As the school year comes to a close it is time to reassess what is working and what needs to be expelled from my homeschool. I will be taking the time to list curriculum that I loved and curriculum which led to disappointment. Some of the curriculum was sent to me for review and some I purchased. Nothing I reviewed has been given favor nor was I required to review it for this site. I will start off by giving you my assessments of History programs I have become familiar with over the past few years. I apologize if anything I was disappointed in turned out to be a favorite of your own. Keep in mind that different curriculum suits different teachers, students and homeschools.
Streams of Civilization by: Mary Stanton and Albert Hyma
I am so-so on this book. The book is begins at the very beginning of creation and ends at the 1620s. Since it spans such a large time frame in only 410 pages, you may want to fill in gaps. This not a criticism as any textbook of this nature is basically an overview that needs supplementation on points of interest. The book is intended for high school but is easily read by junior high students. The projects at the beginning of each chapter are geared toward high school students, so if using this book for junior high or upper elementary you will want to adjust the activities or use other ones.
The book does a wonderful job of weaving history and bible seamlessly. I appreciated the Christian worldview in this text which showed the hand of God touching every aspect of history. However, there were times it was preachy. The author’s opinions were often weaved into the text and not always made clear it was an application made by the authors. To some, it may seem this was a book with an agenda. Because I agreed with the opinions, it was not offensive to me, but it was unnecessary. I believe God’s hand was at play but I do not appreciate the authors preaching instead of relaying history. God really did not need their blurbs.
I was given TruthQuest to review by the publisher a year ago. To be fair, I did not complete the course with my children because I disliked it. No surprise,I give this a thumbs down. I know many love TruthQuest History, so this is by no means to offend. Different things work for different families and every family has a unique style. I have to say this was not my style. I do feel the book was well laid out and covered an extensive amount of history in a logical fashion. I love the suggestions for living history books as well. However, I do not feel the book was well written. I will share with you a post that mirrors how I felt HERE. I can tell you that the author of the post is a very experienced homeschooling mom and rarely has a negative thing to say. As I said, to some word choices like “bummer, biggie” etc. by the author is poor quality while to others it’s the author’s attempt to connect to the students.
History Odyssey by: Pandia Press
Here is what the website says about History Odyssey:
History Odyssey brings to life the story of mankind through a comprehensive study of the literature, historical events, and geography of the time period. Each study guide is intended to lead the instructor and student through a year-long study of the Ancients, the Middle Ages, Early Modern, or Modern time periods. They provide the framework and structure for using and organizing many of the best resources available for history and literature. The study guides include easy-to-follow lessons that present history chronologically and include reading and writing assignments, map work, and activities. Each level of History Odyssey progresses gently, preparing the student for more complicated reading and writing.
The reason I am sharing this is because I doubt I could describe it better. What you read in the summary is exactly what you get. The book is a wonderful combination of literature, history, and geography put together in easy to follow lessons that are full of quality and low on fluff. While, History Odyssey does not share a Christian worldview, it does not contradict it either. The book is objective and fair. If you are a Christian, like me, and find it important to show how God has influenced history, you will have to use your knowledge or supplement. You will not have to compromise your belief system or redirect your students regardless of your religious perspective. I love the lessons provided as it makes it easy to teach and stay on track. I give this curriculum high marks for organization, quality, and lay out.