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Planning 9th grade ancient history and lit for the first time


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I need some help planning history/lit for next year with my first high schooler! (Yes, I'm a little terrified about navigating high school. 馃檲)

I own too many products to choose from. (*See below for a list of what I have to wade through, weed out, and work into a schedule.)

One question: How important are Socratic discussions in history and/or lit? Like, how much time do you spend working with your high schooler on history/lit or discussing with them? OR Do you find it worth it to pay for online programs that do this (like for Veritas)?

Two: I think I'm leaning towards using Romans Roads Old Western Culture with SWB's HOTAW. How much is too much? Should I not use all of Bauer's book? And finally, has anyone made a schedule for where to begin and how to align RR OWC Greeks with HOTAW?

Thank you for ANY advice you can offer!

*

What I have:

History:

Old Western Culture Greeks, Romans, Christendom, Early Moderns

Tapestry of Grace years 1-2

Picturesque Tale of Progress (goes through Explorers)

Mystery of History vol. 1-2

History of the Ancient World by Bauer (vol. 1) + study guide

Generations History of the World workbook + Preparing the World for Jesus (only part 1) world history

TimeLife set: Cradle of Civilization, Ancient Egypt, Historic India, Ancient China, Classical Greece, Imperial Rome, Ancient America, Age of Faith, Early Islam, Age of Kings, Renaissance, Age of Exploration, Age of Enlightenment, African Kingdoms, Rise of Russia

PIG Guide to Western Civilization

Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World

Genevieve Foster: World of Augustus Caesar, Columbus and Sons, Capt. John Smith, George Washington

Landmarks

Literature:

TOG yrs 1-2

Resources:

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Center for Lit鈥檚 stuff鈥擳eaching the Classics

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Well-Educated Mind

聽聽聽聽聽聽 How to Read a Book

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Invitation to the Classics

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Understanding Fiction

聽聽聽聽聽聽 PIG guide to English & American Literature

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Progeny Press Guides Hiding Place and PDF Scarlet Letter

Stobaugh World Literature and Skills for Rhetoric

Old Western Culture

Generations Great Christian Classics Vol. 1

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We are just finishing up SWB's HotAW here. We did basically 3 chapters a week, answering the Comprehension questions and who, what, wheres for every chapter, then they picked one of the three chapters to do the Critical Thinking assignment for. It was great. The schedule kept us on track (with some wiggle room) and the study guide questions kicked off some good discussion of the history topics.

For literature we read some selected Bible stories, the great abridged Gilgamesh that @Lori D. recommended, and then we did The Iliad, The Odyssey, and some selected Greek plays all in conjunction with the Dr. Vandiver lectures from Great Courses. More good discussion was had!

Our focus is heavy on foreign language and very solid on math, science and writing. I like history and literature to be subjects that are "interesting" and "meaty" without becoming a chore. It can be tricky; the Iliad has a lot of chapters about fighting and a lot of emphasis on formal introductions - which was the fashion of the time but, I was told, rather repetitive. Also, Homer's use of delay as a story-telling tactic was not equally appreciated by everyone in our audience. 馃槀

Edited by SusanC
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Discussion is vital. V.I.T.A.L. Some of our best聽homeschool memories are our discussions about lit and history and economics and philosophy. Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to peek inside your teen's mind by hiring someone else to do the discussions! 鉂

Too many resources can make it a drudge. Pick a good one and do it in depth, don't try to do all the good ones at one time. SWB's is an excellent choice.

I stopped closely correlating their lit selections with their history in high school. We did "ancients" but I didn't even try聽to match聽up reading The Odyssey with when we studied Homer. I just had a list of what we wanted to read that year and we read it.

Edited by Momto6inIN
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Welcome to the "big kids board" and planning for high school! Over the summer you might want to very slowly browse through the "best of the best" past threads linked in the big pinned thread at the top of the WTM high school board: "High School Motherload #1"

Absolutely agree with Susan C and Momto6inIN, who say in a much shorter space what my thoughts are.聽Below is my much longer response, FWIW. 馃槈

5 hours ago, Amy Meyers said:

One question: How important are Socratic discussions in history and/or lit? Like, how much time do you spend working with your high schooler on history/lit or discussing with them? OR Do you find it worth it to pay for online programs that do this (like for Veritas)?


Discussion is very important -- high school is exactly when you do all that really deep discussion. We did not outsource, but went "DIY" -- but I only had 2 DSs who were close in age, so we could do all of the History and Lit. together at the same time. I think that "how much time" for YOU will vary, depending on the student's needs, along with how independent-working or parent/teacher-intensive the materials are.

