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OhElizabeth...a bit about BJU's American Republic

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#1 MorningGlory

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:46 AM

So how are you liking the BJU American Republic? Are you fleshing that out with something? Do you like the student pages? Just curious.


I really like BJU's American Republic, but we are only using the second HALF of it this year (post Civil War to Modern). It is a huge textbook, and when combined with the Student Activity Manual, would be difficult to cover in one year (ymmv). Just like the science...you can pick and choose what you want to use. Since we are only covering half of it, my son reads all of the text, answers all of the study questions, and completes most of the activity pages. I am not using the tests...this year was just an experiment of sorts to see if we like learning history from a textbook source. I have been quite pleased! The only thing I have added is "read-alouds" (not ready to give those up, yet).

The American Republic student pages (activity manual) are the "meat" of the program. They are filled with original documents, speeches, maps, and some difficult "thinking questions" (some of which we do orally...so that I can discuss things like imperialism and socialism and racism with my son). I have been very impressed with the manual, and I would not recommend just using the text. The interesting stuff is in the activity manual. For example, here is a list of the activities in the chapter my son finished yesterday (World War II):

  • a transcript of FDR's address to Congress requesting to declare war on Japan with 9 discussion questions following INCLUDING a compare/contrast question which would qualify for an essay
  • an excerpt from a book titled Lone Heart Mountain which details life in a Japanese internment camp (8 discussion questions)
  • an actual v-mail from a soldier in World War II (5 questions)
  • two mapping exercises to help the student understand the European and Pacific theaters and the strategies used in each
  • a Marine's journal entry from Guadalcanal (with 5 discussion questions)
  • a chart to complete that compares/contrasts war preparation for Italy, Germany, Japan
  • a list of World War II events that the student is to put in chronological order
  • another chart that compares/contrasts the two theaters
  • chapter review
This is just a listing of the activities in the manual...you still have the text to read and study questions in it! I'm telling you, the activity manual is so interesting that when we first got it, I read through it at bedtime! :) And I'm a math/science girl!

Anyway, I hope that gives you some idea of what it offers. I am also using BJU's 5th grade Heritage Studies program with my younger son, and I am not nearly as impressed with it. BJU really beefs up their programs for junior high! I plan to use their 10th grade text (World History) over a span of two years with my older son (8th & 9th grade). It is going to serve as a spine...I am going to add in a few "great books" to round out those two years of history for him.

Enough! I've got to get to work (you know...teaching my kiddos).
Jetta

#2 Mommyfaithe

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 08:04 AM

Not Elizabeth....but thanks fir this review. I was interested in this text as well.

Thanks
Faithe

#3 KristineinKS

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 09:27 AM

I'm not Elizabeth either, but thank you for the review! I've been dissatisfied with our American history text this year and this looks like a much better option, so I think I'll be switching over.

For anyone else who is interested, I found a preview of the Student Activity Manual at ChristianBook.com.

#4 awstgs

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for the review. I have been looking at this for next year.

#5 Homeschooling6

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:00 AM

I really like BJU's American Republic, but we are only using the second HALF of it this year (post Civil War to Modern). It is a huge textbook, and when combined with the Student Activity Manual, would be difficult to cover in one year (ymmv). Just like the science...you can pick and choose what you want to use. Since we are only covering half of it, my son reads all of the text, answers all of the study questions, and completes most of the activity pages. I am not using the tests...this year was just an experiment of sorts to see if we like learning history from a textbook source. I have been quite pleased! The only thing I have added is "read-alouds" (not ready to give those up, yet).

The American Republic student pages (activity manual) are the "meat" of the program. They are filled with original documents, speeches, maps, and some difficult "thinking questions" (some of which we do orally...so that I can discuss things like imperialism and socialism and racism with my son). I have been very impressed with the manual, and I would not recommend just using the text. The interesting stuff is in the activity manual. For example, here is a list of the activities in the chapter my son finished yesterday (World War II):

  • a transcript of FDR's address to Congress requesting to declare war on Japan with 9 discussion questions following INCLUDING a compare/contrast question which would qualify for an essay
  • an excerpt from a book titled Lone Heart Mountain which details life in a Japanese internment camp (8 discussion questions)
  • an actual v-mail from a soldier in World War II (5 questions)
  • two mapping exercises to help the student understand the European and Pacific theaters and the strategies used in each
  • a Marine's journal entry from Guadalcanal (with 5 discussion questions)
  • a chart to complete that compares/contrasts war preparation for Italy, Germany, Japan
  • a list of World War II events that the student is to put in chronological order
  • another chart that compares/contrasts the two theaters
  • chapter review
This is just a listing of the activities in the manual...you still have the text to read and study questions in it! I'm telling you, the activity manual is so interesting that when we first got it, I read through it at bedtime! :) And I'm a math/science girl!

Anyway, I hope that gives you some idea of what it offers. I am also using BJU's 5th grade Heritage Studies program with my younger son, and I am not nearly as impressed with it. BJU really beefs up their programs for junior high! I plan to use their 10th grade text (World History) over a span of two years with my older son (8th & 9th grade). It is going to serve as a spine...I am going to add in a few "great books" to round out those two years of history for him.

Enough! I've got to get to work (you know...teaching my kiddos).
Jetta


I agree, that it's huge and has so much information. Just the Activity book alone. My ds started it this year and it looks as if he will only finish the first half. Next year he'll use the DVDs for the same text, which uses the older version, so I wonder how different they will be.

#6 Keniki

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:07 AM

I'm so glad to see this discussion. I was just wondering this morning if I could do the first half of American Republic in 7th grade along with IEW's U.S. History Based Writing Volume 1 and the second half in 8th grade with IEW's Volume 2. Looks like this might be a good fit!

#7 Melissa H. in GA

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:22 AM

Hi Jetta,

Thank you for such a detailed review. You stated that you were not as impressed with the 5th grade Heritage Studies. Are you using the new, updated version? I'm thinking about that for next year.

Thanks,

Melissa

#8 OhElizabeth

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:15 PM

Oh my lands Jetta, you're blowing my mind!!! See I've tortured myself for the last month or so pondering through whether I want to do TOG next or use the BJU texts. I have an old (ancient, 1st edition, hehe) copy of many of them (A. Repub, World, etc.), and the text is still similar enough to give me a feel for them. What I *haven't* seen is those student activity books. Wow oh wow! And yes, it totally occurs to me that I could work my PITTOOTEE off with TOG, basically reinventing something that was already there in the BJU stuff. It has mapping, original sources, thinking questions, christian perspective. Why should I try harder?

Oh, and I hate history. I'm not saying that lightly. Somehow the person who hates history (and who would willingly relegate it to a text) landed the dc who loves history and begs for courses and laments that she doesn't know all the dates she wants to know. Crazy. I've always tried to respect that and feed her and provide for her adequately, but at some point I only am what I am, kwim? TOG is the closest thing I could find to suffice for her. We used VP kind of openly, mainly throwing things at her and letting her enjoy, because the BJU elementary was so, well let's just say not what we wanted. But now this junior high and high school thing has me flustered.

It's a really awkward thing because you want to do a good job, and you want to do better than what school would have been. Thing is, I'm not convinced that if I sit there plugging through TOG myself that I'm going to do a better job than a simple BJU textbook. Sometimes what we wanted was already there, and we're just trying too hard, kwim? I've tried to ponder what TOG will give me. It has integrated writing assignments and integrated GB readings. Does the BJU at this level? Maybe they're in the tm? I know it won't have GB, lol. If you use the World over 2 years, yes you could integrate other books. Bummer is, you really need longer than that. So what are you thinking: American Repub for 7th, World for 8th and 9th, US for 10th and 11th, Econ/Gov for 12th? One of the advantages of TOG would be that it is already spread out coherently and tells you when to do the GB. People say TOG chunks up the GB too much. Seems to me just doing a BJU textbook straight would make it relatively easy to have a sane pace: do the BJU history Tues/Thurs, do GB daily, do lit/good books 3 days a week.

How many days a week are you spending on it right now? Or put another way, what kind of pace do you find yourself keeping compared to the pace the lessons are set up at? That was a huge list of stuff you did. Do you stack the worksheets to one day a week and do textbook the other days? Are you using the dvd lessons? Have to say, the lesson samples online seemed singularly boring. Do they turn out better when you watch the whole?

Well you're definitely opening up an option for me that I at least need to consider. It's the one thing that will hold me back from TOG. Dd likes the college Western Civ book I've got, and I liked the idea of being able to integrate Teaching Company and other courses. But to have that structure (vocab, philosophy, etc.) in one place without the hassle, AND have it be thorough, that is a good thing.

