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What is your favorite History curriculum that actually gets done?

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History at our house is the first to get put aside when we are running short in time.  This year we have a 1st and 3rd grader as well as a 2 year old who's sole purpose in life is to undo any and every plan I come up with.  This includes nicely laid out history and science lessons. I've sort of have to do a minimalist approach to school this year. But that's ok.  Someday we will do it all.   This year we are attempting History odyssey.  It's a good program and I'm hoping to get back to it after the holidays, but it's just not getting done in our school so far this year.    

 

What other programs are you using that you find it simple enough that it does get done and your kids like it?  

 

Also, for those of you using History odyssey and have stuck with it for the middle and upper grades have you and the kids enjoyed it?  

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We are partial to Story of the World. If you can't get it all done you can listen to the story, color the map and talk about it. On busy weeks listen to the audio book. My kids loved it.

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Yep, at that age, SOTW, as much or as little as can get done in the worksheets, narrations, maps, extra books, crafts are great, but at least read and color and look at your map. Nothing else is essential if you are working on your writing and reading comprehension in other places. Maybe watch some videos once in awhile. Read or listen to audio books like Magic Treehouse. My kids got tons from those.

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Elementary-aged kid here.  We do a unit study approach because nothing will get done that is down on someone else's paper.  I have the flexibility with this to stretch it out, do long projects, shorten bits that aren't interesting, and wait for the books from the library.  I think next year we're going to attempt History At Our House.  He signed up for one of the Big Picture courses this year and loved it.  Having an online teacher/class with a subject he's passionate about would be a nice bonus and let us follow rabbit trails on our own.

 

We did History Odyssey for 6th years ago.  Hated it and never went back.  Moved on to Creek Edge Press and that was nice - even pace, things he could complete alone or with me, and flexibility in resources/projects.

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We used History Odyssey for two years.  I stopped using it for two reasons: too many moving parts/projects/assignments, etc. and I decided I wanted our home school to primarily use narration as a learning tool.  It IS a good program.  I will miss the maps in higher grades, all nicely laid out to correspond to what is being learned about.

 

Here's what we did last year and now this year that is painless and gets done:

 

SOTW is our spine.  We read one section, three times a week.  My daughter narrates the reading two of those three times.  The time she doesn't narrate I let her do the coloring page for that chapter.  We always do the included map work and find relevant places either on our glob, our big wall map, or in an atlas (the atlas is especially helpful when clarifying wars and such).

 

Twice a week we read from a living book, usually we have three per year that take place during the time span covered by SOTW.  This year we did Of Courage Undaunted (out of the time span but my daughter loves Lewis and Clark), are now reading Lord of the Nutcracker Men (excellent WWI book), and we'll finish with Number the Stars.  Again, we find places on maps as we can.

 

We talk about what we're reading from either SOTW or our other book all the time.  For Lord of the Nutcracker Men, she is alternating oral narration with writing letters - in the book, the main character Johnny receives letters from his father at the front.  She's taking the part of Johnny and writing back, including things that have happened to Johnny in the chapter.  She thinks this is great fun and has no idea she's writing narrations for me. :)

 

No projects, even though those were fun.  Just reading, talking, narrating, and map work.  She's in 3rd grade and we're finishing the SOTW series this year.  I plan to do a similar lay out next year, but with A Little History of the World. 

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We started with a 2nd and 4th grader (last year), but we have had the best luck sticking with Child's History of the World. We occasionally lap book or do a project or read a library book to extend certain events. We're finishing Romans now (having done Greeks and Ancient Egypt), and we're excited to move to Middle Ages after Christmas.

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SOTW gets done here. Audiobook, colouring page, narration questions, mapwork. Often that's it, but I do request some of the suggested books from our library and they sometimes get read, sometimes by my 8yo independently. Occasionally we do one of the extra projects, if it is appealing and simple.

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For elementary, I use Story of the World.  If you WANT to use the activity guide with the supplemental books, mapwork, and projects, great.  I don't do a lot of the projects, but we generally do the mapwork and at least some of the supplemental books, and we try to go over the questions, but if life gets really busy, just reading the chapter is plenty at that age.

