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johnandtinagilbert

How Textbookish is Spielvogel?

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Well, Speilvogel writes text books. :) The Human Odyssey is the "lightest" of his texts, as it's a world history book written for high school. You can also get a study guide for it, and map activities, which makes it pretty do-able for the kid who hates to engage in a text. The Western Civ text is deadly dull, in my very humble opinion, and I would not recommend it for your son.

 

Perhaps some others could come up with other options. You do have the Great Battles of the Ancient World DVDs from the Teaching Company, yes? My boys *loved* those. Loved. I think there are more of that sort out now, too, but I'm avoiding checking the TC website, for fear of spending money I don't have.

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Thank you. I think I've officially taken it out. Bummer. I was trying to make note taking really easy, but it seems like the Core selections of TOG + the in-depth are going to accomplish our goals, with a tad more reading. I tried. :D I told him and he understands it is what it is. Thank you.

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I was trying to make note taking really easy, ...

 

Tina,

What exactly do you mean by this? Are you wanting him to take notes from the text?

 

If I remember correctly, is your ds a 9th grader? Personally, I think the year 4 Dialectic book (20th Century Idiot's Guide) is a fairly difficult book for my younger dialectics and would be appropriate for a 9th grader. It is also divided into discernible sections that would facilitate note taking (if that is your goal).

 

FWIW- if you want light and easy, the "America in the 19___" will be that for your son. It's a very easy read.

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Tina,

What exactly do you mean by this? Are you wanting him to take notes from the text? Yes. He has to note take, then summarize his cores.

 

If I remember correctly, is your ds a 9th grader? Personally, I think the year 4 Dialectic book (20th Century Idiot's Guide) is a fairly difficult book for my younger dialectics and would be appropriate for a 9th grader. It is also divided into discernible sections that would facilitate note taking (if that is your goal). He is in 9th now and will be at the end of 9th when we start Year 4. This is not a bad idea. I'm gonna have to get a look at this through the library this week. Since he'll be reading the in-depth, it might be the key. Thank you for the suggestion AND the info on the difficulty for a D student. I'll be bringing in a nearly 12yo to the D level, so I appreciate the heads up.

 

FWIW- if you want light and easy, the "America in the 19___" will be that for your son. It's a very easy read.

That's also good to know. I may be able to skip them entirely if the Dummies works, along with the other suggestions. I'll have to revisit the booklist (which is super easy to do with the new DE interface!).

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My boys have liked Spielvogel's Western Civ as a followup for Kingfisher. I haven't heard complaints about it being boring or hard. Now, they are just reading it as background for great books, not using it as a textbook, but they thought it was interesting, tied in well with their great books, and picked up where Kingfisher left off. It has lots of maps and photos, which my children like.

-Nan

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I used Spielvogel's Human Odyssey with my son. It is a textbook. In my opinion, it is also an incoherent mess in that the narrative (if you could call it that) is horribly disjointed. On the positive side, it is not a TV textbook.

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Ds, whom I planned on heading to the textbook, told me he doesn't like textbooks....:glare:

 

I need to keep history light and easy for him, so we can focus on battles and military history. Thoughts?

 

For light and easy, we found Spielvogel's Western Civ to be a good choice. When ds was in 9th, I put together a one-semester Ancient History course for him using this as a spine. He read 8 pages per week (sometimes answering the Focus questions) and got through the first six chapters (up through the Roman Empire) over the course of the semester. We found it very interesting and well written. In retrospect, it would not have been too hard to have him take notes as well... especially with those small daily doses, but I just didn't think about it. I also added in some enjoyable reading such as The Cat of Bubastes, a book from Sonlight on Aristotle, and a couple others I don't remember offhand, and had him write one paper. At the time, I worried it was too light, but looking back, I think it was actually pretty successful.

 

FWIW, dd used Spielvogel Human Odyssey in 9th grade (she was doing 20th Century), and I didn't think it was nearly as good. She had a hard time getting (or should I say "slogging") through it. It seemed sketchier, not all that coherent, and had a very "textbook-ish" feel... I like Western Civ much, much better.

