listing age appropriate living books (biographies, fiction, activity books, and spine overview books such as Famous Men series and Guerber’s Story of ….. series) and also adds in God-honoring commentary to help you think through the issues of that time. Think Write questions (about 6-10 per guide) are added to encourage thoughtful reading and writing. These can be done orally or have older students write out answers. Truthquest also sells notebooking/ lapbooking, timeline, and mapping sets to go along with each guide. I thought about going the textbook route with my junior next year, but she doesn’t think she can go back to using a text after doing history this way. We simply choose books on each topic from the library and read, read, read, then discuss and write on the topic through notebooking. I have not bought the notebooking pages from Truthquest as we already had Westvon Publishing’s history notebooking pages, which are super. We also use Map Trek from Terry Johnson for historical maps and the timeline or Time Travel Cds from Homeschool In the Woods.

    • Thanks so much for this recommendation! I have looked at a lot of history programs and not found anything that I was super excited about just things that “will work until I find something better” I think I just found that something better! I had not heard of this program before but it looks great. exactly what I was looking for: unit type studies with notebooking and timelines and lots of fun reading.

    • We really enjoy TruthQuest as well. It was my attempt to simplify one of our subjects. The kids all enjoy going to the library to pick out books on the time period we are studying.

      I consider it my “guide” through history.

      Pros- great book recommendations (even the librarian has found hidden treasures from my list), go at your own pace, teach several grade levels at one time, spend as much or as little time as you wish on each subject, chronological, biblical (and with warnings if it’s not), the kids retain information because you are reading things that intrigue them & moving fast through things that don’t

      Both Pro/Con – you make up your own schedule & projects

      Con – in order to get use out of the book list you need a descent library, but you can use any book/internet study to complete the work

      Unfortunately we don’t always get to the library when I want, so we use A Beka History as “readers” to supplement. The kids like dabbling in various time periods & using A Beka this way has been fun magazine-type reading for them. It’s worked for us for 1st-3rd grade History, Health & Science.

    • Michelle V says:

      We loved TruthQuest history this year too! I have a K and 2nd grader so the living books approach worked perfectly for us. I like how her booklists are listed by grade level so I can more easily find books for my young kids. Ive been able to get 90% of the books we wanted at my library or through interlibrary loan. Another thing I like is that most of the books have been pre-screened so I can avoid the anti-settler, anti-christian tones found in many history books. And many of the books are primary sources too.
      We bought the lapbooking package that complements the curriculum to add a hands on element. My kids have enjoyed that. Another pro is that it is quite inexpensive and downloadable! Possible cons would be that it requires planning ahead by getting books from the library and printing out any lapbook or notebook pages. And there are not discussion questions so that would need to be parent-led as well. Its perfect for my kids now and probably through elementary but Im not sure if it would need to be supplemented at the high school level.
      We plan to use this next year as well.

  10. History is a collection of stories. Many people get bogged down thinking they have to teach a bunch of history at once. I encourage parents to break down history from the ancient world all the way through the modern world and choose ONE area to study each year.

    We have enjoyed Mystery of History, Story of the World, and History of US but mostly use World of Adventure volumes by Dorian Holt along with Classical Conversation history songs, geography, and history motions resources.

  11. Denise Kingery says:

    I have just started using the Evan Moor History Pockets to go along with our study of Colonial life for my soon to be six year old. He loves loves history. And, even though he is young I have been able to incorporate the Evan Moor History Pockets in with our studies very nicely. We add them to our lapbook along with any other items we have. If you have a visual, hands-on learner these are a great way to add fun to your history lessons.
    I have purchased the Time Traveler’s Units to use next year. They have lots of great printables and activities. I purchased them from Homeschool In The Woods. Their website is full of wonderful information and resources.
    As Erica indicated both these require planning, printing and such. I don’t mind doing this as I know that without hands-on, visual items my son would be bored with history and his love for it would quickly disappear. So, for me the extra work it’s a small price to pay in order fuel his love for the subject.

  12. We use My Father’s World, which is open-and-go with pretty much everything included. HOWEVER, I have been reading this “forum” & it is giving me curriculum wanderlust lol! There are so many amazing resources out there that I want to try- it makes me consider pulling my own curriculum sources together (YIKES!!)