 

We do use History Odyssey starting with SOTW volume 3, but that's going to vary depending on the kid.  I happen to have the SOTW AGs for volumes 1 and 2, but I wanted something more independent when my oldest son hit early modern, so I bought History Odyssey and haven't looked back.  We skip a lot of the projects in it and some of the writing (really just depends on the week and how much writing they've done in other subjects), but for older elementary, I love the questions and how it teaches note-taking and all of that, and my oldest son has loved pretty much all of the literature selections (like, really loved them -- they've been spot on, and he often tells me that he read more than assigned because it was that good).  I go through HO at the beginning of the year and make notes about what I want him to do, and then he mostly works on his own, and then I just answer questions, discuss as I can, and check his work.  He's used it from early modern level 1 in third grade up through middle ages level 2 in sixth this year, and I feel like it's a really good fit for him.  (We do skip Child's History of the World and use Human Odyssey for middle school instead of Story of Mankind, although we do use SOTW and Usborne in the level 1s and Kingfisher for the level 2s).

 

As an aside, my DD has used HO from sixth grade, with early modern level 2, modern level 2, and middle ages level 3 (EM and modern took more than a year each).  She's liked it okay.  Some of it is quite hard and sometimes tedious.  I feel like it's a good program and that it accomplishes a lot, but it's maybe not her favorite.  Also, she felt that the literature selections for EM and modern have been a mixed bag.  She hated Oliver Twist and Things Fall Apart, but loved Johnny Tremain, The Jungle Book, and Around the World in 80 Days.  I'm using middle ages level 3 as part of our program this year, omitting some of the stuff, and adding in some other stuff, and I think she's getting a solid middle ages program overall.

 

Fwiw, my second and third sons are 2nd and K this year and are working through SOTW volume 2.  But I think they're not quite ready for volume 3 for next year, and the current Ker isn't going to be an independent reader anyway next year, so I'm actually thinking about doing a year of American history with them, using parts of SOTW 3 and 4 as readalouds, plus some of the stuff from the early modern and modern HO Level 1s.  I haven't decided what DS1 is doing next year.

 

But if history isn't getting done, I would just set a goal to read and discuss a couple of chapter of SOTW a week and call it good.  Maybe a map sheet.  Don't put pressure on yourself to do all the stuff.  

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We do online science and history, right else I'm afraid it wouldn't get done this year. We used to do story of the world together, when I had more energy!

This year two of my kids are using Acellus history and science , and the other two are using BJU DLO.

We also have gotten/ do get science / stem and history monthly kits for my boy, and some reading craft kits for my k5 little guy.

They also use Brain Pop to learn all sorts of science and history.

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I was going to suggest History Odyssey because that's been our always gets done curriculum. I have it planned out and supplies all set aside in advance. We don't always do as many projects as we could, but history still gets done. Sometimes it's a matter of how your organize yourself and being realistic about what will work.

 

We've used HO level one for everything except Modern when we used the SOTW AG. I wish I had used HO instead, so next year when dd1 covers the Modern era, we will be using HO. Ds is using History Odyseey level 2 Ancients this year and really enjoys it. (I don't always have all of my children in the same history rotation).

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One important detail about getting things "done" is that we all may have different definitions of what that even IS.

 

Will you feel like you're not getting SOTW done if your kids don't color maps and do their narrations?

 

Every "school" day we try to do at least one history reading, whether it's a chapter in SOTW, a chapter in a related trade book, or a picture book. Or we play a history-based game. I consider that getting it done. But if I didn't count anything without comprehension questions, a narration, themed activities, and so forth, we would really never get it done.

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Story of the World.

 

Read or listen it together and stop often to chat about it. Then the next day the kids listen to it and then you ask the questions, do the map, do the narrations etc.. Then do the next section the next day and repeat... On Friday I would have the kids go back and read two or three old narrations, review the timeline and then I would pick on old chapter to listen to - it was kind of fun. We did history around lunch time so the audio was super convient.  It usually took 20 - 30 minutes, but not all of that time was me. I could do the dishes or make a sandwich. 

