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AO for history only?


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Higher Up and Further In from Charlotte Mason Help has American history and World from the beginning. It uses This Country of Ours and CHOW. 

 

The LDS version, Milestones Academy (I think), also has American and uses a different book. I think it's called A Child's History of America. 

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We are loosely using AO, but I supplement AO history.  I like An Island Story, and I do think that British history is important because it touches on a lot of things, but I also want to give a broader world view.  My son likes An Island Story, but he also likes SOTW, and he also is happy to read history books and encyclopedias.  So we pick and choose.  

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It's a great lecture and really worth the money and time. I haven't listened to it for a little while, so I would have to go back and listen again before summarizing. Even if I did, I think it would be difficult to summarize. It greatly changed my perspective on teaching history. I was using AO when I listened and decided to drop some of the books, including Our Island Story which had been a favorite for a long time. 

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I think AO's strength is the "science of relations." I wouldn't use it only for history. There are better "history only" approaches. 

 

I think if I were to choose one part only, it would be the free read list. If I were to choose a history curriculum alone, it would be SOTW. 

 

SWB's history lectures were really thought provoking to me and I encourage anyone planning on using old fashioned history books to listen to them. 

 

That said, we're using AO and knowing SWB's concerns has certainly affected how we discuss the old history books. (And discuss them we do, a lot. I also edit sometimes, though I usually read the old phrasing and then talk about what bias that shows.)

 

Emily

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I think AO's strength is the "science of relations." I wouldn't use it only for history. There are better "history only" approaches.

 

I think if I were to choose one part only, it would be the free read list. If I were to choose a history curriculum alone, it would be SOTW.

 

SWB's history lectures were really thought provoking to me and I encourage anyone planning on using old fashioned history books to listen to them.

 

That said, we're using AO and knowing SWB's concerns has certainly affected how we discuss the old history books. (And discuss them we do, a lot. I also edit sometimes, though I usually read the old phrasing and then talk about what bias that shows.)

 

Emily

Would you share your thoughts on better history only approaches and also elaborate on what you mean by 'science of relations'?

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I don't see any reason you should not use AO mainly for the history.  Actually, I think that in some ways their literature can be their weakest link.  It's fine when they stick to Shakespeare and things like Pilgrim's Progress, but I don't know why they choose some of the historical fiction they do - I think attaching history to literature is best done when there is a happy coincidence of a choice of "best" books that match what you are doing in history and the child.

 

We prefer more British history rather than American because we are in Canada, but AO does have quite a few American history selections - I am constantly having to prune them because it is too much for us.  Our Island Story isn't really equivalent to SOTW since it is not meant to be world history, but IMO it is a better book. 

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I don't see why you couldn't use AO for history only. If you want to lighten up or remove the British history, you can simple remove OIS and later the books by Churchill. The Robert Lacey books could be used for some light British history in the upper years if you want to keep some of it.

 

My curriculum uses OIS but I couple this with CHOW in the earliest years and spend the upper elementary years using the Foster books, Boorstin Am. history book, Landmark books and others. In the middle years, the curriculum shifts to a focus on the books by Dorothy Mills. Overall, I think the British history is lighter without sacrificing overall quality in books. I think I have a better mix of modern with older texts, too. I list some historical fiction as optional but tend to concentrate more on primary sources, nonfiction and biographies for history.

 

You're welcome to see these books by year at my blog, A Mind in the Light, if you're interested. :)

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I'm thisclose to using AO next year with my two, and I'd love more thoughts on OIS and why it might be a mistake to use it. I don't have an issue using a British history text, but if this one is problematic, I'd like to reconsider.

 

Anyone?

 

I don't really find it problematic.  I really like it and so far (we are still in the middle ages).  It also includes what is better describes as legends or tales - King Arthur features in some of the first few chapters, things like that.  But tales like that aren't necessarily presented as history.  I liken it to the story of George Washington and the cherry tree - cultural history. This Country of Ours is a little bit more problematic, because it includes a bit of outdated, and sometimes offensive, language and ideas.

 

I supplemented OIS because I wanted to add in a broader world-view.  Starting with OIS means you won't cover much of Ancient Egypt, Greece, or Rome, or much history about middle east or Asia.  This is why I added in SOTW.  I don't find SOTW a perfect solution either, which is why I like combining several resources.  Actually, some of the stories in SOTW are also found in OIS, so there is some overlap, particularly when it comes to British history.