    • I also use My Father’s World. I love that it can be used for many kids together. It is a reasonable amount of work, and I feel it is balanced between independent and teacher-led. I have considered Story of the World in the past, but read somewhere by Ken Ham (from Answers in Genesis) that there are some inaccuracies in the books. I’m not a history buff to know what is right and not, especially if the inaccurate info is subtle, but I do trust Ken Ham and his evaluation of it.

  13. What a wonderful post. I have three children ages 5, 6 and 7 and this is the one subject area that I have struggled to find the “right” fit for our family. I look forward to reading more about this from other comments. Thank you.

  14. Bekah Begg says:

    We will be using Story of the World next year along with history pockets. We didn’t really do history this year. We did a bit as we studied different countries but nothing too intense.

  15. For the past several years, we have being using the Calvert curriculum and I have been “Canadian-izing” the history program – fun but time consuming. So this year we introduced Northwoods Press’ “Canada My Country” by Donna Ward (www.donnaward.ca ). We have been really pleased. For the start of Grade 3 we are expanding to include British History and we are working using the Usborne Books ( http://www.usborne.ca ). We will be using it in conjunction with watching Time Team on YouTube – this is a British archaeological show which does 3-day digs and provides superb snap shots of British history. Also for those with kids in high grades, please note that Veterans Affairs in Ottawa has complete teaching binders about the role of the Canadian armed forces in WWI, WWII and Korea.

  16. Next year will be our first year homeschooling (9YO, 7YO, 5 YO) and I am considering using Veritas Press History for my older two. Has anyone used this? I would love to know your experience (the good, the bad, and the ugly). I am looking at teaching it myself, instead of using their self-paced online class.

    • I have not, but I have friends who use it. They love it with a caution. Some material can be in their opinion inappropriate and they highly recommend pre-reading.

    • Jennifer Rooney says:

      We started using Veritas Press this year and really like it. You can use as many or as little resources as you want each week which takes some of the pressure off. The first year history and bible overlap considerably since the Bible is the source for early history.

    • We have done Veritas History for 2 years(grades 2 & 3) now and we love it. We have combined it with the Story of the World and it is really fun. We do not do all of the worksheets that Veritas recommends. Pretty much we just read the cards, ask questions about what we read, and do a few activities to reinforce what they learned on the cards. We take a test after going through 3 cards We keep all of our projects in a notebook to look at and that has been really fun. History is one of my kids favorite subjects!

    • I use the VP cards and love them!!! You can find some great you tube videos for motions as well. I do not have the CD so I do not know what is on there. I was thinking of the Omnibus 1 Volume for middle school but when I read about all the vulgar things in the book they expected a 7th grader to read it has turned us off a bit. They do say you can avoid reading that one all together but why even suggest it if it is so bad?? So we are sticking with Tapestry of Grace, our VP Cards and a little bit of CC (Classical Conversations)
      Kelly

      • Veritas press only covers Western History in a 6year cycle. It DOES NOT cover Eastern History such has China, Japan,…

  17. In the past I have tried Story of the World. I found it to be a great curriculum but my kids found it extremely boring & wouldn’t retain anything. We used the History Pockets & Homeschool in the Woods Time Traveler Units. My boys both really enjoyed them. The time traveler units are thorough, lots of hands on activities & much more, but there was a lot of prep work. And the kids said it was a bit much with all the activities & the fact file cards that I printed with each unit.
    This year we went with something different. We are using Oak Meadow for History. My oldest (15 yrs. old) is doing World History, using the Glencoe World History book & the Oak Meadow World History syllabus. He seems to be enjoying it and hasn’t said it was too much work.
    My youngest (11 yrs. old) is using Oak Meadow 6th grade Ancient Civilizations & English. It is a bit of a challenge for him, as he has never written any reports, research papers, etc. He didn’t read until he was 9 yrs. old, which put his writing a bit behind. But, so far this year he has really taken a shine to the new curriculum and has worked through it. But he enjoys the minimal reading, the project choices and even doing the writing assignments each week.

  18. Joanna Adams says:

    We’ve used Story of the World, and enjoyed it. The activity book makes for tons of fun. This year I pieced together U.S. History using living books and loved it. Next year I’m planning on using The Mystery of History along with some living books.