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We used the Human Odyssey with dd. Dd is a wonderful sport and handled it quite well. IT BORED ME TO TEARS AND I SWORE WE WOULD NEVER USE IT AGAIN AND WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS I NEVER WILL!

 

Sorry, I just needed to get that out of my system. Spielvogel is about as textbook ISH as a textbook could be. Also, I've never been able to absolutely pinpoint what my problem is with his narrative, other than the occasional...um...disorganization. But, I think it could be that since he is Eastern European, his sentence structure is not as clear to my American brain as it is to his European brain. Who knows! I have a really BAD attitude about that book.

 

To all those who like Spielvogel, more power to you, truly. I don't mean to offend. I just personally found my brain turning to oatmeal and oozing out my ears with the Human Odyssey - that may be a reflection on me and not him.

 

Faith

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I used Spielvogel's Human Odyssey with my son. It is a textbook. In my opinion, it is also an incoherent mess in that the narrative (if you could call it that) is horribly disjointed. On the positive side, it is not a TV textbook.

 

We used the Human Odyssey with dd. Dd is a wonderful sport and handled it quite well. IT BORED ME TO TEARS AND I SWORE WE WOULD NEVER USE IT AGAIN AND WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS I NEVER WILL!

 

Sorry, I just needed to get that out of my system. Spielvogel is about as textbook ISH as a textbook could be. Also, I've never been able to absolutely pinpoint what my problem is with his narrative, other than the occasional...um...disorganization. But, I think it could be that since he is Eastern European, his sentence structure is not as clear to my American brain as it is to his European brain. Who knows! I have a really BAD attitude about that book.

 

To all those who like Spielvogel, more power to you, truly. I don't mean to offend. I just personally found my brain turning to oatmeal and oozing out my ears with the Human Odyssey - that may be a reflection on me and not him.

 

Faith

 

Sigh. I guess I will just keep dd's decent, but dull world history text and the excellent AP Euro text and call it good for Swimmer Dude. I was hoping Human Odyssey was okay since it had all those nifty extras. Oh well. DS despises poorly organized texts.

 

ETA: Kai and Faith, thank you for those succint, and diplomatically -worded reviews. They were quite helpful.:D

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We used the Human Odyssey with dd. Dd is a wonderful sport and handled it quite well. IT BORED ME TO TEARS AND I SWORE WE WOULD NEVER USE IT AGAIN AND WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS I NEVER WILL!

 

Sorry, I just needed to get that out of my system. Spielvogel is about as textbook ISH as a textbook could be. Also, I've never been able to absolutely pinpoint what my problem is with his narrative, other than the occasional...um...disorganization. But, I think it could be that since he is Eastern European, his sentence structure is not as clear to my American brain as it is to his European brain. Who knows! I have a really BAD attitude about that book.

 

To all those who like Spielvogel, more power to you, truly. I don't mean to offend. I just personally found my brain turning to oatmeal and oozing out my ears with the Human Odyssey - that may be a reflection on me and not him.

 

Faith

 

Yes! Finally someone who agrees with me on this! I thought I was the only one!

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I prefer Western Civ to Human Odyssey,though, and used it as a spine starting in 8th grade. Ds read it for setting up background and context. I mined the discussion questions for essay topics and rounded out the course with history and literature titles from the bibliography and as many Teaching Company courses as I could afford. The outline meshes perfectly with History of Art for Young People. We varied things quite a bit in the 4 years we took to cover the book, but usually we'd spend about a week on Spielvogel, 2-3 weeks on other books, and finish with the corresponding chapter from HAYP. The history of architecture course ds took last fall follows the same outline, too, and he's seeing the same outline/chronological divisions again with his art history course this term.

 

I think the key to making Spielvogel work is keeping the text secondary and putting the best effort into setting up an engaging reading list and discussion. I don't have my reading lists handy, but ds enjoyed a book about technology in the middle ages called Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel. He also liked the first person account of the Fourth Crusade called The Conquest of Constantinople. I'm not sure why, but he especially enjoyed The History of the Franks. I thought it was dull, dull, dull. I thought it was a cheaper and more easily customizable option than Omnibus or TOG.

