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Monday, January 19, 2015

Taking the Mystery Out of History, and Other Subjects Too, With Our Favorite History Curriculum

Today brings another subject on the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair.  This week, we are looking at Exploring Our World:Social Studies and More Science (history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc.).  Susan at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds is the founder of the Virtual Curriculum Fair, and this week Stacy at Super Mommy to the Rescue is her co-host.

People who don't know me from my pre-mommy days usually don't know that my degree is in Social Science Education with a minor in History.  So I'm a little bit passionate about today's subject. Unfortunately, having come from a public school background myself, and having only taught in the public school system, what I didn't have any sort of good grasp on was where the Biblical timeline of all the stories I had heard growing up in church fit into the world history timeline (and I obviously wasn't the Bible scholar then that I am now thanks to nearly a decade of doing Precept Bible studies.)  So I knew what I was looking for when it came to teaching my own kids was a Christian history curriculum that blends the Christian timeline right into the timeline of the world, after all, it's all HIS story.  And it was that desire, that led us to chose Mystery of History (MOH) as our curriculum.
Cuneiform on "clay"

Mystery of History was, when my kids were young, everything I was looking for in and of itself.  Each book is organized around a 3 lesson week.  For each lesson, there are some additional activities that you can do, or not do-it's up to you.  We do some and not others.  Those activities are broken out by age (younger, middle, older students) so it's easy to figure out what might be "do-able" for your children.  All ages do the same lesson though, which is nice in a multi-child family.  Each week, days 4 and 5 can be used on the suggested map activities (called SomeWHERE in Time, and again broken out by age level), timeline figures, reading supplemental books suggested in each MOH volume to go with the lessons you did, and doing some sort of weekly wrap-up activity which is provided in the curriculum.  Or all those things can be done in the 3 days, and you can do something else entirely for 2 days.  I've just never found the split schedule to work for us.  

A few years back, a couple of things happened that tweaked our use of MOH a little bit.  First, we reviewed Illuminations, which is a comprehensive curriculum covering everything but math that uses MOH as it's "spine".  Similar to Tapestry of Grace or Heart of Dakota or Winter's Promise or Sonlight, it is a history driven curriculum from which many of the other core subjects "spur" off.  Then, not long after that, we were involved with a co-op that used Sonlight.  Having then tried both of those I decided I like the idea of  having history be our main thing.  After all, if the kids are going to be reading anyway (for English/Language Arts), why not have the book be something pertaining to what they are studying about in History?  I mean, isn't that why we are homeschooling?  Why double the work?  We've read some amazing historical fiction that makes the time period come alive far better than any history book could, even a wonderful one like MOH because in historical fiction, you get involved in one person's story for an extended period of time.  And why learn geography in a bubble when you can learn it as it pertains to the places you are studying in history?  Why write about some random subject when you can write about what you think really happened to the colonists at Roanoke?  Why do random art when you can paint in the style of Titian while studying the Renaissance?

The ultimate question with any curriculum not only does it work for YOU, but does it work for your kids.  To that, I'll say this.  I started this year with a different plan for my now teen-aged daughter.  Years ago, I bought a comprehensive 4 year curriculum for her to use for high school, and it involved using something completely different for history.  It was a book that was not nearly so narrative or engaging, but one that I thought did a nice job of presenting the material in a fresh way, so I thought it would be fine.  But she begged me, "Can I please come back to doing Mystery of History with you guys?"  So I think it's fair to say that the kids like it too.  She had the chance to be on her own,and chose to come back to working with us because she likes MOH.  And MOH of flexible enough to work for kindergarten through 12th grade with you tweaking the additional work you give them, so she's welcome to do that!  

In our house, Mystery of History is, or is the springboard for, history, geography, world religions, church history, the reading and writing components of language arts, weekly vocabulary/spelling lists taken from those readers/real alouds, most of our art, note taking, sequencing (timeline, keeping track of what happened when)...and the list goes on.  Pretty impressive for one book, eh?

To see what others in the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair had to say, check out the blogs below:

Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education

Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

History, Geography, and Worldview Lessons in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats

Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History Social Studies and Science...VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest

Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

You can add your own link or see what others might have contributed by clicking on the linky below:
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1 comment:

SarahElisabeth Jones said...

Thank you. I have volume 1 of Mystery of History but haven't used it. We have a history plan for a couple of years but MOH would fit in once we come to the end of this. I love linking everything to a common theme.