#9 awstgs

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:28 PM

I was trying to decide on BJU press or a Pearson text. Now, I'm really torn. Since you aren't doing the entire curriculum in one year, do you even think it's possible? I wanted to throw in some good books too! We've done SL for many years, but we added in a older high school textbook this year. My son really enjoyed it, so I am leaning toward a more traditional textbook approach for next year. However, I just can't decide!

#10 Momto2Ns

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

I'm :bigear: here.

I'm going to be doing American History when my kids are in 10th & 8th, but I plan to do it over two years. I have debated AP/College texts, but I'm afraid I'll leave my youngest behind. Then I look at BJU's 11th grade American History and have considered it. I've considered doing the 11th grade for my older and American Republic for my younger...

Ok as you can see, I just need to spend some time listening and learning.

#11 Heather in WI

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:50 PM

Wow, what a thorough review! You've really piqued my interest in BJU history!

#12 HappyGrace

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:20 PM

Thanks for the great review! I had always planned on TOG from here on out with my dc, but it wasn't a good fit this year-I never got the fog, but I just don't want to have to do all that planning anymore. So I am back to the planning board and this looks like a great option, thanks!

Edited by HappyGrace, 15 February 2011 - 07:23 PM.


#13 OhElizabeth

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:48 PM

Planning is definitely one component to ponder with TOG vs. BJU. The other thing is discussions. Guess you could say I want her to go to the maximum amount of thought with the minimum amount of effort on my part. If *I* have to interact with her and sit there talking about these -isms for the depth to happen, I don't know how likely that is. I'm happy to discuss science, math, or grammar, things I know something about. History, well I'm not sure that's realistic. I could sound like a fool faster than fast there. :)

#14 HappyGrace

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 08:12 PM

OhE-just knowing you for all these years, I'm not sure TOG will work for you. Sure, you could have her do it independently, but it requires *you* at those grade levels to be having those discussions for best results-in depth, might I add.

I also found it to be somewhat "piecemeal"-we felt we were jumping book to book w/out any real integration. But then again, we really like a spine and that was a huge part of our problem with it.

Also I realized I didn't want history taking such a HUGE chunk of our time and energy. I want them to learn it from a Christian standpoint in a way that's more simple for me, and then they can do their own rabbit trails from there.

The year we used the Abeka for our spine and added in extras as we desired (or not) was a great year. I think the BJU would do that for us, and the Student Activity book looks like it would add those extras already planned out-even the primary sources, etc., ala the VP TM.

The BJU looks great-very pick it up and go-I like how the discussions that are put on *you* in TOG seem to be almost written to the student in BJU, and there seems to be more hand-holding for a parent who doesn't love history, or in my case, didn't learn the Scriptural applications to history, etc. Dd has already gone beyond me in that area. :)

#15 OhElizabeth

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:12 PM

Happy, that's really interesting that you say all that. I have to admit it's VERY disconcerting to hear from people who have used TOG (people who are similar to me in various ways) and who have jumped ship. It's not like I need to repeat the same thing, kwim? So I definitely appreciate you explaining all that. I wish TOG was coming to the Cincy convention. It really frustrates me, because they're going to the Akron one, which will be MUCH smaller. Just blows my mind.

Anyway, yes, that is what is occurring to me, that everything TOG tries to get the parent to accomplish via discussion and those questions people are copying from the DE and turning into workbooks the BJU materials would do for me. In fact, tonight I was making this sort of mental list to myself of each aspect of history/lit/writing and what TOG would contribute, what BJU could contribute, etc. And frankly, the ease of just buying the BJU student text with the pre-done activity pages just makes a lot of sense to me. It really does. We struggled with the Abeka book, but I think that was because I waited too long. I should have given it to her when she first found it. She ASKED to read it, and I said to wait till fall. Dumbest thing I've ever done, lol. 9 months later it was a poor fit. ;)

Oh, I showed her the BJU 8 tonight, and she LIKED it!!!!! And what's not to like??? The text is written incredibly well. That's just all there is to it. So I think in some fashion we have a winner. Now speak peace and common sense to me, my sister: if I want to use the BJU 8 as a spine, say focusing on the 2nd half, and I want to bring in the LITERATURE and book goodies of TOG, what is the easiest, most sensible way to get there? I can't do *just* the BJU 8. Dd is way too big of a history buff for that. So do I buy TOG and correlate the BJU to it? Do I buy TOG and correlate its lists to BJU8? Do I NOT buy TOG but rather just use the lampstand lists and correlate them to the BJU8? That last option seems pretty sensible to me. If I DON'T buy TOG, I don't have any of their questions, either for the history (basic and thinking) or the lit.

Any wisdom on this? And if Jetta or anyone else has any thoughts on how best to flesh it out, by all means pipe up!

#16 OhElizabeth

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:18 PM

Oh and Happy, pigs will fly before I read those TOG notes (encyclopedia stuff, bleh) and try to discuss socialism or something. I don't know enough to do that and I DON'T have enough interest or time or anything else to read all those notes. It's just not happening. You're totally on-track in your assessment there.

We've talked about Omnibus right? I own O1 and O2, because I had been planning on doing them this fall. Dd asked for more modern american history, and I finally signed her up to finish the VP MARR self-paced class she had been begging for. So we have all this eclectic stuff we're doing now and through next year (more geography, more american). Then when we start back into ancients (presumably for 8th?), I needed a plan. She likes the Kagan (college Western Civ) text I showed her, and I like some of what Omnibus does. However Omnibus doesn't have enough history to suit her and isn't straight what I want either. In other words, I'm walking myself into this perpetual mess of wanting a spine I can plug literature and GB into. I had hoped TOG would do that for me for a 4 year cycle at the rhetoric level, which is why I wanted to do it this coming year at the D level, to make sure we were on-track and happy with that as the plan. So I want to be careful with what I do here, because there actually was a logic to the idea of using TOG this coming year.

#17 G5052

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:27 AM

My youngest has been using the 7th grade World History book this year, and it has worked very well for us. My only complaint is that it is very classroom-oriented, but it doesn't take long at all for me to work out each week what is done each day and weave in the student activity guide pages that are appropriate. I order library books appropriate for the period for free-reading, and meet with her at the end of each chapter to discuss the section questions and student activity guide pages.

I found a perfect set of the previous edition of the 8th grade program (2000) at a homeschool consignment store for $35, and that will be next year's program. The format is changed and of course they've updated it, but the content isn't that different and it will do just fine.

I guess that I've evolved in my approach to homeschooling. Textbooks work for this child. She is very engaged and talks a lot about her history studies. It gets done while I'm very occupied with family needs and work outside of homeschooling (unfortunately necessary). My older kid is in an academic co-op, but does a great deal of free reading on historical topics that interest him.

I guess that I've learned that they can deal with history mostly without me and do very well. :)

#18 MorningGlory

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:44 AM

Hi Jetta,

Thank you for such a detailed review. You stated that you were not as impressed with the 5th grade Heritage Studies. Are you using the new, updated version? I'm thinking about that for next year.

Thanks,

Melissa


Melissa, the funny thing is that my younger son loves the 5th grade Heritage Studies. We use just the student text and activity manual. It is a solid program.

My issues with it are really minor. For one, it is not pure history. It includes several geography chapters (one on maps, one on countries of the world, and one on U.S. states) and a couple of economics chapters (one on transportation and one on the economy/stock market). Honestly, my son needed to learn the things in those chapters so I shouldn't complain! But understand that at this level, BJU is not pure history.

The text also has a "jumpy" textbook feel to it. This is so hard to explain in words. Since it isn't pure chronological history, the chapters don't flow nicely into one another. It is this same reason that I don't particularly like BJU's elementary science...it jumps from one topic to another. But again, they are SOLID, interesting texts.

And finally, the student manual is more of a "study guide" at this level. Most of the activities are just reviews of what the student read in the text. There have been a few interesting "projects" like making a mobile about a country and tracking some stock prices over the course of several days. But notice that these projects aren't "history"...:).

Anyway, the course fit the bill for us this year...ending the history rotation with a 1 year old in the house! LOL! But I would have preferred to stick to more of a narrative history (with living books) for my younger son...and I hope to go back to that next year when we start the rotation over. Again...this is just personal preference.

HTH!
Jetta

#19 mom31257

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:55 AM

DD is doing SL Core 100 this year, but after 3 volumes of Hakim, she was loathing history. I had the previous edition of BJU's text here, so I had her do one chapter (read sections, answer questions, a few of the student activities, and chapter review). I could not believe how her discussion of history changed for the better. She is continuing with the Bible selections and literature selections in Core 100.

She felt that the Hakim series was too much commentary and not enough of the "facts". While the textbook is more boring in it's presentation, she said it is much more interesting at the same time. I really like the student activities and feel the student activity book is a very important aspect of the program.