 

ETA: I didn't particularly love or hate the Spielvogel text itself, but it was a good tool for setting up what eventually evolved into a four year course combining history and literature, as well as music & art history and appreciation. We had a tendency to follow rabbit trails so it kept me moving along. It's a handy reference that we still use.

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I have Human Odyssey. I was thinking perhaps it would be lighter than Western Civ and faster, since my older one reads slowly, but my son said it didn't really have any new information compared to Kingfisher, so we stuck with Western Civ. It turned out that both my sons liked reading WC anyway, so I'm glad it didn't work out.

-Nan

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We did a few chapters of Human Odyssey. Dd and I thought it was quite readable. But.... it is 1100 pages, so the length and the amount of time we had is what trumped it. The questions at the end of the chapters are very good, the best I have seen in a history text. Dd learned a lot from that even though we didn't stick with it.

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Sigh. I guess I will just keep dd's decent, but dull world history text and the excellent AP Euro text and call it good for Swimmer Dude. I was hoping Human Odyssey was okay since it had all those nifty extras. Oh well. DS despises poorly organized texts.

 

ETA: Kai and Faith, thank you for those succint, and diplomatically -worded reviews. They were quite helpful.:D

 

I know, I know. Le sigh. I naturally now own the AP Euro text that your S is using, and have been comparing it to the Human Odyssey, which I used with number one son. I've also been looking at this:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Civilizations-History-Culture-Sixteenth/dp/0393930971/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297382791&sr=8-2

 

This is the one that the hot classics professor I've had a crush on for 20 years uses with his class for the 101 Freshman Studies History course. It's a history-the-WTM-way kind of thing, where they read the Iliad and all that, but they cover a lot of territory in one semester, about as much as we'd cover in a year. One of my staff took that class last semester and loaned me her text. The writing is so much more coherent than the HO, but shoot! No extras! No maps!

 

It's the extras, though, that keep luring me back. The whole WTM outline / summary thingy does not work for us. The extras, especially the maps and critical thinking question for the maps are what help me to know that these kids are at least doing something.

 

ETA: Holy Hannah! There is a study guide for that Western Civ book! Be still my heart! http://www.amazon.com/Study-Guide-Western-Civilizations-Sixteenth/dp/0393931900/ref=pd_sim_b_3

 

ETA again: Just had another peek at that study guide, and it's only 64 pages. Hmm. Suspicious.

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This thread has made me smile. I own Human Odyssey (student and TE edition) and Western Civ. I found my copies cheap and plan to use them as reference/spine and probably have ds read the non-western portions of Human Odyssey.

 

Now if that all becomes a wash you could use the TE of Human Odyssey for weights. :D It's huge and heavy. I think my legs went to sleep a few times when I was flipping through with it on my lap.

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I know, I know. Le sigh. I naturally now own the AP Euro text that your S is using, and have been comparing it to the Human Odyssey, which I used with number one son. I've also been looking at this:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Civilizations-History-Culture-Sixteenth/dp/0393930971/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297382791&sr=8-2

 

This is the one that the hot classics professor I've had a crush on for 20 years uses with his class for the 101 Freshman Studies History course. It's a history-the-WTM-way kind of thing, where they read the Iliad and all that, but they cover a lot of territory in one semester, about as much as we'd cover in a year. One of my staff took that class last semester and loaned me her text. The writing is so much more coherent than the HO, but shoot! No extras! No maps!

 

It's the extras, though, that keep luring me back. The whole WTM outline / summary thingy does not work for us. The extras, especially the maps and critical thinking question for the maps are what help me to know that these kids are at least doing something.

 

ETA: Holy Hannah! There is a study guide for that Western Civ book! Be still my heart! http://www.amazon.com/Study-Guide-Western-Civilizations-Sixteenth/dp/0393931900/ref=pd_sim_b_3

 

ETA again: Just had another peek at that study guide, and it's only 64 pages. Hmm. Suspicious.

 

I know this is going to stun and confuse you, but I think I'll just stick with what I have. Just don't mention those maps and questions too often because that is part of what I want. Why does everyone do Western Civ instead of World History? I guess it is about the same as European History. They have AP for World History in case you are dying to get at it.:D

 

I don't know if this helps you or Tina but I do have this for primary source work and this for maps even though it's a bit elderly.