  19. I am planning to use Story of the World and Erica’s Expedition Earth this year…but I am concerned that it will be too much to do both of these indepth/hands on curriculums in one school year. Has anyone done them both?

    PS I realize that EE is Geography and I’m not trying to stear the conversation elsewhere, just wondering if adding Story of the World this comimg year will be too much or will they go nicely together?

    Any thoughts?

    • I use Story of the World. And plan on combining it with Erica’s EE and Road Trip next year. Story of the world is so fun and planned out so well that kids really grasp the lesson well – so adding something else really won’t be too much of an overload. We did Story of the World twice a week and will be finished at the end of the school year. So there are three other days that we’ll be able to fit in EE and Road Trip. :)

    • This year I have used Story of the World with my 4 and 6 year old along with Roadtrip USA. Basically we cover one state a week. And one chapter of SOTW a week. We school year round so no pressure!! Next year we see planning to use SOTW along with Classical Conversations.

  20. Biblioplan is the best if the best. You choose your spine ( we love mystery of history), then choose the wonderful suggested literature for each grade level, then do the maps and hands on activities to go with them. I love history and quality literature and have researched this for years. Look it up! Designed by some very highly educated qualified homeschool moms.

    • Thank you so much for recommending Biblioplan; I had never heard of this curriculum. I just looked at the website and it looks like a really good fit for us. I have three littles (ages 4, 3, and 9 mos.) that I plan to homeschool and loved the methods/recommendations presented in The Well-Trained Mind (The chronological time periods covered with Biblioplan were inspired by the history-study guidelines in The Well-Trained Mind.) I’ll definitely be looking further into this choice!

    • Thanks for this! We will have a huge age range here, k to 9th, and wanted to do early American history. I have looked at heart of Dakota, beautiful feet books, truth quest, not grass, Sonlight, but for all ages, American history, well planned out, activities, time line, maps and good literature, this is the best I have seen! Could I possibly ask you a couple of questions?
      Are there discussion questions for the literature?
      Is there a vocabulary list?

      Thanks again!

  21. We will be using Simply Charlotte Mason for our history for our second year. 1st grade and up use the same program which helps with larger families. I don’t want to teach multiple history levels. We previously used My Father’s World (which had the same multi-grade concept), but felt that it was a lot of work and had little retention. We are now using notebooking as a means of improving retention. We did omit some of the recommended reading for Simply Charlotte Mason this year, because I thought it was a little over my 4th grader’s head. But I enjoyed doing that and adding in more things on my own to supplement the program. It helped me to not feel stuck, locked in or confined. I like to be fluid in teaching to allow room for adding in fun things that spark our interest. I’m not brave enough to fully piece together things/making my own curriculum. I need more structure than that. Simply Charlotte Mason seems to be that perfect balance for me. Reading to my children, having all the kids learning the same thing (some ages have additional reading), keeping structure, not overwhelming, leaves enough room to add fun projects.

  22. Mystery of History can be used for multiple grade levels. I know Vol I has an audio cd that reads the lessons to you. I used that when we did Vol. I.

    The coming year will be a challenge as I will have a senior, 1st, 2nd, and 4th grader, a 2 year old underfoot, and my one graduating will still be home. With six children, very diverse ages, and grades that take more time than most, I am taking the plunge to simplify planning and my prep time by doing some BJU dvd classes and the full grade package for my 4th grader. Hopefully, with having the lessons already done, I can “manage” the instruction and help each child rather than having to plan and prepare for each one. I like to plan and prepare and I have an education degree, but after 14 years of homeschooling, being 46, and having 6 children, I need a little support! :-)

    Kay

  23. I love History Odyssey, it is harder for my son, but it is set up much like what he will be doing in college, as he completes each set he is learning basic but necessary skills such as taking notes and outlining, things that he struggles with but that he will need to know how to do well if he is to continue his education past high school. We picked up in the middle of the set at level 2, but I think if he had started at level 1 he would not be having as many issues with it as he is, they build on each other, and his prior PS education was not set up for something of this level…

    • We use this program, too and love it. We started with Level 1 and I can’t wait to use through out the years. It is also secular (it doesn’t ignore religion, it keeps it in context of the people being studied).