 

When my youngest did it again (older kids went to a hybrid) we did after breakfast and my older two woule sometime listen and would comment on what they remembered. 

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My DS used HO for logic stage and did not like the red KFH or the way it bounced around from civilization to civilization. HO lessons had a ton of assignments to complete, and we couldn't get through it all. I modified HO lev 2 so that we used one source text and then DS kept a history notebook subdivided into maps, people, religion, events, and inventions. DS kept an electronic timeline.

I used HO lev 1 Ancients for my DD as a 2nd grader and it seemed she was too young for the material and not really retaining any of it. It felt teacher intense for what seemed so little retention. In the future, I do plan to explore HO/WTM history style notebooking, but for now, DD uses VP online,

Edited by Heathermomster
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My DS used HO for logic stage and did not like the red KFH or the way it bounced around from civilization to civilization. HO lessons had a ton of assignments to complete, and we couldn't get through it all. I modified HO lev 2 so that we used one source text and then DS kept a history notebook subdivided into maps, people, religion, events, and inventions. DS kept an electronic timeline.

 

I used HO lev 1 Ancients for my DD as a 2nd grader and it seemed she was too young for the material and not really retaining any of it. It felt teacher intense for what seemed so little retention. In the future, I do plan to explore HO/WTM history style notebooking, but for now, DD uses VP online,

Yeah, VP was great here, too.

 

DS took off with VP on-line.  He had always had an interest in History but VP on-line fired him up.  He would hop on to do lessons as soon as the computer was free.  It didn't just "get done", it got him wanting more.   :)

 

(But we also incorporated SOTW as a supplement because he loved the reading and some of the projects.)

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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We ended up using Homeschool with Minecraft (www.homeschoolwithminecraft.com) class that uses SOTW. He likes to read Horrible Histories, listen to SOTW, watch documentaries on his own terms. But, he does not like to sit down and do SOTW as a curricula. So, we do Homeschool with Minecraft on Saturdays. He sees it more as a treat than study. We listen to the SOTW and go through the study guide that comes with the Homeschool with Minecraft classes, then finish up with a building assignment. At the beginning, he was speeding through the study portion just to get to the building. But, recently he seems to be more interested in the information presented in the study guide.

 

 

 

Edited by MasaMama
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SOTW. I break the year into 5 blocks. Then alternate science and history, it keeps the class work reasonable, we cover our subjects and both my DS8 and I look forward to a break from science to do history and vice versa. 

 

SIDE NOTE: What was killing our daily schedule was math. We are working on math fact memorization. I taught him all the ins and outs, but I was at a store earlier this year and a young lady was mumbling to herself and using her fingers to get our change. I asked her if there was a problem. Nope, that is how she learned it. I decided right there and then my child would not be like her, he would know his math facts period. Sorry for the soap box, with time for math facts, math lesson, and daily exercises math gets long. So I set a timer for 45 minutes, after 45 we stop and continue the next day. I also schedule 4 lessons per week with a make-up day on Fridays. At first, lessons stretched 2-3 days, but now he thinks it's a game to beat the clock. His math facts knowledge makes math faster and he is more accurate. Now why I digress, I found when I fixed the area where time was most spent then we had time for all our classwork.

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K12 as an independent - I have tried everything else. This is the only way it happens.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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SOTW works great with my 3rd and 2nd grader.  I like that we can adapt it to our moods and interest, so when we have time we can expand on a topic, but if it’s a busy day we can just do the read aloud and oral narration.  The activity book is easily adaptable so you can pick and choose the projects that would appeal to your kids and omit the rest.     

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We've used A Child's History of the World.  We've sometimes read a chapter a day or sometimes three times a week, then a narration of discussion, or we look up some maps.  I sometime also use some other texts that complement that - OIS, or a book with more photos, that sort of thing.

 

It gets done unless we are very pressed, because really it is just reading and enjoying the information.  The downside I suppose is there is no accountability, if keeping to a set schedule is motivating for you. I do usually have a goal for the year in terms of getting through a certain time period.