For planning purposes, very roughly, 1.0 credit in high school very roughly comes out to either:
- competition of a high school level textbook (i.e., Science or Math)
- or very roughly, an average of 150聽hours of student working

Especially if you go "DIY" rather than outsourcing, it is very easy to go way overboard and do much more than what is reasonable for 1.0 credit -- which is a real disservice to a student if you have them聽put in the work for 1.5 - 2.0 credits, but you only award 1.0 credit on the transcript.

I am reprinting my post out of this past thread "Daily workload", to give you the background on why 150 hours is the average. You might also find that whole thread helpful for getting a feel for what daily high school work might look like, and adapt for your family.

. . . . . . 聽聽minimum聽.average聽.maximum
1.00 credit = 聽120聽. . .聽150聽. . .聽180 聽hours
0.75 credit = 聽 90聽. . .聽110聽. . .聽135 聽hours
0.66 credit = 聽 80聽. . .聽100聽. . 聽120 聽hours
0.50 credit = 聽 60聽. . . 聽75聽. .. .聽90 聽hours
0.33 credit = 聽 40聽. . . 聽50聽. 聽. .聽60 聽hours
0.25 credit = 聽 30聽. . ..聽35聽.. . .聽45 聽hours

The 120 hour minimum comes from the聽Carnegie Credit聽and refers to the聽minimum teacher/classroom contact hours聽for 1 credit (it is usually understood that there will ALSO be additional work done *outside of class* that counts towards the credit).聽

The 180 hour maximum comes from public schools which typically are required to meet for 180 days per year -- so 1 hour/day x 5 days/week x 36 weeks/school year = 180 hours. However, most public school classes actually meet for 40-50 minutes per day, BUT, regular homework is assumed to fill up that shorter class time back up to 1 full hour of time.聽In general, if you shoot for the average, and you fill out 135 to 165 hours for most of your classes, then the credits on your transcript come out to be roughly equivalent. But, of course, there are lots of exceptions to that (:D -- such as:

- English and Science classes usually take much closer to 180 hours (or a bit over), due to the extra time needed for reading/writing, and for labs

- some required classes will inevitably end up more as "box checking" classes if the student has a low interest in them -- for example Economics, Government, PE, or Health -- and often, once you complete the program, you find your hours often fall much closer to 120 hours (or 60 hours if just a 1 semester/0.5 credit course)

- dual enrollment courses sometimes cover more advanced material, but in a shorter period of time, so you'll be lighter on the hours for completion, but heavier on the material learned, which balances out

- if a student is completing a program in far less than the 1 year (at the rate of 1 hour/day 4-5 days/week) then you might consider that the program is too light for this student and try switching to material that is more meaty and challenging for the student

- if you have a math struggler, you may need to take much longer than 180 hours to complete the program; if a student needs 2 school years to get through Algebra 1, then it is okay to call that 2 credits (the student put in the time, for sure!), and label it Algebra 1: part 1 and Algebra 1: part 2, or Algebra 1a and Algebra 1b, other designation to honor the student's work, but to accurately describe what content was covered

- sometimes you just have to decide whether or not to count all of the hours spent on reading the Literature for an English credit, or all of the practice hours for instrument practice for a Music credit -- and count some of the hours of repetitive work as homework

Planning for roughly 5 hours a week is a good amount of time for a 1.0 credit course. That gives you leeway to cut some material or some assignments if you find you are constantly bumping up against your 5 hour/week limit. And it also gives you leeway if you want/need to drop to just working 4 hours/week from time to time -- like, if you need some sick days, or a special event crops up, or your student absolutely hates a resource and you can't find a substitute -- you can drop or streamline, and you're still well-covered in hours.

5 hours ago, Amy Meyers said:

Two: I think I'm leaning towards using Romans Roads Old Western Culture with SWB's HOTAW. How much is too much? Should I not use all of Bauer's book? And finally, has anyone made a schedule for where to begin and how to align RR OWC Greeks with HOTAW?


Yes, way too much. Each program is enough for a complete 1.0 credit of History all on its own. For your聽sanity, just pick 1 program and go with it, rather than聽trying to combine/blend complete programs, or use excerpts of each to try and whittle down to 1.0 credit of material. Susan C. above gives you a good idea of what that looks like in using SWB's HotAW + Teaching Company Great Courses for History, and doing a limited/reasonable amount of Ancient Literature to go along with that. And Roman Roads is a full/complete program all on its own -- the videos may mean it requires less of your participation, as video lectures do the work of synthesizing material read, so you don't have to slowly work toward that goal together with your student in discussing the weekly readings.