  24. We have been using the Time Traveler’s Series this year. As much as I like it, I also dislike it. There is a lot of prep work in putting the binders together and I found that we didn’t do many of the activities. I would read the section and then my kids would do copy work or add to their time lines. I had good intentions of doing the most of the activities, but they just fell by the way side. I love the info presented, but it is a lot of work. It has been interesting to read others comments and reviews. I thought I was just going to carry on with TTS next year, but now I’m thinking otherwise. I love the support system that homeschool has to offer on sites like this. Thanks!

  25. We use sonlight core b, I love it! We use it for kindergarten and 2nd grade so it can be used for multiple levels. I love the approach of reading literature to grasp history concepts. It’s so much more fun than basic textbook memorization. We may try out TOG when our little ones get a little older and I have more grade levels to teach.

  26. I use Intellego Unit Studies with my kids and supplement with children’s books and history craft books like the “Fun and Simple State Crafts” series and “The Children’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Ancient World”. When it comes to US history, we do many field trips as well.

  27. We used Story of the World Ancients this year and both boys (6th grade and 2nd) grade loved it. They retained what they learned and really enjoyed the many hands on activities. I did find that this curriculum was WAY to easy for my older son, but I allowed him to continue on with us because he was enjoying the time we all spent together going through the chapters. Next year I will be switching my older son to History Odyssey as it is much more suited to his academic needs, I thought I would switch my younger over too, but have found at the elementary level the curriculum was a bit too intensive. We will stay with Story of the World for our younger son, most likely until he hits middle school.

  28. We have always used Abeka History, and my daughter does ok with it, but it bores my son to tears, literally. So I started using Abeka as a guide and making Unit Studies out of the chapters. He loves this! Next year I am considering using Greenleaf Press. Anyone out there have any opionoins on this curriculum???

  29. I tend to be quite eclectic when it comes to curriculum and History is no exception. LOL When my children were younger we used SOTW and we all really enjoyed Vol 1. We used the activity book with it, too. Great fun! Last year my 6th & 8th graders used Notgrass America the Beautiful. They both really enjoyed it! It incorporated Bible and Literature, too. We read some great books along the way. This year my oldest is using the Notgrass High School level World History and will continue next year with their High School Exploring America. We’ve also used Erica’s Expedition Earth for our World History/Geography this year. I like to add some fun stories from various countries and stories of missionaries along the way as well. Next year my younger kiddos will do Notgrass Uncle Sam and we’ll use Erica’s Roap Trip USA, too. (I guess I just can’t do anything simple! LOL)

    We LOVE Notgrass and Erica’s curriculum!!! So we use them BOTH! :-)

  30. We love Sonlight’s Core B for our current history studies — but are going to do Classical Conversations next year, and are trying to figure out how to supplement the memory work with some “fun” history reading as well.

    • Genevieve H says:

      Has anyone else tried Sonlight? What are the pros and cons you’ve had with it? Looking at trying it next year and want to make the best (and spend my money the wisest) for my family. Thank you!

      • We use Sonlight and love it! We cherish our “couch time” with Mom – curled up on the couch and reading and reading. We are finishing Core C (2nd half of world history). And we’ll be doing Core D (1st half of American history) next year. It’s a gentle approach to history. One of our favorite activities is to place our timeline figure in the time line book, after a block of reading.

        We also use SOTW for supplement – twice a week. We’ve completed Vol. 1 & 2. I really like the story telling approach. It hasn’t exactly lined up with our Sonlight reading, but I’ve found that they reinforce each other. We’ll use Vol. 3 next year to see what’s happening in the world, while the US is still young in our Sonlight reading.

      • We did Sonlight for 2 years. It was great, a lot of great reading, but after adding in a 3rd kid, there was just too much to do each day. We weren’t finishing school until almost 4pm! Also, I feel like some of the books are inappropriate for the younger grades, especially in the History section. I do still read many of the chapter books from their reading lists.

  31. I read Story of the World to my girls – ages 7 and 5. We do map activities in the workbook. Next year we will start a timeline on butcher paper roll with Bible history on the top and “regular” history on the bottom so we can see how things overlap.

