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Need a get-er-done World History Curriculum


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This is my last year homeschooling, if all goes as planned. I work part time, and high school just takes up way more of my time that I had imagined... there aren't enough hours in the day to give both kids the attention they need, so we're looking at our local private Christian school for next year. We had our admissions interview yesterday, and that's when I learned that their ninth graders all take world history, which ds isn't doing this year. It's a very small school with not a lot of flexibility with scheduling, so it isn't going to be possible to work that course into his tenth grade schedule next year. So, I need to get him started ASAP on a world history course that he can complete before August. I'm looking for something that:

~Can be done quickly and efficiently without a lot of extra fluff. Read the chapter and answer the questions sort of thing. Also minimal parent involvement, since that is part of my problem for this year.

~Preferably from a Christian worldview, although I'd settle for secular non-biased. 

~Inexpensive. I already spent my curriculum budget for this school year, so hoping that this isn't going to cost me $200 buying student text, teacher guide, answer key, test booklet, test key, etc. etc. 

So far the curriculum that seems to best fit the bill is Master Books World History by Jim Stobaugh. I like that it is not only Christian, but incorporates critical thinking on worldviews rather than just regurgitating facts. (Also I'll be dropping our Worldviews course for this year to make room in the day for history, because the school does worldviews in 12th grade.) I like that it is supposed to only take 20-30 minutes a day to complete, which means that he could easily double up on the lessons each day. And I like the price. My concerns are that 1) there aren't very many reviews out there, and the ones that are were written by people who were provided with a free copy in exchange for their honest opinion. I can't tell whether those reviewers even used the curriculum. 2) there is a separate British history book. I can't tell whether or not British history has been left out of the world history book. I don't want to use it if it isn't going to be a comprehensive overview of the world. I'm okay with sticking with Western Civilization, but I don't want British history left out. I'd love feedback from anyone out there who is familiar with this curriculum. Possibly it could still work by supplementing another book on Britain, but it would have to be short. I can't overload him with our time crunch.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

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Thanks, I had eliminated Notgrass because of the other components, but you're right, I could just skip them.

Narrowed it down to Notgrass, Abeka, and Switched-on-Schoolhouse. Showed my son the previews online to see what his preference might be, and he didn't like any of them! History isn't his favorite subject so I'm not going to find any option he *likes*, just the least detestable. 

Notgrass seems like it is the most readable. He didn't like the "projects". I'm wondering if just answering the questions in the Student Review is good enough? Maybe make him do a select number of projects instead of one for every week?

Thought he might go for SOS since it is on the computer, but he wasn't thrilled. I think he's leaning towards Abeka because it looked like the least amount of work... truly a read the section and answer the questions program. I'm worried the boring factor will end up making it not as easy as it looks... boring history is half the reason I was drawn to classical, so it is really too bad we're having to do it this way.

Any feedback on those three programs? Also looking for an idea of estimated time to complete each lesson, since he's going to have to double up.

Also forgot to mention - kids had to take an assessment as part of admissions to this school. Both of them placed 3-4 years above their grade level for math, reading, spelling, and sentence construction. Go WTM!! 

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I agree with you that Abeka is a simple and cheap choice because it's just one text, read and answer the questions, unless you want to get the tests and such. I have no idea how interesting it is. My DS17 is doing their geography this year and he says it's "ok" as far as interesting goes (not much help). There are samples on the website where you could read through a section, or get him to.

We like Notgrass here. If you skip the Bible parts, that will cut down on a lot of the reading, and also, every 5th lesson is a Bible lesson. If you skip those lessons, that cuts down the whole program to about 120 lessons, so maybe a little easier to get done in a shorter time. Sometimes the original source documents are a bit long to read, but not as a rule, and there isn't one for every single lesson. I would say that would probably make the Notgrass lessons shorter to read than Abeka. The projects are easily skipped, or you can pick and choose among them, or even substitute them for the occasional history essay. You could absolutely take a "read and answer questions" approach, and the quizzes and tests are in the Student Review Book. It's quite a bit more money than Abeka, though.

I have one doing Notgrass right now. He takes a very thorough approach to history - reads everything, all the Bible, and then the commentary in the Student book - so it takes him awhile, but if you just read the lesson, the original source doc, and do the questions, you could probably get that done in about 30 minutes (of course, that's a guess).

I have not personally used the Stobaugh course at Master Books, but it does seem to fit what you are looking for - short lessons, one assignment at the end of each lesson, straight-forward, cheap. I think I would go with that if I were you; it seems like the simplest choice. I'm pretty sure British history hasn't been left out as it pertains to world history, just judging by the table of contents (I see stuff about Crusades, the Reformation, WW1 - all of those things had something to do with Britain). I know someone on another board who was using it with her daughter and liked it, but ultimately dropped it because they prefer doing history by just reading living books, so I don't think it was a problem with the book itself. But yes, there aren't many reviews.

I know nothing about SOS, except for another poster here who has used some of the courses with her daughter (CalmingTea) and she says they're boring. 😊

I hope that is somewhat helpful.

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Thanks hollyhock2, that was helpful. Now I'm reconsidering Stobaugh. I decided to email Master Books and see what they say about the inclusion of British history. I didn't show that sample to DS, so maybe I will do that. If he likes it then it might be worth using it even if it is Britain-light. Maybe he'll actually even remember what he has learned this time around.

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Well, I hate to make your decision more difficult, but after further investigation, I found some reviews of the Stobaugh at Amazon and CBD. Have you seen them? Most of them are not very favorable, saying the curriculum is disjointed and scattered, and also doesn't include nearly enough information. They might be worth looking into. Of course, there are some positive reviews as well, but maybe that would give you more insight into the course.

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AOP Monarch (same thing as SOS) would fit all of your criteria.

It's seriously boring. I almost had my dd drop the history, but we decided to stick with it because it is SO convenient and easy to plan and she hates the actual lessons but she LOVES that she knows what to expect, and that if she studies, makes her flashcards and takes notes she can almost always achieve a B average or even an A.  The program's quizzes and tests can be very stupid. At least 1/10 of the questions are stupid trick questions where they very slightly change the information.  On the other hand it keeps your kids on their toes to actually memorize the names of people, wars, etc.  You do have to add "Projects" - I added Document Based Questions and essays from a book from Amazon. And you do have to grade research reports- I went through and deleted a BUNCH of research reports, so that there would be one per Unit.  But it's good practice for your student to learn to plan ahead, gather library books and internet sources, and to use proper citations and a bibliography- all skills they'll need a lot of in college.

Do we love MOnarch history? No, but it's definitely getting the job done!

(PS WE HATE the Science, or at least the Biology. Whoever wrote it, or whatever team wrote it, seemed like they don't speak English and were quoting random facts trying to string them together. awful.) 

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

DS decided on Notgrass. More than I was hoping to pay for this but the writing just seemed the most engaging. If he can manage to pump out a couple of lessons per day without too much pain and suffering, and actually remembers something of it after he's done, hopefully it will be worth it!

He was actually really close to choosing Stobaugh. He really likes apologetics so he was drawn to some of the chapter assignments like "compare the gods of Sumeria with the Judean God". But when we compared the assignments with what he actually had to know for the test, he changed his mind. For people who might have a natural ability at picking out the significant facts to memorize this might not be an issue, but ds isn't comfortable with that. He wanted just the short questions and answers that highlight the specific facts he's supposed to learn. 

And for anyone out there who might be interested, here's the response I received from Master Books when I emailed them about the British history content:

We are in the process of combining British and World History into a comprehensive course with objective questions, similar to the American History course. I believe it will be available by this fall.

The current World History volume does not contain a great deal of British history.

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