#20 MorningGlory

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:23 AM

it totally occurs to me that I could work my PITTOOTEE off with TOG, basically reinventing something that was already there in the BJU stuff. It has mapping, original sources, thinking questions, christian perspective. Why should I try harder?


I completely understand your pain. I have looked at TOG umpteen times. I am not exaggerating here. And I just love it. But I know myself (and my family situation) well enough to understand that it is just too much for us. I might decide to START with TOG when my itty-bitty gets old enough. Won't that be fun?

I've tried to ponder what TOG will give me. It has integrated writing assignments and integrated GB readings. Does the BJU at this level? Maybe they're in the tm? I know it won't have GB, lol. If you use the World over 2 years, yes you could integrate other books. Bummer is, you really need longer than that. So what are you thinking: American Repub for 7th, World for 8th and 9th, US for 10th and 11th, Econ/Gov for 12th?

Okay, I haven't looked that closely at the World History course. I plan to in a couple of weeks at the big Midsouth Convention in Memphis. But from what I've seen online, I *think* that I will be able to use it as a spine for Ancient Civ in 8th grade and then Medieval History in 9th. I seriously doubt that BJU provides GB listings to go with it...I am planning my son's GB list from other sources (WTM and online lists). I DO think that the activity manual will provide questions for integrated writing...I will let you know after I see it at convention.

I plan to start with what I am calling "Great Books Lite" next year...LOL! I am only going to have him read about two GBs per quarter...plus the appropriate BJU text pages and activities AND some other history readings from more narrative sources. We will also continue our read-alouds. :)I've started working on this plan...but it is far from finished.

And yes, I plan to use BJU's American History course as a spine COMBINED with the remainder of the World History text for Years 3 & 4. I hope to fit Econ and Gov in along the way because I would really like my son's senior year to be open for more personal pursuits...like unusual maths and sciences and a senior project. This may be a dream...but we are working and planning toward it.

Seems to me just doing a BJU textbook straight would make it relatively easy to have a sane pace: do the BJU history Tues/Thurs, do GB daily, do lit/good books 3 days a week.

I don't know how I will break this up. I would like to get to the point where I can make weekly assignments for history and GB and let my son work out the details. Maybe meet together at the end of the week to discuss? We are trying that this year with less important subjects and he is doing well with the task.

How many days a week are you spending on it right now? Or put another way, what kind of pace do you find yourself keeping compared to the pace the lessons are set up at? That was a huge list of stuff you did. Do you stack the worksheets to one day a week and do textbook the other days? Are you using the dvd lessons? Have to say, the lesson samples online seemed singularly boring. Do they turn out better when you watch the whole?

I do not use the DVD or online lessons. Last summer, I sat down with the text and the activity manual and made a plan for the year. My son reads about a section a day (the text is designed similarly to the science texts) and answers the study questions for that section. On days that he works in the activity manual, he doesn't have any reading. I fit the activity manual pages in among the readings...where they most likely belong. So he either does history reading/questions OR an activity from the activity manual each day. These latter activities are usually quite MEATY and take him a while to complete. All in all, my plan added up to about 170 days worth of work...and this is just HALF the program! If someone wanted to do the whole thing in one year, then you would have to read more each day and do fewer activity pages (pick and choose). It could be done, but IMHO, you would miss a lot of the fun and good discussions.

I'll check back in the morning to see if anyone has anymore specific questions. I've run out of time for today! :)
Jetta

#21 Love2Smile

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:14 AM

We will be using BJU 8th grade history this coming year! So glad I read this thread! I love the looks of the 3rd edition. Is that what you all are using?


I have another question...My older dd is entering 11th grade. Instead of getting the BJU 11th grade American History, do you feel the 8th is plenty for 11th grade?

She is not going to a 4 year college, not taking any SAT's, etc..but she is dual enrolled in CC and plans to go into video art/design thru the Community College.

I'd love to know what you think about this!

#22 cajun.classical

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:14 AM

Elizabeth,

You might find this interesting. I know someone who uses the BJU American Republic text with student activity pages as the spine for Omnibus III. She teaches this at a Study Center. She used it for kids 9th-11th, reasoning that the Great Books are so difficult, it made since to use a slightly easier spine. She also teaches in the VP online academy and told me that VP is using the BJU text for the spine for Omni III in the online classes as well.

What she did was pick which Omni books she wanted to cover, line them up chronologically, and then space out the BJU readings in between. So, sometimes it was read a little BJU and do mapping, etc and then read Omni books in depth like Plymouth Plantation, and other times it was several BJU chapters in a row, like Westward Expansion, before heading back into Omni.

She said it worked really well and I am considering doing something very similar next year with my Discussion Group as well. I had already decided to break Omni III into 2 years, focusing on American one year and modern world history the next--to coordinate with the George Grant lectures.

And speaking of, if you've got a history lover and you don't want to do all the work, you should really consider the Kings Meadow curriculum. Those lectures pull in all the threads and give that strong Christian worldview. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Just more for you to chew on.

#23 G5052

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:18 AM

We will be using BJU 8th grade history this coming year! So glad I read this thread! I love the looks of the 3rd edition. Is that what you all are using?


I have another question...My older dd is entering 11th grade. Instead of getting the BJU 11th grade American History, do you feel the 8th is plenty for 11th grade?

She is not going to a 4 year college, not taking any SAT's, etc..but she is dual enrolled in CC and plans to go into video art/design thru the Community College.

I'd love to know what you think about this!


I'm using the 2nd edition, but only because I decided that it wasn't worth another $100+ to go to the next edition and because I was able to buy a complete unused set. I think that the online/DVD classes are still using the 2nd edition.

Personally, I think it would be fine for high school, but I would use the tests in that case.

#24 Love2Smile

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:20 AM

I'm using the 2nd edition, but only because I decided that it wasn't worth another $100+ to go to the next edition and because I was able to buy a complete unused set. I think that the online/DVD classes are still using the 2nd edition.

Personally, I think it would be fine for high school, but I would use the tests in that case.

Thanks! This is make is so much easier to teach them together this Fall, and less money! Now I have to decide if I should get them their own textbooks or share, but you know how that goes...

#25 Rhonda in TX

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:31 AM

I want y'all to know that you're seriously messing me up here. I've gone back and forth between BJU and TOG for a couple of years now. I've done TOG. Well, I bought TOG, but we really just used it as a glorified booklist. We never did those great discussions because I never followed through.

For some reason, though, I've convinced myself that next year will be different. I don't know why I think that, but I had myself convinced. Then I read all these wonderful things about BJU and I second-guess myself all over again. (I've never actually used BJU history, but have looked at it over and over. We love BJU science.)

I'll have an 8th and 9th grader next year. I feel like I need to pick something and stick to it at this point. I just don't want to get halfway into TOG next year and realize that nothing has changed and that I've royally messed up DS's high school plans, and short-changed him as well.

#26 HappyGrace

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:53 AM

Well, I bought TOG, but we really just used it as a glorified booklist. We never did those great discussions because I never followed through.


This is what happened to us this yr, and OhE, I'm afraid this is what may happen to you.

An advantage of TOG is that it includes the lit. But people I know that have done the higher levels of TOG say that the lit killed them-TOO much-you'd have to pick and choose.

And again, with TOG, the discussions ARE the meat of the curriculum.

I only have a second so this is quick, but I'm thinking along the lines of what CajClass said-BJU and add in Omni but at a slowed down pace. Our co-op 7-9 graders did Omni at full pace, and I don't think the students got as much out of it as they could have. Whatever lit curric you choose, I am ALL for going deep (and slower) rather than wide with GBs. Two or three books per year to really sink your teeth into.

CajClass-your post was really encouraging. After I found out that TOG won't work for us, this is EXACTLY what I am envisioning, so it's good to know that a reputable source is doing this and it's working well, thanks!

Our co-op uses Grant (King's Meadow) for upper level-these students went off to college VERY well-prepared and the worldview is excellent!!! It is the best out there as far as worldview. (OhE, you could totally just have E watch these on her own.)

OhE-what about looking into that VP online that CajClass suggested-that would do about what you want *for* you!!!

ETA: Oh, am I seeing on the site that K's Meadow is audio only now? We have the Gileskirk (which is Grant) and that is DVD. (I think I remember something awhile back about a new company buying it and there was a dispute over the rights to the dvds or something?)

Edited by HappyGrace, 16 February 2011 - 10:57 AM.


#27 cajun.classical

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:26 AM

ETA: Oh, am I seeing on the site that K's Meadow is audio only now? We have the Gileskirk (which is Grant) and that is DVD. (I think I remember something awhile back about a new company buying it and there was a dispute over the rights to the dvds or something?)


Happy, Everything is being completely redone with the curriculum (I am one of the editors on the project). It's way more user friendly now as well. The first two that have been redone are only audio; however, dvds are part of the plan as well. I'm not certain when they will be available.