  32. We have used American Girl doll books this year and LOVED them. We read the Felicity series and then traveled to Colonial Williamsburg. We’ve also read the Kit and Addy series. I supplemented the series with other books relating to the era (slavery, Abe Lincoln, Civil War, Underground Railroad, the Great Depression) or relating to the girls’ hobbies (baseball, Amelia Earhart). We have really had a fun year. I am just trying to figure out what to do when my son begins school. I don’t think he will be interested in American Girl books.

    • Hi Amy – Perhaps your son might enjoy The Orphan Train Books or The Magic Treehouse series (not much magic unless you count getting to travel through time to a historical period) was also a goot introduction – the is a Canadian version too called the Red Flyer series. Your daughter might also enjoy the 30-volume Dear Canada series which looks at the lives of a girl at different period in history – sort of the next stage up from American Girl.

    • There is actually a unit study that I am looking at using next year with my 3 girls, (4th and 3rd grade next year) that uses the American Girl books. It is called Portrait of American Girlhood. Anyone use it and have any comments?

  33. Hello ladies,
    What a great discussion! Thanks Erica for putting this out there. I’ve been really dumb this year with our history curriculum. Well smart and dumb and let me tell you why. I’ve been putting together my own lessons plans, picking and choosing from Core Knowledge Lesson Plans for Grade 1 off the internet, as many are posted under the Core Knowledge site etc. This has proved WAY too time consuming for me, printing off the lessons, worksheets, activities, and appendixes. Ordering the books from my inter-library loan, then pickup which luckily is just 1 mile away. The kids (K and 1st) have learned alot more and retained alot more than I thought they would, but I just don’t think I can do this next year. I am torn because some of the books we’ve read have been so amazing (The First Dog about the Ice Age for example) but I am checking out ALL the suggestions above and trying to make life a little easier. Way cool that MOH and SOW can be combined. There’s a GREAT video series called Ancient Civilizations for Children by Schlessinger Media – Nine of them in the series and carried by most libraries so check them out for end of lesson wrap ups. TG’s online and inside DVD if lucky for these are neat too.Thanks to all for the great ideas. !

  34. I love Konos. It includes hands-on unit studies and all of my children can learn the same topics at the same time. My children read about history, act it out, cook items related to that time period, create art projects related to that period of history, and more. It does require some prep time each week, though. Not only are my children learning (and remembering history), but we’re having lots of fun while doing it!

  35. We have changed cirricullum this year to Trail guide to learning. It is history based and keeps my 9yr old son happy. His attention span is not real long and the lesson are perfect in length. Last year I had to drop science and history because i couldnt give it proper time. I felt like we were leaving out a lot fun things to learn about especially since those are his 2 favorite subjects. TGTL puts everything together (except Math) so well that it just flows. I don’t feel like I am trying to work so hard to get it all in.

    • Thanks for sharing this curriculum with everyone. We, too, have been using Paths of Exploration this year and it has been a huge blessing/time saver! I hope more people check it out because i think a lot of people would really like it!

  36. We have used the A Beka curriculum in its entirety from kindergarten through 4th grade. In the last two years, we’ve done their video streaming option instead of the homeschool parent-led option (text books only). My daughter thoroughly enjoys the video streaming A Beka History lessons. The teachers make it interesting, using maps, charts, and fun songs/sayings to make geography lessons easier to learn and memorize. It works for us. I’ll have to look into the other options you mentioned. It might be fun to do some crafts and such to relate to the History lessons. My daughter is an American Heritage Girl, and they have a Heritage frontier for badges that tie in well with the American History lessons. As part of that process, we’ll go to the library to find books/documentaries on those topics.

  37. I have a rising 7th grader. We have always used BJU history and I would love to find something a bit more interesting and something my rising 5th grader can join us with too. Any suggestions?

