history

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.

112 Comments

  • Paula April 18, 2013 at 3:06 am

    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.

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  • Heather April 18, 2013 at 3:27 am

    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!

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    • Marlene April 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

      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?

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    • Joanie April 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      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.

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      • Charyti April 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

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

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      • Brenda August 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

        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!!

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  • Jamie April 18, 2013 at 5:36 am

    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.

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  • Carol S. April 18, 2013 at 5:39 am

    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.

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    • Colleen September 2, 2013 at 9:22 am

      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

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  • Shelby April 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

    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!

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  • Krista Guerrero April 18, 2013 at 6:15 am

    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.

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    • Audria April 18, 2013 at 6:51 am

      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.

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    • Emily April 18, 2013 at 9:41 am

      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!

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    • beth April 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

      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.

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    • Brenda August 15, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      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/

      Reply
  • Amy April 18, 2013 at 6:31 am

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

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    • Emily April 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      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?

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    • Jenny April 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      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.

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      • Mother of Two Boys April 19, 2013 at 8:39 am

        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.

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        • Mother of Two Boys April 19, 2013 at 9:19 am

          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.

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        • Kayloni September 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm

          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!

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  • Angela April 18, 2013 at 6:49 am

    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!!

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    • Denise Kingery April 18, 2013 at 7:11 am

      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.

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      • Angela April 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        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.

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    • Carol April 18, 2013 at 7:16 am

      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!

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    • erica April 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

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

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      • Angela April 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

        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. 🙂

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      • Kelly April 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        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!

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        • Melissa June 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm

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

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  • Andrea April 18, 2013 at 6:55 am

    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.

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    • Kristi April 18, 2013 at 10:34 am

      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.

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    • Ali April 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      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.

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    • Michelle V April 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

      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.

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    • Elizabeth March 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion! After looking at it, I think it would fit our family. I just have to see if I can find some more activities for my son to do alongside of it.

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  • Heidi April 18, 2013 at 7:19 am

    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.

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