#28 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:05 PM

Elizabeth,

You might find this interesting. I know someone who uses the BJU American Republic text with student activity pages as the spine for Omnibus III. She teaches this at a Study Center. She used it for kids 9th-11th, reasoning that the Great Books are so difficult, it made since to use a slightly easier spine. She also teaches in the VP online academy and told me that VP is using the BJU text for the spine for Omni III in the online classes as well.

What she did was pick which Omni books she wanted to cover, line them up chronologically, and then space out the BJU readings in between. So, sometimes it was read a little BJU and do mapping, etc and then read Omni books in depth like Plymouth Plantation, and other times it was several BJU chapters in a row, like Westward Expansion, before heading back into Omni.

She said it worked really well and I am considering doing something very similar next year with my Discussion Group as well. I had already decided to break Omni III into 2 years, focusing on American one year and modern world history the next--to coordinate with the George Grant lectures.

And speaking of, if you've got a history lover and you don't want to do all the work, you should really consider the Kings Meadow curriculum. Those lectures pull in all the threads and give that strong Christian worldview. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Just more for you to chew on.


Cajun, this is all really interesting! I called VP to check, and the edition they are using the O3 online class is the 11th gr BJU United States History text. Item 090111. The 8th gr BJU American Republic is actually a very readable, very nice text. The 11th gr text has a LOT more content. It actually sort of blows my mind that they are selling it as a resource to go with the elementary cards. But anyways, do you know for certain whether your friend is using the American Republic text or the US History? That's all very interesting and sort of opens up a different way of approaching things. That's interesting to hear how she is balancing them. So basically she does the BJU a while, then she does the Omnibus a while. That makes a lot of sense! It's just too messy when you try to COMBINE things. I'll go look at the King's Meadow stuff. I had come across a mention of G. Grant ages ago but didn't really know much about him.

Jetta-I don't think you'll have as hard a time integrating the GB as you think. I have an old edition of the world history text, and I can tell you it mentions by name almost every author or work you'd want to do as a GB. It's all there, easy to line up.

#29 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:16 PM

Angelina, can you tell me in plain english what the G. Grant stuff would do for us and why we want it? I didn't realize you are helping with the project! How fascinating!

Happy, no I thought long and hard about signing dd up for the online Omnibus course and decided not to. There were a lot of things going into it, and I'm not even sure I need to elaborate. I may have even decided incorrectly for all I know. I just had to make a decision, and I decided not to. I hate that you know, because I'm this theoretical, pie-in-the-sky person, always trying to get things right. Oh well. So no, it's not a good thing for us to have her progress be tied to me or something I do. I like the idea of having a planned progression with room and intention to plug in good resources that take things deeper. I don't care if that spine is a book or a TOG plan or what, but I do need those things to bring the depth. I was thinking the TOG rhetoric books and Omnibus and TOC for that. Sounds like the G. Grant stuff would work as well.

Angelina-I'd definitely be interested if you can clarify whether your friend is using the BJU American Republic or BJU US History with her O3 students. Thanks for explaining all that. It's definitely an option! I have O1 and O2. Dd specifically asked to do more modern american. I don't know if we'd do some O3 with the BJU American Republic, or wait and do a combo of O3/O6 highlights later, when we hit it again in 4 years. Don't know. Just the idea that we could alternate, doing BJU then our resources then back to BJU, hadn't occurred to me. It's sort of the best of both worlds that way.

#30 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:18 PM

Rhonda-Thanks for the jolt. You're right, that really could happen. That's why I'm taking my time and just trying to think about what each option would bring to the table and what is most important for us. Like you say, sometimes there are hidden expectations I think I don't get.

#31 coffeefreak

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:25 PM

Angelina-I'd definitely be interested if you can clarify whether your friend is using the BJU American Republic or BJU US History with her O3 students. Thanks for explaining all that. It's definitely an option! I have O1 and O2. Dd specifically asked to do more modern american. I don't know if we'd do some O3 with the BJU American Republic, or wait and do a combo of O3/O6 highlights later, when we hit it again in 4 years. Don't know. Just the idea that we could alternate, doing BJU then our resources then back to BJU, hadn't occurred to me. It's sort of the best of both worlds that way.


OhElizabeth,
This might be a little off topic, but have you been doing Omnibus 1 and 2 with your dd, or were you planning on doing them in a later year? I'm seriously considering Omnibus for High School, but I don't know if I'd start with year 1 or year 3 in 9th grade. I know it says year 1 is for 7th grade, but I was thinking it might work nicely in 9th grade too.

Thanks for letting me lurk:bigear:! I'm information gathering for High School, and after what you said about BJU on my other thread, I'm prayerfully looking at what our goals should be. I don't want to be caught off guard in 9th grade!

Blessings!
Dorinda

#32 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:46 PM

Dorinda, when dd was in 1st I launched into the VP history sequence, planning to do their 5 year cycle and have 6th grade for geography. Well mercifully we've had that flex, because this year has been a nutty year with vision therapy and all sorts of distractions. In the last year or two I had started buying O1, O2, and related items, wanting to get a leg up on the reading and study. That gave me some time to let the materials mull while I watched my dd grow. I have no beef with Omnibus particularly, but as I've come up to this year, when we had PLANNED on starting, I just haven't been sure it's what I wanted to do. I'll put it another way. There are some other things my dd wants to do first (finish the online VP MARR self-paced course, do more modern american, etc.), so that I'm content to proceed that way and let a return to ancients happen when it happens. She's much too into history (and I'm too much of a rabid nut) to relegate history time to reading Spielvogel, which is what Omnibus says, when you go to the letter of it. Well they have more readings, but you get the point; there's WAY more discussion of history that ought to be going on. I'm NOT qualified to do that, and reading an encyclopedia article from TOG/World Book won't change that. It's a problem for me. I'm fine teaching math, science, grammar, latin, anything else, just not history.

So where Angelina just logically throws in some G. Grant lectures and other readings, it doesn't occur to me. I see this hole in the history side for Omnibus (apologies to anyone who feels otherwise), and I see a hole in the GB/good lit possibilities if I go with a text. If I get TOG I get a dab of everything but have to pull it together myself with discussion. So I'm just trying to reconcile all that and be sensible. I have a TODDLER for pity's sake. He wrecks the house and needs speech work every day. I don't need to be wracking my brains to discuss the depths of socialism or any other isms. I need her to get that from reading and ancillary resources, have her challenged to synthesize by writing, and then let it overflow on occasions to discussions with her father, which I have no doubt it will.

Sorry, I don't think you were even asking all that, lol. I'm tired; we had a Valentine's party today. :) Um, the answer to your question is dart board. Or now I remember why I started into all that! I went through elementary with a Six Year Plan. (Think Lenin or Stalin, one of those dudes had one. Now you know why I don't do history, lol.) I may have changed how I implemented things at stages, but we were working The Plan. So to me, I'm approaching 7th-12th with the same goal. Debra Bell suggests it in her book, and I think it's wise. So I'm trying to draw up a reasonable Six Year Plan, so we at least know what we're doing and why and where we're heading.

Now we had an interesting discussion on the hs board about TOG vs. doing things ourselves a la WTM, and Debra Bell herself popped up to answer questions about things her book said. You might find the thread interesting to read. She suggested giving the dc choice in making these plans. I thought this was reasonable, so I have talked with my dd, asking her input about goals she has. Some of them surprised me, some seemed very reasonable. She would like a 4 year history cycle with time at the beginning and end to do modern (7th) and electives (12th). In things where it's basically a choice that has to be made, I think it's reasonable to give her input. I really didn't feel like the Omnibus 3+3 sequence was such a compellingly good fit for her as to veto her sense of self and what she'd like to do. Someone else might feel differently. So now I'm working with a stated goal of 1+4+1, if that makes sense. One year (more or less) for modern, then a 4 year sequence, and finally a year of electives. If we finish modern by Christmas and start in Ancients next January, I don't care. It's just that we now have a general sense of where we're going and why; that decision has been made.

I like owning the Omnibus books and the idea that I can bring them in or use what suits us. I don't know where things look like a poor fit because she's just not there yet either, kwim? I read those essays and go bleh. But I'm pretty in-tune with her. A year from now, who knows, might be fine. Or it might be they never will fit. I'm just taking those steps, one thing at a time. I will say that in our house we have a stated goal of showing the Providence of God in history, something that is not an express goal of Omnibus. In fact, somewhere I read a comment by Bruce Etter about what he hopes kids will take away, and it was a "sense of gratitude." Well sorry, but that's not what I'm looking for. Fine man, but it just isn't what we want. I like the books TOG choses and the reasoning BEHIND the books. But there are some methodology problems there (segmentation, reliance on discussion, etc.). BJU fits me to a T, and I'll say that upfront. I just don't want to kill dd in the process. I have a history lover, so she needs to be handled that way, kwim? To hear Angelina say other history lovers are using the BJU texts but in a more measured, alive way, this is very interesting. Looking over the texts last night, I was thinking how much more alive they would become with the use of lots of books, videos, etc. Lots of room to make them pop! And LOTS of good material. I can't fathom why I should beat myself over the head to make that happen, when it's all right there.