  38. My kids are 10 y.o and under (rising 5th grade and under). WE don’t use a curriculum at all… we use everything in life to learn about history. I have read Abeka textbooks to them before. A couple of years ago. WE stopped. they were too boring. :( We read historical fiction books aloud (Sonlight has a good list of those. American girls series or Dear America are another good ones). WE watch documentaries together. Sometimes we do lapbooks about a topic or theme. The kids have listened to the Story of the World audio files volume 1. I am planning to buy vol. 2 and have them hear that too. We don’t do history chronologically. WE learn as we go and answer questions and have lots of discussions. there are lots of connections happening all the time. They will all fit together and make sense eventually. It did for me. :)

  39. This was our first year of homeschool. We used the History/Geography/Bible curriculum from the Simply Charlotte Mason website, Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt. I loved the bible teaching and the recommended children’s commentaries. The history books recommended were also good but I wanted more hands-on activities for both history and geography. I did a lot of research and I was very close to purchasing the Mystery of History curriculum. Studying history in chronological order really appealed to me. Also, learning what was happening in other parts of the world at the same time I think would really help piece things together. However, I ended going with Trail Guide to Learning-Paths of Exploration because of the great books they use and the fact that they begin with American history. Children can absolutely learn about Ancient history at a young age, my daughter did, but I think I like the idea of having her learn American history while she’s young. She can then learn about the rest of the world when she’s older and it doesn’t seem so abstract. Paths of Exploration is a little pricey because it is an all-inclusive curriculum with the exception of Math. I will be supplementing the other subjects, however, because I’ve always had reservations about “all-inclusive” curricula. The way the skills are covered for the other subjects sometimes feels scattered and hit and miss. For my peace of mind I need to know that she’ll be learning grammar, spelling, and writing with no gaps (ideally :). Maybe I completely wrong. Maybe I’ll find that the way Paths of Exploration covers Language Arts and Science is more than enough. I hope so. If that’s the case I won’t supplement next year. Those of you who have used all inclusive curricula before have you been generally pleased with the way the other subjects have been covered?

  40. Does anyone here use Beautiful feet? That’s the one I’d like to try!! Teaching through literature :) http://bfbooks.com/

    • I have been considering Beautiful Little Feet for next year also. History is not my strong subject (I taught science in public school until I left to begin homeschooling), so I need something that is engaging to both me and them. I would like to know if anyone has used it as well before I purchase it. This year we have been using Lifepac. I like the way it is laid out with the lessons in a logical order, easy to follow and complete, and appropriate length for the grade level. But some of it is pretty dry. The teacher’s manual does give suggestions on other activities the students can do. I have combined it with Erica’s Roadtrip. My daughter loves Roadtrip.

    • I was going through the replies looking to see if anyone used Beautiful Feet. I do!! And I love it!
      I’ve used almost all their studies, and have enjoyed every one of them. My oldest daughter is 21 now and I’ve never used any other history than the Beautiful Feet study guides and Mystery of History. They both fit our style very well. History is our favorite subject. We can’t wait to sit together and read. Once you’ve done it this way, you’ll never want to go back to textbook-style history. We also tend to simply put together our own history units based on what we want to study. I love it!

      The only way to know if Beautiful Feet is for you though, is to try it. It is clearly laid out day by day with what to read, and what to include in your notebook. I like that. And the book choices are fantastic. You can always add some of your own books, or delete a book too, it’s flexible in that regard as well. This next year I will be doing Ancient history (again!). We read the books as read alouds, and have great discussions. I think that’s the key.

    • I know it’s a little late but I have been homeschooling for many years and used 4 of the Beautiful Feet history guides. I loved the literature choices and the spines. Some of my greatest homeschool memories have been from reading aloud the books we from BF guides? Some of these books have become all-time favorites!. It was my first homeschool love and remains to be a favorite..

      Pros-syllabus is very inexpensive and you could use libarary to obtain many of the books (although, I purchased the books for future use with multiple children), easy to use, lessons are laid out for you, living books approach, notebook approach and not many hands-on projects are suggested keeping a mom feeling like she can’t keep up (there are enough resources on-line if you are big hands-on crafty kind of mom, think pinterest) and read-aloud is highly suggested, even in upper grades (and you can’t replace that with anything!).
      Cons-guides are not chronological (no cycle to follow), I’ve had to use other things when I wanted to follow a cycle and do multi-ages together (such as high school, junior high and elemenatry together), not many hand-on activities, does not have scripted conversational style discussion or readings, but more questions/topics to discuss, example-“Discuss how the pilgrims demonstrated Liberty of Conscience in not worshiping at King James Church.” from Early American History primary grades, (these are not necessarily cons, but if you are not sure of yourself with discusion and questions or a four year plan all laid out, than you may want to supplement).
      I cannot say enough how important reading aloud to your children is! So, if you choose curriculum that is too overwhelming, keeping you from reading with your children, try cutting some things out. You don’t need to read every book out load, but make sure you make time for it in your studies.