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AO history is complete rubbish. Our Island Story is an inaccurate nationalist fantasy.

 

Free programs that teach inaccurate history, and pass on the worst bigotry and racism of the past, are not worth what one pays for them. And ones child pays in the end.

 

Bill

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AO history is complete rubbish. Our Island Story is an inaccurate nationalist fantasy.

 

Free programs that teach inaccurate history, and pass on the worst bigotry and racism of the past, are not worth what one pays for them. And ones child pays in the end.

 

Bill

 

Can you expand on this?  What history would you recommend?  Do you like AO for other subjects?

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FWIW, I don't think OIS is rubbish and SWB didn't present it as such. It's a product of its times, but it's still an engaging narrative. We enjoyed it. However, SWB did cause me to reconsider its value as a history spine for young children. There are better options available. I still like AO, but I use it as more of a book list than a curriculum plan now. For those of you wondering about OIS, see if you can find a way to listen to the lecture. It answered a lot of questions for me.

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"A product of its times" is a euphemism for being grossly racist and bigoted. "Engaging narratives" that teach false and inaccurate history are dangerous when presented as authentic history texts. When the values are ugly (on top of being inaccurate) being entertaining or engaging is not really a big plus. Children tend to drink in such things a "truths." Not good.

 

Bill

 

 

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Bill- just curious- have you read OIS in its entirety?

I have no desire to debate. Simply wondering.

 

I have. It is highly inaccurate like HE Marshall's other children's history book on American "History." To use these is a good way to mis-educate children, unless one is studying the books as a "product of its times."

 

Bill

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Would you please post a list of the inaccuracies? Thank you

 

Sure. No problem. Might be a long thread.

 

Starting with Chapter 1 Sentences 1-3:

 

ONCE upon a time there was a giant called Neptune. When he was quite a tiny boy, Neptune loved the sea. All day long he played in it, swimming, diving, and laughing gleefully as the waves dashed over him.

 

In reality there never was a giant named Neptune, and these events are fantasy.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 4-5.

 

As he grew older he came to know and love the sea so well that the sea and the waves loved him too, and acknowledged him to be their king. At last people said he was not only king of the waves, but god of the sea.

 

This is also not true, but a warped version of a mythological story.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 6-8.

 

Neptune had a very beautiful wife who was called Amphitrite. He had also many sons. As each son became old enough to reign, Neptune made him king over an island.

 

Not true.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 9-10.

 

Neptune's fourth son was called Albion. When it came to his turn to receive a kingdom, a great council was called to decide upon an island for him.

 

Beginning of untrue nationalist fantasy presented as "history."

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 11-12.

 

Now Neptune and Amphitrite loved Albion more than any of their other children. This made it very difficult to chose which island should be his.

 

Extension of the untruths.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 13.

 

The mermaids and mermen, as the wonderful people who live in the sea are called, came from all parts of the world with news of beautiful islands.

 

Mermaid and mermen don't actually exist, and the story is make-believe.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 14.

 

But after hearing about them, Neptune and Amphitrite would shake their heads and say, "No, that is not good enough for Albion."

 

Not factual.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 15

 

At last a little mermaid swam into the pink and white coral cave in which the council was held.

 

Not factual.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 16-19

 

She was more beautiful than any mermaid who had yet come to the council. Her eyes were merry and honest, and they were blue as the sky and the sea. Her hair was as yellow as fine gold, and in her cheeks a lovely pink came and went. When she spoke, her voice sounded as clear as a bell and as soft as the whisper of the waves, as they ripple upon the shore.

 

Are we sensing a trend?

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 20-26

 

"O Father Neptune," she said, "let Albion come to my island. It is a beautiful little island. It lies like a gem in the bluest of waters. There the trees and the grass are green, the cliffs are white and the sands are golden. There the sun shines and the birds sing. It is a land of beauty. Mountains and valleys, broad lakes and swift-flowing rivers, all are there. Let Albion come to my island."

 

Marshall substitutes actual history with nationalist fantasy (a trend which continues unabated)

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 27-28

 

"Where is this island?" said Neptune and Amphitrite both at once. They thought it must indeed be a beautiful land if it were only half as lovely as the little mermaid said.

