End of Year Curriculum Favorites and Disappointments: Part 1/History

The school year has come to a close but the learning will never cease.  Here is a brief list of the curriculum I have used that I love or was disappointed by.  If you are interested in learning more about wonderful curriculum please visit The Curriculum Choice where I and wonderful homeschooling moms write about their favorites!

My primary text this year was Streams of Civilization.  I reviewed TruthQuest and decided not to use it for my kids.  History Odyssey: Early Moderns is being used to follow Streams of Civilization.  I have not completed Early Moderns thus far but will continue where we left off in the fall.  Streams of Civilization is extensive enough to use for one full year, however, my kids studied ancient history in detail the year before, so we did not need to spend a lot of time in the beginning of Streams.  I hope that explains how I could give you three summaries of three different history texts.  :)


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.

TruthQuest History

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 Odyessey:

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.  

Join me for more posts on curriculum soon to come!

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Richele is a writer, speaker, and graphic designer. Her background in educational psychology never prepared her for balancing laundry baskets and grading math assignments. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Check out her business, Crisp Apple Design

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

We used History Odyssey's Ancients this year and loved it. It was perfectly what we wanted. I did have to add my own Biblical history, but that was fine since I had some already.
I didn't like the look of the next level, however (I think it was the book choices) so I went with something else for this coming year. I do agree with your assessment of HO.
I think it is interesting that you disliked Truthquest. Like you said many people love it, so I keep going to it, but I always stop short of buying it becausethere is just something about it that turns me off and I can't put my finger on it.
Lastly, I also agree with you about SOC. It really does sound preachy to me as well and it seems as if it the author doesn't know when he is inserting opinion and when he is writing fact. Not that I don't agree with the opinion, but I want my author to know one from the other.
Sounds like we agree all the way down the line!

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