      • I forgot to mention I supplemented with History Pockets but there so many wonderful resources online for free or very inexpensive you could use to make your notebooks a little more colorful!

        • I forgot that I used the geography guide using the Holling Clancey Holling books and maps. We loved those maps. They’re beautiful!

  41. jessica crognale says:

    just love these “forums”! well we have done time travelers w/ 4th gr & 7th grade, 2 yr old & infant! tons of great info there. agree with others, lots to print out and prep for with my age ranges. a bit too much “hands on” all the time. we loved how the lapbooks turned out. using the lapbooks as a stepping stone for a final project for 5th & 8th grades this year. used story of the world vol.1 for 5th gr this year & streams of civilization vol 1 for 8th gr w/help from http://www.donnayoung.org for schedules, bookmarks and made up my own tests for streams of civilization. the tests that you can buy are just not completely up to my standards for testing (want more short essay questions and not all information is easy to find in those tests). my kids are history buffs and they retain info well. we have tried a variety and sticking with s.o.t.w for the most part. love erica’s e. e. and will try it will my little peeps when they are ready. in fact, next year we are going to use s.o.t.w vol 2 with 6th gr and combine some ideas from e.e- like passports & animals to make it fun for pre-schooler. s.o.t.w is a bit on the younger side for my soon to be 6th grader but i know she enjoys reading it. will require her to take notes next year. considering buying the cd’s so she can listen and stop when she needs to write something down. also, going to require her to take tests on what she knows next year. the activity guide is good for daily review/geography. she is strong in geography too. bought a large write-on-wipe-off world map and toddler/preschooler/soon to be 6th grader are loving that! middle ages here we come!

  42. Has anyone used Heritage History? http://www.heritage-history.com/www/heritage.php

    I’m thinking about it for next year with my 6th grader.

  43. We attend a hybrid school where we homeschool 2 days and the children attend a classroom 3 days a week. We use Mystery of History and most of the families do NOT enjoy it. It is far too detailed for 1st-4th graders even when parents are summarizing for them.

  44. Wendi Worrell says:

    We, myself and my three boys, ages 8,6,4 have been using Sonlight for 4 years now and we LOVE it and are learning a lot. They use a few textbook type books (Landmark History of the American People for example) but primarily they use living books which my boys love. Pros: can combine multiple ages into 1 or 2 cores, great books for couch time, teaches more about historical life than just the dry facts. Cons: Can be expensive if you purchase the entire Core from Sonlight, however I’ve always bought their instructor guides than I try to purchase almost all our books used and there is a lot of reading which we’ve always enjoyed but for some it may be a lot.

  45. Stephanie West says:

    We have been apart of a Classical Conversations community for 3 years and it has been a huge blessing. Along with history, science, math, Latin, art, geography and english are all covered as well. I have 4 children two whom are elementary age and 1 preschooler, I love that they are all memorizing the same material the only difference is it is presented to them at their age level. Not to mention all the memory work is set to pretty fun and totally catchy songs.

  46. We love, love, love Story of the World!!! It is well written, reads smoothly – all my kids listen and there are always hands on activities. You can add additional resources and books for older kids. We tried Mystery of HIstory and although there are some great things about it – it was a bit more scriptures with history tied in rather than history with scriptures tied in. It is all really preference.