Well there, I'm talking your leg off. If you don't have a 6 year plan for 7th -12th, then it might be something to ponder. Is your dd 5th or 6th this year? Mine is 6th, turning 12 in a couple months. I wouldn't sweat that 6 year plan if you have another year, kwim? The future has enough problems for itself, lol. I just found it was time for us to have that talk and make those decisions, because we're planning 7th.

#33 cajun.classical

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 06:17 PM

Elizabeth, she is definitely using the 8th grade American Republic text and told me that they discussed using this text for Omni III at a recent faculty meeting for VP online. But, maybe she misunderstood what BJU text they were talking about in the meeting. Nevertheless, this is what she told and she is definitely using the 8th grade book with her Omni III class.

Oh my, how to answer the question, what would George Grant do for you? Where do I start? I rave it about to everyone I know and then they finally listen and then they can't stop talking about how he blew their minds!

George's greatest strength is his ability to connect all the seemingly disconnected dots in history, literature, philosophy, art, architecture, music, theology into one overarching theme. He gives you the big picture--all the isms you were mentioning earlier--and he breaks down incredibly complex ideas into very easy to understand parts and then shows how those ideas influenced and shaped everything around us.

It's what I think TOG tries to do, but to really nail this you have to have read a great deal. And honestly, George is not only brilliant, but he is probably the most widely read person in the world (no exaggeration! I am so dumbfounded at times by how much he knows.). He is an expert! In other words, I have a master's. I've taught high school history and AP English and college literature, but I can't do what George can do.

I'll give you an example. There's a history topic that I had some strong opinions on and considered myself well informed on the topic. Then when I listened to George, I realized I hadn't gone back far enough in my reading and so I had drawn the entirely wrong conclusion. I needed a good 500 years more of context to understand it properly. This is what he does for every single topic.

And if I can say this without offending anyone, this is one of my genuine concerns with trying to teach the Great Books. You have got to have the proper context (which sometimes can be more than a thousand years of context) to really understand what you are reading. My favorite quote is from Alexander Pope, "A little learning is a dangerous thing..." I firmly believe a person has to have the proper framework to understand the Great Books--and that framework is larger than just the immediate historical context. Otherwise, you end up with a "little learning".


So, what you get with George is the Big Picture and an understanding of the ideas that have shaped the world. And of course, you get a Christian/biblical perspective as well. I don't really know how to describe it. He doesn't try to force events into some "Christian" interpretation. It's much more nuanced and sophisticated than that. But, for American history, for example, you'd certainly learn about the Christian foundation of our country.


That said, there is no rush to get into this in junior high. This is challenging material that can be left for high school.

Edited by cajun.classical, 16 February 2011 - 06:24 PM.


#34 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:06 PM

Ok Angelina, you've sold me on George Grant, lol! Indeed, now you know why I've given up on the thought of discussing history informatively with her. I know what I don't know (97%). I don't know enough even to come close to having an informed opinion, and I have little interest in generating (either in her or me) an uninformed one.

I was realizing I didn't ask you: what innovative or unexpected spines are they using with Omnibus 1/4 and 2/5 these days? Here we are talking about 3. What about the earlier levels?

Thanks for clarifying about the BJU history levels. Very interesting! Definitely gives me a lot to think about.

#35 coffeefreak

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:36 PM

Dorinda, when dd was in 1st I launched into the VP history sequence, planning to do their 5 year cycle and have 6th grade for geography. Well mercifully we've had that flex, because this year has been a nutty year with vision therapy and all sorts of distractions. In the last year or two I had started buying O1, O2, and related items, wanting to get a leg up on the reading and study. That gave me some time to let the materials mull while I watched my dd grow. I have no beef with Omnibus particularly, but as I've come up to this year, when we had PLANNED on starting, I just haven't been sure it's what I wanted to do. I'll put it another way. There are some other things my dd wants to do first (finish the online VP MARR self-paced course, do more modern american, etc.), so that I'm content to proceed that way and let a return to ancients happen when it happens. She's much too into history (and I'm too much of a rabid nut) to relegate history time to reading Spielvogel, which is what Omnibus says, when you go to the letter of it. Well they have more readings, but you get the point; there's WAY more discussion of history that ought to be going on. I'm NOT qualified to do that, and reading an encyclopedia article from TOG/World Book won't change that. It's a problem for me. I'm fine teaching math, science, grammar, latin, anything else, just not history.

So where Angelina just logically throws in some G. Grant lectures and other readings, it doesn't occur to me. I see this hole in the history side for Omnibus (apologies to anyone who feels otherwise), and I see a hole in the GB/good lit possibilities if I go with a text. If I get TOG I get a dab of everything but have to pull it together myself with discussion. So I'm just trying to reconcile all that and be sensible. I have a TODDLER for pity's sake. He wrecks the house and needs speech work every day. I don't need to be wracking my brains to discuss the depths of socialism or any other isms. I need her to get that from reading and ancillary resources, have her challenged to synthesize by writing, and then let it overflow on occasions to discussions with her father, which I have no doubt it will.

Sorry, I don't think you were even asking all that, lol. I'm tired; we had a Valentine's party today. :) Um, the answer to your question is dart board. Or now I remember why I started into all that! I went through elementary with a Six Year Plan. (Think Lenin or Stalin, one of those dudes had one. Now you know why I don't do history, lol.) I may have changed how I implemented things at stages, but we were working The Plan. So to me, I'm approaching 7th-12th with the same goal. Debra Bell suggests it in her book, and I think it's wise. So I'm trying to draw up a reasonable Six Year Plan, so we at least know what we're doing and why and where we're heading.

Now we had an interesting discussion on the hs board about TOG vs. doing things ourselves a la WTM, and Debra Bell herself popped up to answer questions about things her book said. You might find the thread interesting to read. She suggested giving the dc choice in making these plans. I thought this was reasonable, so I have talked with my dd, asking her input about goals she has. Some of them surprised me, some seemed very reasonable. She would like a 4 year history cycle with time at the beginning and end to do modern (7th) and electives (12th). In things where it's basically a choice that has to be made, I think it's reasonable to give her input. I really didn't feel like the Omnibus 3+3 sequence was such a compellingly good fit for her as to veto her sense of self and what she'd like to do. Someone else might feel differently. So now I'm working with a stated goal of 1+4+1, if that makes sense. One year (more or less) for modern, then a 4 year sequence, and finally a year of electives. If we finish modern by Christmas and start in Ancients next January, I don't care. It's just that we now have a general sense of where we're going and why; that decision has been made.

I like owning the Omnibus books and the idea that I can bring them in or use what suits us. I don't know where things look like a poor fit because she's just not there yet either, kwim? I read those essays and go bleh. But I'm pretty in-tune with her. A year from now, who knows, might be fine. Or it might be they never will fit. I'm just taking those steps, one thing at a time. I will say that in our house we have a stated goal of showing the Providence of God in history, something that is not an express goal of Omnibus. In fact, somewhere I read a comment by Bruce Etter about what he hopes kids will take away, and it was a "sense of gratitude." Well sorry, but that's not what I'm looking for. Fine man, but it just isn't what we want. I like the books TOG choses and the reasoning BEHIND the books. But there are some methodology problems there (segmentation, reliance on discussion, etc.). BJU fits me to a T, and I'll say that upfront. I just don't want to kill dd in the process. I have a history lover, so she needs to be handled that way, kwim? To hear Angelina say other history lovers are using the BJU texts but in a more measured, alive way, this is very interesting. Looking over the texts last night, I was thinking how much more alive they would become with the use of lots of books, videos, etc. Lots of room to make them pop! And LOTS of good material. I can't fathom why I should beat myself over the head to make that happen, when it's all right there.

Well there, I'm talking your leg off. If you don't have a 6 year plan for 7th -12th, then it might be something to ponder. Is your dd 5th or 6th this year? Mine is 6th, turning 12 in a couple months. I wouldn't sweat that 6 year plan if you have another year, kwim? The future has enough problems for itself, lol. I just found it was time for us to have that talk and make those decisions, because we're planning 7th.