 

Off to locate that professor's picture.;)

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I know this is going to stun and confuse you, but I think I'll just stick with what I have.

 

:svengo:

 

Just don't mention those maps and questions too often because that is part of what I want. Why does everyone do Western Civ instead of World History? I guess it is about the same as European History. They have AP for World History in case you are dying to get at it.:D

 

I don't know if this helps you or Tina but I do have this for primary source work and this for maps even though it's a bit elderly.

 

Are those different books in those links? Different from each other? Do they align easily / well with the text you're using? Are there any extras for the AP text that S is using (the one currently in my garage), or do you find that the books you linked above do the trick?

 

Off to locate that professor's picture.;)

 

If there were a picture of that man available, I would have PMed it to you! I can't find him on the website, and trust me, I've tried. :tongue_smilie:

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LOL

 

You know what's nice (not that it helps you at all)? My middle one, who is in college now, has to take Humanities 1+2. He says that his humanities book followed Western Civ very nicely. So he had three cycles through history WTM style - Kingfisher, Spielvogel's Western Civ, and now his humanities text. He said the humanities text has more of an emphasis on the arts, which is fun, especially since he has read some of the literature (like The Iliad). Despite having just read Western Civ, he is getting A's. Now this humanities sequence is meant as all-purpose humanities for non-liberal-arts majors, but still, we are pleased that it follows what we did at home so well. And another thing - oldest, who is an engineer through and through, is minoring in humanities!!! We are stunned. We (parents and other family) were sad when the boys picked this college because we thought they would miss out on some of the world-expanding learning that college normally brings, but it is turning out not to be nearly as bad as we thought. Quite the contrary - the college is doing a good job of getting some humanities into their particular type of students. I don't think my boys would be considering it interesting if they had a heavier dose. We also have been sad because oldest didn't peacewalk (except a day here or there) and therefore didn't get to travel. We tried to even that out a bit by sending him to Europe for a few weeks (worked beautifully!) but the college is also working on that by encouraging him to go on summer trips with his humanities prof's. This is all totally beside the point. I just wanted to tell Lisa and Nicole : ).

-Nan

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This thread has made me smile. I own Human Odyssey (student and TE edition) and Western Civ. I found my copies cheap and plan to use them as reference/spine and probably have ds read the non-western portions of Human Odyssey.

 

Now if that all becomes a wash you could use the TE of Human Odyssey for weights. :D It's huge and heavy. I think my legs went to sleep a few times when I was flipping through with it on my lap.

:lol:

 

LOL

 

You know what's nice (not that it helps you at all)? My middle one, who is in college now, has to take Humanities 1+2. He says that his humanities book followed Western Civ very nicely. So he had three cycles through history WTM style - Kingfisher, Spielvogel's Western Civ, and now his humanities text. He said the humanities text has more of an emphasis on the arts, which is fun, especially since he has read some of the literature (like The Iliad). Despite having just read Western Civ, he is getting A's. Now this humanities sequence is meant as all-purpose humanities for non-liberal-arts majors, but still, we are pleased that it follows what we did at home so well. And another thing - oldest, who is an engineer through and through, is minoring in humanities!!! We are stunned. We (parents and other family) were sad when the boys picked this college because we thought they would miss out on some of the world-expanding learning that college normally brings, but it is turning out not to be nearly as bad as we thought. Quite the contrary - the college is doing a good job of getting some humanities into their particular type of students. I don't think my boys would be considering it interesting if they had a heavier dose. We also have been sad because oldest didn't peacewalk (except a day here or there) and therefore didn't get to travel. We tried to even that out a bit by sending him to Europe for a few weeks (worked beautifully!) but the college is also working on that by encouraging him to go on summer trips with his humanities prof's. This is all totally beside the point. I just wanted to tell Lisa and Nicole : ).

-Nan

This is the one reason I want Wes. Civ. They will have to take it in college and I'd really like the prequel :D Esp. b/c we spent so much time in Ancients that we won't get the full 3 cycles. Hmmmm something to consider....and hurray for your surprises from the college. Things have their way of working out.