  47. We just started using Epi Kardia this year. I have two 7 year old boys. We tried Veritas but half way through we were tired of Egypt. Epi kardia covers Creation through the present each year in elementary with a different emphasis each year. By repeating all of history each year, more of it will, hopefully be retained. It is a Charlotte Mason approach with a lot of great books and art/music appreciation, grammar spellng and handwriting and even science are all integrated with the history.
    Di

  48. We are using Beautiful Feet. My 2nd grader begs to do history. He managed to read and notebook a years worth of history curriculum in about 6 months he enjoyed it so much. It doesn’t require much prep work from mom. I rounded it out with History Pockets, the Life in Plymouth Colony and the American Indians. We also bought/checked out several really good DVDs about history. I had a third grade Abeka history book on hand also. Beautiful Feet books is tons more interesting and gives many more details. My son took a placement test for a school and placed into 5th grade history. As a 2nd going into 3rd grade. I’d highly recommend BF history!

  49. Elisabeth says:

    Hey gals,

    I posted above already, and maybe this is too late to be read now. . . I hust saw this this week and wanted to share:

    I wanted to chime in and add that Ron Paul will be offering Free (yes I think FREE for K-5 starting in Sept) K-12 curriculum online.

    So check it out and see if you’d like to supplement with this. It will be built over 2 years. The price is right and I like to teach truth and freedom without all the agendas to my kids. It sounds really promising teaching self-discipline at a young age.

    Here’s the link!
    http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com

  50. We used Story of the World this last year, but we really struggled with it. My kids barely paid any attention to it. My daughter retained the information pretty well for her age (almost 6), but my 1st grader had a harder time – he doesn’t remember anything I just read. I was looking at Homeschool in the Woods program, but it is for grades 3-8 and I’ll be having a 2nd and 1st grader next year. It seems more hands on. SOTW does have projects, and they loved those, but with the actual learning part — that was not so great. I’m thinking if I do it again next year I’ll get the audio CD because my voice and brain is so tired from reading aloud so stinkin’ much all day long. Also, a lot of the curriculum you guys were talking about seem great, but with the Charter we go through we can’t use Religious curric, so I need different alternatives than most of what was listed. I may stick it out with SOTW until I can find something more fitting.

  51. I have been looking for a history coloring page that has a historical image at the top and lines on the bottom for writing. Does anyone know where I could find something along those lines.

  52. I have used Story of the World, Volume 1 and began Volume 2. We loved Volume 1 but our home school group was doing a unit on the Middle Ages last year, and the Renaissance this year, so I felt it was overkill to do it twice, so we didn’t finish Volume 2. For a timeline, I took the review cards and some 12×12 card stock and made my own timeline. I put the dates up along the top edge, and then put the cards underneath, sometimes overlapping them if need be. It seemed to make sense to my girls, then 12 and 8. The pictures were the ones they had colored, etc.
    I am considering Mystery of History for next year, just for a change with my now 6th grader, as my oldest is doing a high school history course in our home school group.

  53. My son is homeschooled…boring history he says…so I say I can fix that..maybe, maybe not..
    here’s what I wrote
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLITpeuiZ98…. (An overview of American History)
    it is a completely interactive 240 video series on Youtube about American History based on the Voice of America radio series “Making of a nation” except it includes both audio and text together interactively…starting with Columbus and going to present day..
    currently on 182 of 240…

    No sales pitch..just lettin’ fellow homeschoolers know an alternative…channel been viewed in every country in the world for over 3,000,000 minutes..

  54. I read through most of the posts and was surprised no one mentioned Sonlight history. I have been using their cores for years and we love them. There are lots of great literature books and Bible along with some textbooks, but it’s mostly good literature – living history books. We love the books so much, I ended up buying every core and my kids go back to the books to re-read them all the time.

    I do like that there were other suggestions here, though. I had never heard of TruthQuest but I might give that a try this year as it fits better with my co-op’s study of modern history this year (SOTW Book 4) for my 5th grader.

  55. Tammy Barker says:

    We are wanting to do American History this next year with a 1st and 2nd grader. Any thoughts? We really haven’t done much History this year. I find it hard to fit everything in with a toddler around too. He will be in preschool two mornings a week this year so hoping to fit in some of these other things.

  56. We use My Father’s World and LOVE it! It teaches history in the order it happened from the beginning to the present time period. It uses pieces of several books- one of which is the Story of the World. All the books come in your packet with easy to follow daily lesson plans. I like how it teaches art and music according to what time period in history we are studying. It also shows the connection in the Bible to history, too! We are starting the last of the 5 year cycle next year! It has definitely brought history to life for my boys!

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