Elizabeth,
This was EXTREMELY helpful! Thank you so much! My oldest is in 5th, so I'm about to enter Jr High. We're not "worried" about High School per say, but we're starting to pray, read and investigate. The last 6 years went by incredibly fast, it makes me sad. Anyway, it's encouraging to me that you had that talk with your dd, because we did the same thing just last week (that's why we're making the switch to Sonlight - remember, she HATES Ancient History:lol:). So, we have a 3 year plan (Sonlight Cores 5, 6, and 7), and then, I think we'll sit down with her in 8th grade, look at the "requirements" for High School and College, and start to plan together. It's why I keep lurking. :D I'm realizing just because we didn't like something for Elementary school, doesn't mean we should discount it for High School and Visa Versa. And, I'm agreeing with you about the BJU textbooks. I hear only GOOD reviews, and it actually encourages me. It makes me feel less overwhelmed and like High School will be "doable" for us.

Thanks for letting me de-rail!
Blessings!
Dorinda

#36 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

Dorinda, if she hates ancient history, then you should look at the BJU 7 and up. Do SL5 for 6th, then start into BJU7 in 7th. It is particularly good with the videos. We were ho-hum about the BJU8 video samples we saw. For the BJU7, we got to watch a large chunk of it when some missionary kids were visiting with us, and dd LOVED it.

But pay no attention to me. It's just another idea. Definitely like your SL5 idea though. It's nice to break things up.

#37 Melissa H. in GA

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:26 PM

for getting back to me on my questions.

I had forgotten that Heritage Studies includes geography and economics. A friend gave me The Complete Book of American History and I think that for American 20th century I will use that as my spine and just plug in some good historical fiction along the way. I think that will be fine for my soon to be fifth grader.

Thanks again,

Melissa

#38 HappyGrace

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:47 PM

I don't need to be wracking my brains to discuss the depths of socialism or any other isms. I need her to get that from reading and ancillary resources, have her challenged to synthesize by writing, and then let it overflow on occasions to discussions with her father, which I have no doubt it will.


This is my plan exactly. Oh, I have big thoughts in my head that we would sit around discussing, but I know myself too well-it won't happen. I will never be Janice in NJ ;) I've let myself be ok with that! (I'm not saying we don't discuss-we do, a LOT! But I've given up having to be on top of everything she is doing in order to discuss. Our discussions happen more organically than in a planned way.)

OhE, I still say TOG in any form that you mentioned (supplementing, etc.) would be tough for you because it's meant for that discussion. BJU just makes so much sense, and then you can add in Omni for your GBs, as much or little as desired. Add the Grant for her discussion fix to tie in those loose ends. E may still need more history added in, but she is at the age she can pick some rabbit trails she wants to follow out of what she is already learning. You are great about finding resources (videos, etc.) to have on hand to throw at her when she's ready for them. And you can discuss and come up with (with her) an output of some sort that she'll be expected to produce from her rabbit trails. Let her just go deep in those areas that strike her fancy.

We are already doing this with G-after pretty much ditching TOG except as a booklist, I'm letting her launch out into areas from there. For instance, she read and obsessed over Tiner's Exploring the History of Medicine, so now she went and got a pile of adult books on the history of medicine that she's plowing through, and she is writing up reports on some of her favorite medical figures, synthesized from all the books. Her idea. It's history, it's sci, it's writing, it fascinates her, DONE! She comes to me with questions/comments and we discuss as desired. E likes to have a say in her learning-there is no reason she can't do this type of thing. Let her own it. My epiphany lately is this: in the content areas, you can't cover it all anyway, so I don't try to control it anymore.

If she had to wait for *me* to keep up with her in all this (or even read the TOG cheat sheets ;)), I'd just be holding her back. Lots of moms can do this and love it. I have realized that I can't teach all subjects on two levels as intensively as I'd LOVE to, so I have to streamline where I can. I am a very, very hands-on teacher in the skill subjects (writing, math, etc.) so in order to make time for that, I've chosen to step back a little on content subjects.

Give them a nice foundation (BJU, Omni, Grant) and let them be in charge of building on it.:)

(And of course this would only work with a self-motivated dc, which I know OhE has, in history anyway!)

#39 MorningGlory

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 07:11 AM

Elizabeth,

You might find this interesting. I know someone who uses the BJU American Republic text with student activity pages as the spine for Omnibus III. She teaches this at a Study Center. She used it for kids 9th-11th, reasoning that the Great Books are so difficult, it made since to use a slightly easier spine. She also teaches in the VP online academy and told me that VP is using the BJU text for the spine for Omni III in the online classes as well.

What she did was pick which Omni books she wanted to cover, line them up chronologically, and then space out the BJU readings in between. So, sometimes it was read a little BJU and do mapping, etc and then read Omni books in depth like Plymouth Plantation, and other times it was several BJU chapters in a row, like Westward Expansion, before heading back into Omni.

She said it worked really well and I am considering doing something very similar next year with my Discussion Group as well. I had already decided to break Omni III into 2 years, focusing on American one year and modern world history the next--to coordinate with the George Grant lectures.

And speaking of, if you've got a history lover and you don't want to do all the work, you should really consider the Kings Meadow curriculum. Those lectures pull in all the threads and give that strong Christian worldview. I can't recommend it highly enough.


I am just PLEASED as punch to hear about the use of BJU as a spine for Omnibus. This is sort of what I've been mulling over for a couple of years. I think my son's 8th-11th history rotation may finally be taking shape! :) And thank you for mentioning the Kings Meadow program...I've bookmarked the site for future reference.
Jetta

#40 Paisley Hedgehog

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 07:53 AM

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#41 OhElizabeth

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:25 AM

You may have figured this out already, but the BJU American Republic TE has correlated literature suggestions in the notes (at least, the 2nd edition does). There are also suggestions for written reports, videos, debate topics, and fine arts, in addition to the mapping and fill-in-the-blank stuff in the workbook.

My ds 13yo is doing this for jr high history, and it is an extremely well done course IMHO. He is a 'textbook kid', and, while he cooperated with TOG, BJU is getting the job done better.


Shari-No I DIDN'T know this !!!!!!! Now I need to see that tm. :)

#42 awstgs

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:36 AM

You may have figured this out already, but the BJU American Republic TE has correlated literature suggestions in the notes (at least, the 2nd edition does). There are also suggestions for written reports, videos, debate topics, and fine arts, in addition to the mapping and fill-in-the-blank stuff in the workbook.

My ds 13yo is doing this for jr high history, and it is an extremely well done course IMHO. He is a 'textbook kid', and, while he cooperated with TOG, BJU is getting the job done better.


I didn't know this either! I'm so glad you mentioned it!

#43 awstgs

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:42 AM

I have another question. Since BJU is Christian, do you feel like they only share the "good" parts of history or slant things towards the Christian view. Obviously, history can get ugly, and I don't want that glossed over. I want my son to see the mistakes made. I used A Beka growing up and realize now that much of history was skipped. Anyone want to share what they think? It's the main reason why I've been leaning toward a secular text.

#44 bearnpurple

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:44 AM

This has been helpful as I am using The American Republic for my 9th grader next year for his American History credit.....I am thinking of using the student activities and the literature with it and stretch it into the 1st half of 10th grade (ds is not an avid reader) and finish 10th grade with American Government. We are doing BJU Geography (which is slated for 9th grade) this year since it isn't a required credit for high school but it is a great introduction to American/World History.....it is very meaty and has a great student activity book with it also.

Anyway - this post has let me see we can get what we need for High School credit for American History and relax a little....the 11th grade book is great for those who like history and like to read but my son is neither and I needed a happy medium......I figured why not go a little easier on history since he will be hitting Introductory Algebra (lial) and Physical Science next year too!

Again - thanks to all posts and good luck on your decision OhElizabeth!

#45 OhElizabeth

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:35 PM

Just went and looked at the tm samples at bjup. They're more one-dimensional (pretend you're an indian and write a story), where TOG has lots of levels to chose from, including compare/contrast, etc. I'm thinking the TOG writing assignments are still more of what I was looking for.

#46 Janice in NJ

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 03:33 PM

Psst. This Janice in NJ you speak of isn't on top of everything either. ;) She misses a lot of opportunities to educate every week. Tons!

Just keep on steppin. Just keep on looking forward.

We'll get there together, eh? :001_smile:

Peace,
A gal who knows the inside scoop on this women. Trust me, her upside-down world is really quite... well.... upside-down sometimes. ;)

#47 Janice in NJ

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:47 AM

Not to be a contrarian but....

I have several of the BJU textbooks. Great for showing a kid paragraph format. Transitions. Types of writing: compare contrast, description, narration, etc. And the child will walk away with an understanding of historical people and events. Timelines. Names, dates, etc.

I have two big issues with high-school level textbooks though: tone and argument.

I have not yet found a high school history text that offers the student enough practice in reading for tone and argument. For me and mine these are two crucial high-school-level-reading-skill goals. Our targets; we shoot toward them. So far I can't say that we're nailing it, but that's what I'm aiming toward. I hope they will eventually even translate to writing skills - although I've found that they seem to only emerge in their infant stages in high school. I'm hoping they will grow later in life. But without models, I think it will be difficult to develop them in my students. I've found that my kids need to be reading PAST their reading/composition level in order to grow their reading/composition ability.