 

Not a single truth told thus far.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 29-32

 

It was a wonderful sight to see them as they swam along. Their white arms gleamed in the sunshine, and their golden hair floated out over the water like fine seaweed. Never before had so many of the sea-folk been gathered together at one place, and the noise of their tails flapping through the water brought all the little fishes and great sea monsters out, eager to know what was happening. They swam and swam until they came to the little green island with the white cliffs and yellow sands.

 

Ditto

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 33-34

 

As soon as it came in sight, Neptune raised himself on a big wave, and when he saw the little island lying before him, like a beautiful gem in the blue water, just as the mermaid had said, he cried out in joy, "This is the island of my love. Albion shall rule it and Albion it shall be called."

 

Good gravy, it is unrelenting.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 34

 

So Albion took possession of the little island, which until then had been called Samothea, and he changed its name to Albion, as Neptune had said should be done.

 

Imagine a student citing this in an exam. Has there been one accurate statement yet?

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 35-38

 

For seven years Albion reigned over his little island. At the end of that time he was killed in a fight with the hero Hercules. This was a great grief to Neptune and Amphitrite. But because of the love they bore to their son Albion, they continued to love and watch over the little green island which was called by his name.

 

This is going to take longer than expected. Sorry to only get through the first 38 sentences, but I'll be hard back at it in the morning.

 

This is exciting!

 

Bill

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The mermaids and mermen, as the wonderful people who live in the sea are called, came from all parts of the world with news of beautiful islands.

 

Mermaid and mermen don't actually exist

 

Citation, please?

 

Seriously though, it's a weird way to start any kind of history book. There are plenty of history texts that begin with a national myth as a way of engaging the reader, but before or after the telling there's some sort of explanation of its mythical status. And the little mermaids in this one are kind of twee.

 

On the other hand ... I have Wee Girl reading Marshall's "Scotland's Story" right now, after my explaining that the people and historical events are real, but the anecdotes are stories made up to help you remember who's who. So Culloden and Stirling Bridge are real happenings, but Robert Bruce's spider is to show his determination in the face of defeat, and Prince Charlie's kindly robber friends may not have been as kindly as all that. I have always felt that there's a place for learning cultural history and national mythos in the younger years, and Great Girl (for instance) didn't seem to get to college under the impression that Rome's founders were really suckled by a She-Wolf.

 

But that said, I wouldn't be leaving Wee Girl to read these stories if they required lots of intervention and explanation about other people being "savages" or unenlightened subjects needing a good colonization. The English do take a few hits, but they can put up with it.

 

Other than her Scottish history and Beowulf, though, I haven't been a huge fan of Marshall. I don't like to have to edit or explain as I read.

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Sure, but the weird thing is that it flows from Brutus to Julius Caesar without a sense that we're going from myth to history. My smallest would know that the beginning was made up; but she'd likely conclude that the Roman conquest in the next chapter was likewise made up. It's the lack of signaling that's odd.

 

ETA: On reading more carefully I see Marshall ends with "Some people think it is only a fairy tale." But the beginning of the next chapter inserts Brutus into the historical narrative: "so we must pass on to the time when another great warrior [Julius Caesar] heard of the little lonely island and came to conquer it."

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Sure. No problem. Might be a long thread.

 

Starting with Chapter 1 Sentences 1-3:

 

ONCE upon a time there was a giant called Neptune. When he was quite a tiny boy, Neptune loved the sea. All day long he played in it, swimming, diving, and laughing gleefully as the waves dashed over him.

 

In reality there never was a giant named Neptune, and these events are fantasy.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 4-5.

 

As he grew older he came to know and love the sea so well that the sea and the waves loved him too, and acknowledged him to be their king. At last people said he was not only king of the waves, but god of the sea.

 

This is also not true, but a warped version of a mythological story.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 6-8.

 

Neptune had a very beautiful wife who was called Amphitrite. He had also many sons. As each son became old enough to reign, Neptune made him king over an island.

 

Not true.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 9-10.

 

Neptune's fourth son was called Albion. When it came to his turn to receive a kingdom, a great council was called to decide upon an island for him.

 

Beginning of untrue nationalist fantasy presented as "history."

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 11-12.

 

Now Neptune and Amphitrite loved Albion more than any of their other children. This made it very difficult to chose which island should be his.

 

Extension of the untruths.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 13.