 

 

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SOTW on audio always gets "read" because it can happen while I'm making breakfast/lunch, doing dishes, or driving.  At a minimum, we talk about it, but we also always make time for read-aloud picture books or chapter books, so those are often books that correspond with our SOTW chapters.  My kids love the map work, so we do that as often as possible, but there are several chapters where the paper maps get skipped and we just look at the wall map.  We also almost always do the coloring pages and some sort of narration/copywork from what we've learned, even if it's only a sentence due to time constraints or moods.  We aim for one SOTW chapter per week.

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I've been trying to do my own thing the last couple of years, and I admit that we have not gotten as much done.  SOTW gets done best because you can listen to the audio cd's or read a chapter and do the map work at the least and do more projects when time allows.  It's the best for actually getting accomplished other than maybe a textbook.

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Liberty's Kids DVDs, SOTW audiobooks, and library books for required silent reading time. Also a lot of traveling with history of the places mixed in. Oh, and we often listen to the CC timeline song while eating lunch. Yeah, I should maybe get more deliberate about it. But honestly, my kids are doing great and already know a ton of history. I'm very deliberate about discussing history topics naturally and we have history/geography resources all over for the girls to access at any time.

 

Liberty's Kids alone, though... My girls are aces at the American Revolution and that's just from watching it several times all the way through while riding in the car.

Edited by Meagan S

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We love STow was well. When they were younger I read it to them over lunch. My older now reads it on her own. We do fewer related activities now but my kids still enjoy learning from the book

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Story of the World. One chapter a week, either read aloud or audiobook. The kids color, if we have time we do the map activity, if not we do the discussion questions (orally). We read story books, read alouds, or just play with toys related to the things we learn. So super simple. We do it once a week.

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Biblioplan/SOTW combination always gets done. We all eagerly look forward to it first thing every morning. In fact, I am trying Wayfarers out next year but I keep thinking why change what is working so well. I just love this combo!

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just picking a spine and reading for 15-20mins each day in morning time! Keep it simple!

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K12 (as an independent user), VP self-paced, and SOTW. My kiddo loves history though.

Of the 3, VP self-paced is the only one that he can do completely on his own. 

Edited by calbear

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DS was totally bored by SOTW in his first year.  Maybe this time it will be different.  But we do not use a curriculum for History.  We have Usborne and Kingfisher books on world history.  We cover one people or civilization at a time and supplement with library books.  Plus, they LOVE the "Pipo Kids' Animated World History."  They ask to watch it every time.  If you don't own it, check if your library offers it for free.   The history video is a long series that you can use as a guide.  Just pick videos to watch (generally you want to do it sequentially) and borrow books from the library to supplement it. 

Edited by bluejay
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DS was totally bored by SOTW in his first year. Maybe this time it will be different. But we do not use a curriculum for History. We have Usborne and Kingfisher books on world history. We cover one people or civilization at a time and supplement with library books. Plus, they LOVE the "Pipo Kids' Animated World History." They ask to watch it every time. If you don't own it, check if your library offers it for free. The history video is a long series that you can use as a guide. Just pick videos to watch (generally you want to do it sequentially) and borrow books from the library to supplement it.

 

Pipo is also on Hulu. We enjoy it as well.

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1st-5th (youngest took 2 years to get through book 1)
Story of the World vols. 1-4 and the Activity Books that go with them.

6th-8th
Greenleaf Guides for the Famous Men of Greece, Rome, Middle Ages, Reformation/Renaissance, etc.  and the updated books by Rob Shearer that go with them.

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History is still the first thing I put aside when it gets crazy, because my skeleton schedule is math, reading, piano, and writing/copywork.

 

BUT BUT BUUUUUT!

 

Even when it takes me ten weeks or more to get through a six week unit, nothing has stayed with my kids as much as Trail Guide to Learning. And really, though we have a separate writing program we love and do copywork with our bible study, technically all this program needs added to it is the math of your choice or some additional phonics practice for a very young student.

