Jump to content


History Help/Advice

Recommended Posts

I have a right brain/VSL learner.  We've never done American history so I thought hey, why not do that for 7th and 8th grade.  And then the brilliant idea came to combine him with high schooler because high schooler is my dyslexic struggler and it is just a subject (I work on Lit/Writing separately).  So I perused the aisles of the internet and decided on Biblioplan - Early Modern because I thought- yeah, you really should study the history as a "world" thing not just what was happening in the North America.  So I order the kit and kaboodle (and had some of the spines on my shelves) and we finally get started for the first week.  I open up that companion book and I freeze.  I can't breathe.  It is just full of facts, facts, and more facts.  I suppose the narrative is there somewhere but no real flow.  I forged through the first week but no, I can't do this.  I've actually come close to full on panic attack mode.  No.  It kills me that I'm going to lose $50.00 on sending it back but that's the savings on the ambulance trip to the ER :glare:


So I've got options for my high schooler and not worried about him but what can I do for my 7th grader.  I love HOD but he's not ready for the American history guide (he'd do well in Preparing) but I feel terrible that he's never had a lick of American history.  Sure, he knows stuff.  I've handed him books on the Civil War (currently reading and now working on creating battles with the zillions of plastic soldiers I have) and one on World War I and now thinks he's an expert.  Illustrated/comic style history books work although reading below-level historical fiction holds his interest, too.  He's reading fine but enjoys the easier pace.  Do I work on Preparing and just give him American history books for free time reading?


I've thought about the WinterPromise American Crossing - but just using the guide and all the HTTW material - which I could just order the CDs but all the printing....I'm not good at all the printing.


He enjoys some hands-on but not necessarily constructing the covered wagon (we own a lot of Playmobil).


I just wanted a solid wonderful introduction to American history.  Engaging, visual (although he's not a video watcher) that runs smoothly - not skipping around.  I like reading the material but don't want to be the teacher from the Peanut's classroom - blah blah blah -- which is what he was feeling when I rambled through key stuff in the Companion.


Any thoughts? Ideas?  Total different approach?  I need something as a guide because I'm not creative in lesson planning.  I've got a lot on my plate these days and really need the option of open and go without pages filled with lots of words about stuff that don't work cohesively.


Well, if you read this far thank you.  Off to look at the Timberdoodle catalog - maybe there is something in there that would work.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is he with audiobooks and things on audio?  If he's ok that way, you could get the lower TC US History course, the one that is more distinctly high school level, and pop that on while he's doing his soldiers and projects.


I think you're right to validate his interests and roll with them.  It sounds like he has angles to history he really likes and sometimes curriculum ignores that and says you have to pursue other angles or all the angles.  If he likes battles, maybe get him more books on battles (DK, nat geo visuals, etc.) and just let him work through US history that way?  Goodness knows our country has enough battles.


So that is to say yes, return the Biblioplan if it doesn't seem right.  You know what else is weird is the assumption that our dc are very gestalt just because they are xyz label.  The Hannaford book on dominance really takes issue with that, and our OT buys into it.  So you can be VSL but actually be a very *linear* thinker.  I don't know your ds.  I'm just saying it's kind of curious that he's latched onto this ONE area and that ONE area fascinates him.  Maybe the battles are very b&w, linear, not so gestalt?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Engaging and visual American history--my son LOVES Notgrass. They have extensive samples on their site--you don't have to do the writing and literature, but I recommend using the We The People book (original source material), the timeline, and the mapwork. The map work is really good. If you think it's too light (opinions vary, and it is written for a range of ages), you can always add in non-fiction topical books, articles, etc. if you aren't using the literature portion.


It's also quite independent. It's laid out to be that way, and there is zero prep involved. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you looked at the history books by Cheryl Harness? They are long picture books, so there are illustrations but a lot of information in the text. She has different books for various periods of US history, so you could just read them in chronological order. Your library may have them. It's not a curriculum, but it might work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you considered Joy Hakim's A History of the US set?  Maybe pump that up with historical fiction, timeline, mapwork, and documentaries and call it good.  In 7th grade, my DS loved the war and weapons angle.


I purchased Biblioplan Medieval and still get the hives thinking about that Companion text.  The color alone sends me into orbit.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the looks of those Cheryl Harness books!  I was using the Hakim book as a spine for the week and he tuned out.  I think I've figure out that he needs to read the information and then find the right file in his brain for it.  I love reading aloud to him and he does enjoy it, too, but the comprehension part is about 40/60 at this point - but perhaps it is still the summer brain as we started late, took last week off because of sick people all around.  I do have the Notgrass Civics set so maybe I could try a week with that and see how he interacted.  I did pull my Truthquest and perhaps I just need to read books through - maybe just make a timeline.  Anybody know of some good, thorough timeline options? And then stop and visit rabbit trails (I'm expecting Revolutionary War) and not worry about it.


I've never been so consumed by a book/curriculum ever until that Companion guide!  Holy moly! so not my teaching style.  Oh nooooo.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...