 

The mermaids and mermen, as the wonderful people who live in the sea are called, came from all parts of the world with news of beautiful islands.

 

Mermaid and mermen don't actually exist, and the story is make-believe.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 14.

 

But after hearing about them, Neptune and Amphitrite would shake their heads and say, "No, that is not good enough for Albion."

 

Not factual.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 15

 

At last a little mermaid swam into the pink and white coral cave in which the council was held.

 

Not factual.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 16-19

 

She was more beautiful than any mermaid who had yet come to the council. Her eyes were merry and honest, and they were blue as the sky and the sea. Her hair was as yellow as fine gold, and in her cheeks a lovely pink came and went. When she spoke, her voice sounded as clear as a bell and as soft as the whisper of the waves, as they ripple upon the shore.

 

Are we sensing a trend?

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 20-26

 

"O Father Neptune," she said, "let Albion come to my island. It is a beautiful little island. It lies like a gem in the bluest of waters. There the trees and the grass are green, the cliffs are white and the sands are golden. There the sun shines and the birds sing. It is a land of beauty. Mountains and valleys, broad lakes and swift-flowing rivers, all are there. Let Albion come to my island."

 

Marshall substitutes actual history with nationalist fantasy (a trend which continues unabated)

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 27-28

 

"Where is this island?" said Neptune and Amphitrite both at once. They thought it must indeed be a beautiful land if it were only half as lovely as the little mermaid said.

 

Not a single truth told thus far.

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 29-32

 

It was a wonderful sight to see them as they swam along. Their white arms gleamed in the sunshine, and their golden hair floated out over the water like fine seaweed. Never before had so many of the sea-folk been gathered together at one place, and the noise of their tails flapping through the water brought all the little fishes and great sea monsters out, eager to know what was happening. They swam and swam until they came to the little green island with the white cliffs and yellow sands.

 

Ditto

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 33-34

 

As soon as it came in sight, Neptune raised himself on a big wave, and when he saw the little island lying before him, like a beautiful gem in the blue water, just as the mermaid had said, he cried out in joy, "This is the island of my love. Albion shall rule it and Albion it shall be called."

 

Good gravy, it is unrelenting.

 

Chapter 1 Sentence 34

 

So Albion took possession of the little island, which until then had been called Samothea, and he changed its name to Albion, as Neptune had said should be done.

 

Imagine a student citing this in an exam. Has there been one accurate statement yet?

 

Chapter 1 Sentences 35-38

 

For seven years Albion reigned over his little island. At the end of that time he was killed in a fight with the hero Hercules. This was a great grief to Neptune and Amphitrite. But because of the love they bore to their son Albion, they continued to love and watch over the little green island which was called by his name.

 

This is going to take longer than expected. Sorry to only get through the first 38 sentences, but I'll be hard back at it in the morning.

 

This is exciting!

 

Bill

When we read it it was obvious to us that the author was starting with a myth.

I hope you can share inaccuracies you've found from the remainder of the text.

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This is going to take longer than expected. Sorry to only get through the first 38 sentences, but I'll be hard back at it in the morning.

 

Well, I think "Chapter 1 is a myth" would have sufficed. But then we all already knew that.

 

It's probably more helpful to evaluate the overall message of the book, which is what SWB did in her talk -- not to beat a dead horse, but her approach was more persuasive, a little less hyperbolic. 

 

What Rebecca Fraser had to say in her preface of The Story of Britain was helpful. While acknowledging the value of histories like Our Island Story which are "heavily biographical, extremely colourful and full of adventures which made them easy to remember" she admits that "the world has moved on . . . what might seem heroic to an earlier generation appears in a different guise today."  

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Yeah. I had a very hard time with that  one and a lot of 'history' from that period.

 

I either find one of two things:  The myths and tall tales are woven right into actual events so that it's difficult to discern which things are stories and which things have at least some archeological backing. The myths are pulled from past or multiple religions and cultural histories and presented as 'myths' but everything Christianity is presented as factual.

 

 

 

 

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Why in the world would one use such stuff?

 

I  don't use it. I used to use it, not as a history text, but more as free reading. And we enjoyed the stories. SWB's talk persuaded me to put it away altogether. Your arguments, the tack you take, would never have persuaded me. All I'm saying is that you might try a different approach.