Most high school level history texts go to great lengths to eradicate tone. The arguments are presented as fact with little rhetoric for the student to analyze. I believe this is intentional. Textbooks are limited by size. Schools can not afford a stack of books for each student. Just as schools are forced to use an anthology for 4th grade literature instead of a pile of paperback classics, they can generally only afford the $50 textbook. So a textbook just doesn't have as much room for argumentation. They are forced into the position of leading the witness. All texts do this. But good authors recognize the intelligence of their audience so they know they have to try harder. I have found that when a high school textbook presents a position, it is much more cut and dried. Even if it acknowledges that the particular issue can be viewed through a contrary lens, that perspective is often trivialized. "Good" authors just don't do this. Kids do. High school kids do this ALL the time when they write. They just aren't ready to really address contrast in their arguments. It's hard. So the high school student resorts to trying to make people (or their reasons) that are contrary to the student's position seem really dumb or trivial. It's what they do. It's fine. But it is immature. Teaching a child to push past it into an adult level conversation (something past a day time talk show level ;)) is REALLY hard. Teaching them that real adult level conversation is about CONCESSION is not easy. Teaching them that debate and argumentation is about understanding and truly appreciating your opponents perspective takes a ton of really hard work. After all, the goal of debate is not the winning over of your opponent. The goal should be truth. As a real adult, you can't go there unless you are willing to admit that you might be wrong. Your opponent might become your new enlightener.

And textbooks are limited by their intended audience. Many high school students are not ready to engage in debate and rhetoric within the arena of tone. Generally, a classroom teacher does not have the time to individualize the instruction for each student to teach them to engage with adult level writing at this level; there is just too much of a range in the students' abilities. Some kids will stumble over the vocabulary. Some kids will be frustrated by the mature paragraph structure. (Authors seldom list their argument support with the words "first, second, finally." In fact real authors seldom bother to find or limit their arguments to three reasons at all; that's a high school convention.) Some kids will be stumped with the historical, literary, or philosophical references: the analogies of the text will be wasted on them. (What good does it do to label a historical figure character as quixotic if the kid doesn't know what you are talking about? The teacher can't stop the class to tell the kid, "Go get Wikipedia and figure out what that MEANS. You can't just hop over a word like that without missing the whole point!") And some kids just aren't ready to engage with the LENGTH of the arguments in some adult level books. Sometimes you have to read 100 pages before you start to realize, "Wait a minute. I'm changing my mind about XYZ. How did that happen? I don't even know WHY I'm changing my mind. Wait a MINUTE!" That's when you either keep reading - only now with a more critical eye (some might say you start reading ;)) OR you turn back to the first page and start reading all over again."

I'm running out of time, and I'm rambling.

My point: I hear you. I've looked at textbooks repeatedly. I've wanted them to work many, many times. And plenty of folks use them to good effect. They work for many, many people. But I personally have found that they don't offer up a writing style and a format that helps my kids see what comes next in the world of reading and writing. And that world is real. Go to the new adult non-fiction section of your library. Choose one book. Chances are, that one book is going to take two pages of a world history textbook and blow it wide open - in terms of the amount of information. Yes. Granted. BUT also in terms of the presentation. There will be entire sections of digression. Sarcastic digression. Does that strengthen or weaken the argument. Stop. Read that paragraph out loud. What does _____ mean? You don't know? Did you look it up? Lazy you, little man. Bummer. You just missed the whole point of the paragraph. And now you're going to miss the entire point of this chapter. That link connects you from the left to the right. If you allow it to break because you won't take ten seconds to look up that word, the author's thought will be lost to you. LOOK up that word. What does he mean when he says ________? Now go back. Reread the first sentence in each paragraph for the last three pages. Where is he going with this? Can you anticipate his position on this? (Can you feel the roller coaster climbing the hill, little man? The author is about to drop you down the slope on the other side. Can you feel the pace quickening? Can you see the tell-tale signs in the sentences and paragraphs?) Do you agree with where the author's going? Disagree? Yes, good! BUT NOW can you defend your position? Cause it looks like his argument is stronger than your defense - REALLY! Come on - we both agree that he's taking your roller coaster car up the hill - dragging it actually, but can you feel how you've stopped applying the brakes? What happened? Why? Why have you given yourself over to the ride? When did you give yourself over? Can you feel how right he seems? Is he right? Why? Do you feel panic that you might be wrong? Do you care? Why do you feel panic? Or did you quit arguing with him? When? What's wrong with being wrong about this issue OR does it feel right to be wrong about this issue? Really?!? What are the implications? And can you sense that he's taking your position to the edge of the cliff and is about to drop it off over the side?

Egypt has ousted its president. Fact, right? Easy. Really? Who or what is Egypt? Did they own their president? Of did he own them? Why? How? What happened? Who did what? Who said what? If you could find A LIST of what happened complete with the "proper" order of events, you could explain this in two paragraphs. (Oh - COME ON! Really? Everyone is trying to do this but can't quite nail it down. Why? Because it's a tall order in deed - BUT one that the textbooks in the future will seem to do effortlessly. A simple clear, concise paragraph.) But now here's the big question: And believe me TONS of folks are asking this question: What next? and WHY? What will happen next and why will things work out that way? That is an enormous non-trivial answer. It's HUGE! The textbooks offer up everything in hind sight. Cause and effect are connected with a clear authoritative voice. But history happens in real time. And there are no "answers." Shoot, no one has even nailed down the questions with any precision.

And no one can answer the "What next?" question with any precision. I've learned that no one can actually answer the "What happened two hundred years ago?" question with precision either. For us, I've found that textbooks used in isolation don't inspire my kids to engage with their present because they are waiting for someone to tell them what it means. They aren't used to seeing their present as someone else's past - only now they have the ability to make a difference. The pivots are up for grabs!

Just a thought. You don't have to do this at the high school level. No one opened this world up to me when I was a teenager. No problem. I found this world on my own. But it's a world that I want my kids to discover sooner rather than later. Even if it's only in an immature way.

I'm not saying that you need to go there in high school. I'm just saying that I want to - just wanted to share my goals. And I've found that textbooks are useful for a lot of things. But I've not found a way to use them to get "there" - a least not for our family. I use them for other things. But not for that.

And I'm not saying you can't get there with a textbook. But that's the beauty of homeschooling. We are all free to choose the resources that take us where we each want to go in the way that we want to go there.

Lots of great paths to lots of great places.

That diversity will make all the difference in the world. It's a grand, grand thing!

So I don't speak with any kind of authority. Just a voice trying to talk about what has worked for me and mine.

Peace,
Janice

Enjoy your little people
Enjoy your journey

Edited by Janice in NJ, 20 February 2011 - 08:51 AM.


#48 OhElizabeth

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:56 AM

Wow Janice, definitely a lot to think about. And I think a history-knowledge teacher (not me, haha) using a textbook *can* bring that level of thought and argumentation to it. I think BJU is probably attempting to bring some in with their use of original sources, etc. As you say though, the texts are written to the thought processes of the average student, and they are slightly stuck in the what's, possibly telling them didactically what to think about the why's.

For myself, I have two contrasting pictures: I know someone (my mother's husband actually) who is terrifically brilliant and knowledgeable on history, a curator at a museum, lectures regularly, etc. He was awash in school, but he spent his time then reading books on Egyptology and other obscure subjects and kept right on going into adulthood. In other words, he reads and reads and reads history, and whatever sticks congeals in his mind to form a narrative of the argument, filled with details as necessary. Textbooks are a precise way of getting those details and covering SOME of the arguments. They make the process feel more secure. So it FREAKS ME OUT that I could work hard to cover the arguments and details with books and more real and engaging processes, only to find out that I could have done it more effectively with textbooks. I mean they exist for a reason, lol. To me it's a question I've had to walk up to and ask myself. And I really don't know the answer.

I wish it weren't so all one way or the other (think vs. learn facts). Well I'm out of time. The toddler is hollering. I should go see what spines TOG uses at the rhetoric level for years 3 and 4. I have an old version of the BJU world, so I really don't even see that as in the running or competitive as a spine. It just doesn't have the coverage or depth. The american however is quite thorough, almost nauseatingly thorough. So for those portions, the question is whether it's easier to use TOG as the spine and add in things like BJU readings, or whether it's easier to use BJU as a spine and add in the extras. Two variations of the same thing, kwim?