 

It's a great, integrated, unit study-ish, Charlotte Mason-ish program. And my kids adore it.

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I have a question....I am seeing History Oddyssey in this thread.  Is this the same as Human Odyssey by K12?  Thanks

 

No, History Odyssey and Human Odyssey are two different things. History Odyssey is by Pandia Press and follows the four-year history cycle. 

Edited by Fardo

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Another vote for SOTW. When I first started homeschooling, I used Biblioplan that first year, with a first grader, a preschool kid, and an 18 month old. UGH. I very quickly dropped BP and just did straight SOTW - 1 section per day, 3 days per week. I usually had him do an oral narration after reading. We sometimes did the mapwork and sometimes didn't. Very occasionally we did a project (I finally threw away the chicken mummy that had been sitting in salt on my fridge for 7 years!). Sometimes I got extra books from the library. Sometimes I didn't. Sometimes we did a read aloud to go with it. Sometimes we didn't. At that age, history is gravy, so don't worry so much about getting a specific amount done. Just enjoy it. My son loved the SOTW books and read them all on his kindle over and over, so even though we don't always finish a book in one year, he still knows the material.

 

Homeschooling with a toddler is HARD. It will get better next year. :) At least, that's what I'm telling myself, since I have a 2.5 year old. But I've BTDT once before, and it did get better at age 3 here. :)

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Biblioplan/SOTW combination always gets done. We all eagerly look forward to it first thing every morning. In fact, I am trying Wayfarers out next year but I keep thinking why change what is working so well. I just love this combo!

Do you just use the assigned SOTW in BP, or do you use a different combo? I am not loving jumping around in SOTW.

Edited by homeschoolwarrior

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Do you just use the assigned SOTW in BP, or do you use a different combo? I am not loving jumping around in SOTW.

We go in order. For the most part BP goes in order but a few spots they skip and go back. I read straight through. So in the first couple weeks when BP skips chpt 3 for example, I just read it and when we went more in depth on it later in BP I just said "remember when we talked about..." and may or may not quickly recap. My 1st and k'er twins last year ate it up and remembered every detail so I rarely had to re-read it. I would include other books from the library that may or may not be BP recommendations as I went. For example, my kids loved Hammurabi so I found more resources on him. I was never worried about rabbit trailing with BP because it always provided me a nice frame work to come back to. My favorite part was having the bible scheduled for me along with history. We also through in our Africa geography study and did that on Fridays.

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Story of the World and Veritas Press online self-paced History courses.

Edited by calbear
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We are using Story of Civilization right now and it is totally getting done! Mainly because I got the audio CD so when we are in the car I put on either that or Story of the Bible. Then I look through the activity book and we do a coloring page or a map page or a project, if we feel like it. But the reading gets done. 

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Story of the world. We have the activity book and of we have time we do the fun stuff but if we're rushed we just read the chapter.

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Do you just use the assigned SOTW in BP, or do you use a different combo? I am not loving jumping around in SOTW.

This is exactly why we use BP instead of straight SOTW. I like it broken down with a little more of a unit style feel. I also like how BP schedules a bunch and ou can decide each week based on your desires and schedule...

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When my kids were little we would listen to SOTW cds and supplement with other living books, movies, and documentaries.

 

In grade 5 I started using Build Your Library with my son and I LOVE it. So good!

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We have done SOTW from the beginning, and it has always gotten done. The best part is, my kids love history, and we didn't really do much except read (I'll admit I love history, so my enthusiasm has rubbed off).

 

We're almost to the end of Modern Times. We read a chapter a week along with the coloring page and the map. We find the countries on the globe, and I often read aloud other picture books during the week that go with the chapter. We don't do many of the activities in the guide. This year we added a timeline on the wall and some narrations (the kids are 8 and 11).

 

Like I said, it's mostly just reading, but it has been terrific! My kids get annoyed if I even try to skip history on Mondays and Wednesdays.

 

As an aside, this has been our geography curriculum as well. We just label the map and look at the globe. I'm amazed at what my kids know just from doing that for almost 4 years.

Edited by Homebody2
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