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The one thing my middle said was that he wished he had read more about the 20th century and that I should do something about that with the youngest, so I bought Duiker's 20th Century World History (follows the same format as Spielvogel's Western Civ). I thought I would have to really push the youngest to get him to read it, but he found it the other day and asked to read it. Guess he is feeling the same lack. I think I'll add it to A People's History of the US and have him read the two together. One of the advantages of the just-read method (as opposed to actually doing the textbook) seems to be that they read more, and read more willingly. (We're not a history oriented family, so I can do this with relatively little fear. It would scare me more to do it in science.) I would also like to add that we read the WTM logic stage US history list along with Zinn for high school US history and some of the books my sons loved, like the one by the man who had fought on both sides of WWII. They went together very nicely, partly because the logic list is heavily illustrated and Zinn has no pictures.

-Nan

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The one thing my middle said was that he wished he had read more about the 20th century and that I should do something about that with the youngest, so I bought Duiker's 20th Century World History (follows the same format as Spielvogel's Western Civ). I thought I would have to really push the youngest to get him to read it, but he found it the other day and asked to read it. Guess he is feeling the same lack. I think I'll add it to A People's History of the US and have him read the two together. One of the advantages of the just-read method (as opposed to actually doing the textbook) seems to be that they read more, and read more willingly. (We're not a history oriented family, so I can do this with relatively little fear. It would scare me more to do it in science.) I would also like to add that we read the WTM logic stage US history list along with Zinn for high school US history and some of the books my sons loved, like the one by the man who had fought on both sides of WWII. They went together very nicely, partly because the logic list is heavily illustrated and Zinn has no pictures.

-Nan

It sounds like the 1900 series will fill that in...hmmmm....

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LOL

 

You know what's nice (not that it helps you at all)? My middle one, who is in college now, has to take Humanities 1+2. He says that his humanities book followed Western Civ very nicely. So he had three cycles through history WTM style - Kingfisher, Spielvogel's Western Civ, and now his humanities text. He said the humanities text has more of an emphasis on the arts, which is fun, especially since he has read some of the literature (like The Iliad). Despite having just read Western Civ, he is getting A's. Now this humanities sequence is meant as all-purpose humanities for non-liberal-arts majors, but still, we are pleased that it follows what we did at home so well. And another thing - oldest, who is an engineer through and through, is minoring in humanities!!! We are stunned. We (parents and other family) were sad when the boys picked this college because we thought they would miss out on some of the world-expanding learning that college normally brings, but it is turning out not to be nearly as bad as we thought. Quite the contrary - the college is doing a good job of getting some humanities into their particular type of students. I don't think my boys would be considering it interesting if they had a heavier dose. We also have been sad because oldest didn't peacewalk (except a day here or there) and therefore didn't get to travel. We tried to even that out a bit by sending him to Europe for a few weeks (worked beautifully!) but the college is also working on that by encouraging him to go on summer trips with his humanities prof's. This is all totally beside the point. I just wanted to tell Lisa and Nicole : ).

-Nan

 

:D

 

I'm just popping back into this thread to tell y'all that I dreamed all night long of... history books. Long, involved dreams. About history books. Thank you very much, ladies.

 

:D

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We used the Human Odyssey with dd. Dd is a wonderful sport and handled it quite well. IT BORED ME TO TEARS AND I SWORE WE WOULD NEVER USE IT AGAIN AND WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS I NEVER WILL!

 

Sorry, I just needed to get that out of my system. Spielvogel is about as textbook ISH as a textbook could be. Also, I've never been able to absolutely pinpoint what my problem is with his narrative, other than the occasional...um...disorganization. But, I think it could be that since he is Eastern European, his sentence structure is not as clear to my American brain as it is to his European brain. Who knows! I have a really BAD attitude about that book.

 

To all those who like Spielvogel, more power to you, truly. I don't mean to offend. I just personally found my brain turning to oatmeal and oozing out my ears with the Human Odyssey - that may be a reflection on me and not him.

 

Faith

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for that review. You saved me from even considering it!!

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