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Do you prefer to cover ancient history geographically or chronologically?

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As I do every summer, I'm evaluating the effectiveness of the curricula we used during the past school year, and deciding what would be best for next year. This might be "old news" to many of you, but I'm noticing that some programs use more of a geographical approach to ancient history, while others use more of a chronological approach.



Many (most??) history programs seem to focus on cultures and events of one particular region before moving on to another region. Cultures are studied in the order that each one arose or was at its zenith, so this approach is somewhat chronological as well, but the focus seems to be primarily on one geographical area at a time. Generally, these programs begin with Sumer & other Mesopotamian cultures, then progress to Egypt, and so on, ending the study of Ancients with the Roman Empire.



Other programs seem to focus on the chronology of historical events, jumping back and forth from one culture to another so as to highlight the flow of events from Creation through the the Fall of Rome. With this approach, students get an idea of what was happening around the world at a given time, and are able to see which cultures/people were contemporaries and which cultural/technological advances occurred within the same time frame.



I would think that the chronological approach would lend itself to developing a good grasp of the timeline of history and how we got where we are today, while the geographical approach would lead to a good understanding of the geographic regions of the world and the cultures that developed in each.


What do YOU think?



We've used TRISMS for several years, and they use a definite geographical approach. From what I've seen, WP and HO also seem to use this approach. MOH seems to be from a chronological perspective. To me, TOG seems to be somewhat of a mix of the two approaaches. I haven't evaluated other programs, so I don't know how they work.

Edited by ereks mom
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I can see the benefits of doing history both ways. We have always used SOTW, so have done history chronologically. This year, with my younger two, we will be tyring History Odyssey, which is done geographically. I like how in the 2nd level books, every little bit there is timeline lesson. The children look over what they have learned, and can see what was happening in other areas of the world at the same time. So it kind of brings in some of the chronological into it as well. But as I said, this will be our first year, so it will be interesting to see how it works out.

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We did ancients geographically/culturally when our boys were 8th & 9th grades. That fit better with the Great Books Literature of the ancients we did alongside the ancient history. For us that looked like:


Bible = Explorer's Quest Level study = History of Ancient Israel (first 5 books of the Bible)


History = Spielvogel's World History: Human Odyssey

(Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine/Israel, India, China, Greece, Rome)


Literature =

= Mesopotamia (Great Books: Epic of Gilgamesh; Babylonian myths)

= Egypt (historical fiction: Golden Goblet; God King; Shadow Hawk; Egyptian myths)

= Palestine/Israel (historical fiction: Hittite Warrior)

= Greece (Great Books: Iliad, Odyssey, Oedipus the King, Antigone, Greek myths; CS Lewis' class retelling of Cupid/Psyche myth: Till We Have Faces)

= Rome (Great Books: Aeneid; historical fiction: Ides of April; Eagle of the Ninth)



I would guess you'll have a wonderful history year no matter how you schedule it! :001_smile: Warmest regards, Lori D.

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