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I don't use it. I used to use it, not as a history text, but more as free reading. And we enjoyed the stories. SWB's talk persuaded me to put it away altogether. Your arguments, the tack you take, would never have persuaded me. All I'm saying is that you might try a different approach.

So you, me, and SWB all agree that the book should be put away.

 

Common ground.

 

Most of the AO "history" books are nasty business.

 

Bill

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Would you share what you use for history?

We did (most of) the AO Y1 literature list last year, but subbed out Island Story, 50 Famous Stories, and Viking Tales for a DIY study of early American history using picture books (lots of Jean Fritz, Betsy Maestro, etc).  

 

This coming year, I'm planning to do (most of) the Y2 literature list, but am subbing out This Country of Ours, Island Story, and CHOW for SOTW 1.  Because we're going to be in ancient history, I'm switching out some things in the lit list, too. I'm saving Robin Hood for the next year, when I plan to be in Medieval history, and I'm moving A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales to the schedule (off of the free read list) in its place, since they're Greek myths.  I skip Trial and Triumph and Parables of Nature, too. Too preachy for me. ;) But if you're just looking at history, those probably weren't titles you were considering anyway. 

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No. Accurate. Marshall is not a serious historian. She was a woman with deep seated bigotries that showed in her fiction.

 

Why in the world would one use such stuff?

 

Bill

Because the two books of hers I use--mentioned above--show no sign of deep-seated bigotries? Or are you limiting the argument to specific texts?

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:lurk5:

 

I've been away. It's been a while since I've seen Bill here stirring the pot. ;)

 

I love, love, LOVE it when Bill comes back. I NEED him to be a consistent factor in my otherwise inconsistent life. It's just so comforting to me to read his posts. If he ever goes away or starts saying anything different, I'm going to be even more traumatized, than I already am.

 

Bill :grouphug: Thanks for being here and posting. Don't EVER change. PLEASE!!!!

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So, I am trying to piece together what SWB's argument against CHOW or OIS might be. Is it mostly to do with the age of the text? Have we learned so much more in 100 years that they aren't useful anymore? Is it to do with racism? Western European bias? I'm truly looking for information here...I'm well steeped in AO and CM, and conflicted about some of the history scope and sequence.

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So, I am trying to piece together what SWB's argument against CHOW or OIS might be. Is it mostly to do with the age of the text? Have we learned so much more in 100 years that they aren't useful anymore? Is it to do with racism? Western European bias? I'm truly looking for information here...I'm well steeped in AO and CM, and conflicted about some of the history scope and sequence.

Go to the link 'Teacher's Notes' up thread. I have no idea what SWB's take on this is, and I am guessing no one feels comfortable sharing. I still haven't had that question answered despite having asked several times. Regardless, the Teacher's Notes link provided all the information I needed. May help you as well.

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So, I am trying to piece together what SWB's argument against CHOW or OIS might be. Is it mostly to do with the age of the text? Have we learned so much more in 100 years that they aren't useful anymore? Is it to do with racism? Western European bias? I'm truly looking for information here...I'm well steeped in AO and CM, and conflicted about some of the history scope and sequence.

 

I am not aware that she has any argument against CHOW. To the contrary, I am under the impression that she considers it a good choice. We have loved and used CHOW for about 20+ years, and AO uses it, too. I think CHOW would be a good place to start if you're looking for an alternative to OIS, but the pace at which AO schedules it is way too slow if that were all we were using. 

 

Not to sound like the broken record that I fear I am becoming, but is there any way you could listen to the lecture? It would answer your questions.

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Go to the link 'Teacher's Notes' up thread. I have no idea what SWB's take on this is, and I am guessing no one feels comfortable sharing. I still haven't had that question answered despite having asked several times. Regardless, the Teacher's Notes link provided all the information I needed. May help you as well.

 

I would feel comfortable sharing if I had the time and knowledge to summarize her argument, but it's not that simple. I'm so sorry. I wish I could, but I feel that I would do such a paltry job of it and not give it the justice it deserves. I just don't have time right now to go back and take notes to make sure I convey things accurately.

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I would feel comfortable sharing if I had the time and knowledge to summarize her argument, but it's not that simple. I'm so sorry. I wish I could, but I feel that I would do such a paltry job of it and not give it the justice it deserves. I just don't have time right now to go back and take notes to make sure I convey things accurately.

Thank you. : )

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