If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday Thoughts... Dratted History >:(

I have firmly decided on math, language arts, a literature study, and science. I have books in place, a schedule of library books to reserve (for the lit study), all my spiffy new science supplies... everything is falling into place, except history. Somehow I really feel really blocked on this subject this year. I am torn between wanting to go a bit more on the classical side, and wanting to allow my kids more freedom in what they study. The Boy has about three years left before he hits "high school" age, and I want to make sure he is prepared both for high school, and eventually college. I have managed to narrow it down to about
fourfive options... now if I can just choose one!

Option 1: K12's Human Odyssey - I like this because it is like an advanced version of SOTW. There are three volumes covering prehistoric to modern times, and then they also have an American Odyssey that looks really good. IF we use this, and I stick with Elemental Science, I would have the next four to five years covered, AND I think it would give the kids an excellent foundation. However, what if they get bored, and stop learning? And I'm not ever sure about such long-term planning.

Option 2: Oxford University Press' World in Ancient Times, and World in Medieval/Early Modern Times. I do love these books, and how in-depth they are. I like the idea that we could focus on one cultural region for a while rather than jumping around. However, they only go through early modern times, and then I would have to find something else entirely! Now, someone did make a schedule for combining options 1 and 2, and I am considering that, but at the same time, that might be a lot to get through! Of course, if I stretch out Human Odyssey volumes 1-3 over 4 years, we could even work in some historical fiction and really soak it all in... hmmmm....

Option 3: Kind of a take-off on option 2. Choose a few volumes of the OUP books, and use those as a basis for unit studies... maybe (all Ancient) Greece, Rome, China, and South Asia (India). I also have a plethora of books that would go along well with these, such as Famous Men of Greece, etc. Then, the following year, we could pick up with some more of the books, such as The Ancient American World...

Option 4: To use the Core Knowledge sequence, at an increased rate (2 grades per year roughly). I like that this would cover both world and American history, but am not sure how the increased pace would work. I would want to start more or less at the beginning, rather than jumping into it "at grade level" because they would miss so much.

Option 4: Allow them to follow interests. The good side of this would be that they would have a vested interest in what they are learning. However, I worry about gaps and especially, follow-through. I had thought of using Option 1 once a week, and then allowing for other studies the rest of the week, which could be related to the weekly [K12] reading, OR something else that they are interested in.

Of course, I have plenty of other resources on hand, such as A Little History of the World, Builders of the Old World, Horrible Histories, and The Rainbow Book of American History.


  1. Below is what I blogged about Oxford and Human Odyssey a couple years ago. Notice how I keep saying it will be too much to use both together? Guess what? It was!! Thankfully I realized it early on, and what we did was keep HO as our spine and add selected chapters of the Oxford books to go in depth on topics of special interest. If you're like me, you have a hard time saying no to this great material when it's out there, but sometimes less *is* more. I think you'd be happy with a Human Odyssey and Oxford combo, but give yourself permission to skip some chunks so your kids *can* do some exploring on their own. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go try to follow my own advice in putting together *our* histoy year ; )

    Oxford World in Ancient Times series-Own 2 of the titles. Secular. LOVE these books! I will use these in some capacity but I will have to figure out how to pick and choose from all the info because it will take four books to cover the cultures we will be studying-The Ancient Near Eastern World, The Ancient Egyptian World, The Ancient Greek World and The Ancient Roman World. Whew. I would highly recommend having these books as part of a reference library. The writers (different for each book, experts on the topics) really draw kids in with witty writing full of adult information, not dumbed down, but livened up. If that makes sense. LOVE these books.

    The Human Odyssey-K12. Own it. Secular. Beautiful book. Photographs are fantastic. A textbook written in an engaging style. The layout is very nicely done as well. While packed full of good information, there is plenty of white space on the page so kids are not overwhelmed while reading. Again, though not really a narrative/story style, it is engaging. I'm leaning heavily towards a combo of this and the Oxford series, even though I know that it will be far too much to cover realistically. Hmmm. Maybe we won't do any math or anything next year so we can fit it all in. Good plan.

  2. I'm putting in a vote for option #3, with lots of printables from 2DynamicMoms to dress it up.

    Or, option #5: Intellego unit studies http://www.intellegounitstudies.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=3&zenid=44343807f23286271c8c04a51910f55f (or PDF from currclick) on each of the historial things you want to cover, with some fun books and extra crafts thrown in.

  3. I don't really know anything about the different programs you're looking at. But I've been reading your blog for a few years, and I think that whatever history program you choose will be fine. Your kids will learn history, and they will be prepared for high school work. There will be gaps, but there always are. No one knows all of world history, right? :-)

    We are doing Medieval history at a high school level this year. My kids, who went through SOTW and A Little History of the World and various other books and encyclopedias, remember a ton of history, and they are also learning new things. As far as I can tell, you've done a fabulous job exposing your kids to history. So, pick your favorite and start. Just my opinion from a long-time follower who feels I almost know you and your kids!


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