You know what I also can't sort out in my mind? And maybe you have figured this out for yourself: how do people jump to the thought level of these adult books (Paul Johnson, whatever) if they haven't done the foundational work in a standard, actual high school level american history text? Wouldn't it be easier to follow the train of argument in Paul Johnson (I'm just pulling that out of the air because I bought one of his books after seeing the name here) if you've DONE the BJU US History 11?? Or maybe it's adequate to read them in parallel? I admit textbook-fed kids have about the thought process of a bottlefed parrot most of the time. I just wonder if the opposite can happen and whether jumping to argument without adequate foundational knowledge results in a person with opinion but no perspective.

I'm sure any kid who has done the lower levels of TOG *has* foundational knowledge. But there really is a lot more, kwim? I mean that BJU 11 text is quite detailed, mercy.

#49 Janice in NJ

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:36 AM

Of course it would be possible to use a textbook as a spine. Or by itself. Or not at all.

That's what makes this choosing process seem like such an enormous deal. Tons of choices. Tons.

Given an adequate background and the resources (time, talent, money, and enthusiasm) you can probably ferret out a path to any goal via nearly any resource - especially when you are willing to start adding resources to your resource.

Plenty of folks start with resources.
Our family has been better served when I start with goals.
Textbooks seem comprehensive. Very. They seem to paint the picture in the most efficient way. However, as a classical educator, I don't want to focus on the who, what, when, and where at the high school level. I want to move toward the deeper questions of the human condition. And I want to explore more complex writing samples. Sometimes I WANT my kids to be bewildered and confused. It suits my purpose. They need to know that they aren't done LEARNING how to read and write. There's more.

The problem? High schoolers still need all of the data. They haven't mastered those four questions for every topic. They still have lots of gaps. (Psst. We all do. ;)) But I've found that I don't have the luxury of filling in all those gaps before we start addressing the "why" questions. I just don't have the time. And the number of topics keeps expanding. So there is no point in trying to navigate a tidy finish before launching into the next thing: I've found that it's not possible to complete the logic stage before we start the rhetoric stage. We just had to start. And do both. Without neglecting everything else we needed to be doing.

Unnerving. But it's been my reality.
Little to no closure. Ever.
Learning to love the billions of swinging gates has been challenging. Sometimes I just want to stop, run around and close every single swinging gate and stare peaceful at the enclosed pasture. Nice. Tidy. Safe.

But then there's no where to go.
I've been outside the fence, and I actually like it better. Believe it or not, for us it's actually easier to accomplish what I want to accomplish outside the fence.
So I start opening gates. We move in and out of them. We keep returning to the pasture when I need to feel the safety of the enclosure.

Let me try to show you. I've found this excerpt from a Pulitzer that I have enjoyed. (I didn't get a chance to finish it. My kids moved past this time period and I had to drop it in order to read other titles. But this one is DEFINITELY on my to-do list. I was really enjoying it. :001_smile:)

http://search.barnes...ysical club#EXC

Under the picture of the book, click where it says "Read an Excerpt"

Under section #2, fifth paragraph it says, "Yet he was unabashedly provincial." What does that mean? Why say it here? What is the point? Where is the author going? Can you already guess?

Next paragraph:
"Dr. Holmes's views on political issues therefore tended to be reflexive: he took his cues from his own instincts and the prevailing tendencies, and where these conflicted, he went with the tendencies. In 1850, for example...."

If you decide to use the WTM recommendations for rhetoric, one of the first assignments is to write a slanted narrative. You tell a story in a WAY that moves your reader toward your stated conclusion. Read the story. (Really. Read it. ;) It's quite good.)

Do you agree with Menand?

Let's back up. Menand has made a statement about Dr. Holmes, "His views on political issues tend to be reflexive." Then he provides more information about what he means. He uses a colon structure to clarify his statement. Interesting choice - "Have you every thought about doing that, little man? OK so let's see - make a statement. Now clarify what you mean with a colon followed by an explanation. Tell me more about what you mean. Oh. Wait. Do you know what 'reflexive' means? Oh. Let's look it up. This will make more sense now. Let's try the colon structure."

"Now, little man, what does he do next? Yes. He provides an example that SUPPORTS what he is saying." One of the 9th grade writing project is a research paper. Kids seem mystified by these assignments, but they get it if they see it modeled. AND they are more interesting in mastering it if they understand that adults write research papers all the time: they are called Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winners. :001_smile: Menand's "story" is filled with footnotes. It's a mini research paper. An argument. And proof. He doesn't expect you to just "believe" him that "Dr. Holmes's views on political issues therefore tended to be reflexive." When you get to the end of the story, he has done a pretty good job of convincing you that this is true. Yes or no? WHY????? (The actual book has 50+ pages of footnotes at the end with over 20 pages of "Works Cited")

Let's get back to "How? How does he convince you regard the reflexive statement." Ninth grade writing assignment. Slanting a narrative. He properly footnotes the sources. He is telling you the who, what, when, and where. He leads you in the direction of believing that Dr. Holmes (Sr.) was reflexive in his political views. You believe him. Not because he said so, but because Holmes's LIFE said so.

But this is an entire book.

And this section of the book is unearthing the environment that Dr. Holmes Jr. grew up in. His dad. Pre-war Boston. The ideas of the time and his world's response to them. The boy (Holmes Jr.) lives at the center. His dad is a big part of any boy's life - think dinner time conversations etc. And the family lives in Pre-war Boston.

Look back to the last sentence in section #1 of the excerpt. "To understand the road Holmes [Jr.] had to travel in order to write those opinions, we have to go back to one of the worlds the Civil War made obsolete, the world of prewar Boston."

So section two is support for a statement made in section 1. Nested. Neat. Statement = argument. Story = support. You slant the narrative so it BREATHES your argument. Complete with footnotes = an adult-level research paper.

Each why is going to be a building block in a bigger argument. Each piece has it's place. Step by step a structure is built. The reader walks away either agreeing or disagreeing with the author's thesis.

Oh - and there are plenty of logic-level opportunities here. The poem? Google. Read it. Hawthorne, Emerson, and company? African Americans resettled to Liberia? Huh? Uncle Tom's Cabin. Calvinism. The women's rights movement? Great stuff! Vocabulary: provincial, capitulated, autocrat, genial.

I think you get it.

Tons of opportunities to educate.

As opposed to one conclusive paragraph or a sentence in a textbook. One statement. With no evidence of a slant. And no footnotes. Just a story, a life, and a ton of WHY's boiled down into a statement of inarguable fact. (Really? Inarguable? No. It's just that a textbook is forced to make it seem that way. And that can be misleading. In reality, all arguments try to make "it" seem "that" way. But at least the reader KNOWS he is engaging with an argument. Both he and the writer concede that they are engaging. And the writer knows his reader is intelligent enough that support is going to be required.)

I know what you're thinking. It would be impossible to cover high school this way. You can't read every single book about every single tiny little detail. No you can't. That would take a lifetime. ;)

The forest. And the trees. And the ants on the tree. And zoom out: the universe.
A lot of work.
But yes, I want them to know that they have their whole lifetimes to grow and discover the world they live in. So I use materials that will help me achieve that goal. Sometimes it's a brief summary: content. Hop. Sometimes we stop and stare: GREAT MODELS! Skill building. Woo-Hoo.

Sometimes I'm on top of the world!
Sometimes my head feels like it's going to pop.
And no - I'm not always sure it's worth the pain.
But then sometimes it is. I live on those fumes when I feel like I want to quit.

Have fun locating your goals. And have peace when you find them. You can't do it all. Everything you choose means that you are saying NO to a thousand other good things. I bear the pain of that even when we are doing this kind of thing well.

There is NO optimum plan.

Peace,
Janice

Edited by Janice in NJ, 21 February 2011 - 11:27 AM.


#50 OhElizabeth

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 11:28 AM

You know I had sort of latched onto this idea recently, realizing that writing could be taught using Marrin and other good writers and that we don't NEED CW or some of these other fancy curricula. I'm not sure I'm interested in that particular book (I didn't actually find it an engaging read, and the spin was dizzying), but your method of use is interesting. I'm also not sure I have to CONNECT so heavily our history study and writing. History becomes the content for the writing, but that doesn't mean I have to teach history and writing using the same things. I can segment them. You prefer to integrate. Obviously integrating will be more efficient. I'll have to think about that and see what seems appropriate.

I definitely appreciate the example, as you've fleshed out what I was thinking would work. Was this particular book recommended in TOG? Or was it one you found on your own? This seems nutty, but one of the things nagging me in the back of my mind is that some kids indeed will be ready for books beyond the R level recommendations of TOG by 10th, 11th, 12th gr. Is that basically what you're saying, that you've bumped everything up?

And when you say goals, you mean conceptual goals (cover the rise of socialism under so and so) or skill goals or... ? One of the things that frustrated me for years with the VP elementary history was that having a weekly goal was such a nebulous topic that you were never sure if you hit it or even what you were trying to hit. It was too vague a goal. I've been concerned the same thing would happen to me with TOG.



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