Also: at the high school level, I strongly believe students should have a say in what they are studying. Does your student WANT to do a 4-year chronological History study? Or does s/he have strong specific interests in an area and/or time period? Is the student more interested in a STEM field or Fine Arts or other field -- and should more of your very limited time of high school be spent on their possible future career area, and just meet the minimum college admission requirements for credits in the Social Studies areas?

I'd suggest having your student look at your main resources: ToG; Roman Roads; and SWB's HotAW, and see if one set of materials clicks with him.聽And also think about what method is best going to fit YOU and the amount of time you will have for discussion and mentoring of History and Literature. And -- be open to the possibility of the student totally rejecting doing a 4-year chronological History, in favor of focusing on a time/place of high interest to the student. We ended up dumping the 4-year cycle after Ancients and went with 20th Century World, because that was of high interest to DSs, and it provided a great foundation for them to understand Current Events.

I know you are overseas and your student would probably not attend a U.S. university, but just for the purpose of bearing in mind that you'll want to also be planning enough credits of certain types to be eligible for admission to college -- just to keep all possible future doors open. For U.S. colleges, the average university (NOT Ivy League/top-tier and NOT competitive admission) tends to want:

- 4 credits = English (1/2 Literature + 1/2 Writing/Composition)
- 4 credits = Math (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, + many schools want a 4th math that required Alg. 2 as a prerequisite)
- 3-4 credits = Natural Science, with labs (some colleges require Biology & Chemistry, but most schools are very flexible)
- 2-4 credits = Social Science (many colleges = 1 credit U.S. Hist; some colleges = 1 credit World Hist. or Geography, a few colleges = 0.5 credit each Gov't & Econ.)
- 2-4 credits = Foreign Language (same language; Latin accepted by all; many colleges accept ASL)
- 1 credit = Fine Arts (actual doing such as Music, Art, Drama, Dance, Photography, Filmmaking, Digital Arts, Studio Arts, etc;聽or "appreciation of ____")
- 4-8 credits = Electives (examples: Logic, Computer, Health, PE, Religious Studies, vocational-technical subjects,聽personal interest topics, additional Fine Arts credits, "Academic Electives" -- additional credits in English, Math, Science, Soc. Studies, or For. Lang. beyond the required amount; etc.)
22-28+ credits = total

That equals out to 5.5-7+ credits per year of high school, with each credit taking very roughly 1 hour/day, 5 days/week, for 36 weeks. So plan amount of credits according to what your student can handle: 5.5 hours/day? 6 hours? 7 hours? 8 hours?

All that to say -- your time in high school is limited; there are certain things you are "required" to accomplish if wanting to be "college prep"; and your student is beginning to have interests and goals for their own future. Planning your credits starts getting tricky.

BEST of luck! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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On 5/3/2020 at 7:16 PM, SusanC said:

We are just finishing up SWB's HotAW here. We did basically 3 chapters a week, answering the Comprehension questions and who, what, wheres for every chapter, then they picked one of the three chapters to do the Critical Thinking assignment for. It was great. The schedule kept us on track (with some wiggle room) and the study guide questions kicked off some good discussion of the history topics.

For literature we read some selected Bible stories, the great abridged Gilgamesh that @Lori D. recommended, and then we did The Iliad, The Odyssey, and some selected Greek plays all in conjunction with the Dr. Vandiver lectures from Great Courses. More good discussion was had!

Our focus is heavy on foreign language and very solid on math, science and writing. I like history and literature to be subjects that are "interesting" and "meaty" without becoming a chore. It can be tricky; the Iliad has a lot of chapters about fighting and a lot of emphasis on formal introductions - which was the fashion of the time but, I was told, rather repetitive. Also, Homer's use of delay as a story-telling tactic was not equally appreciated by everyone in our audience. 馃槀

Thank you so much for your input! That will help me be a little more realistic, hopefully! About HOTAW, did you use the maps? And did you discuss every day that they read, or just once a week for a history check-up and discussion? I'm wondering how much independence to expect of my 9th grader as well, such as grading his own history answers, or how much I should be checking up with him and talking about what he's reading (especially if I'm not reading it myself...)

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On 5/3/2020 at 8:16 PM, Momto6inIN said:

Discussion is vital. V.I.T.A.L. Some of our best聽homeschool memories are our discussions about lit and history and economics and philosophy. Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to peek inside your teen's mind by hiring someone else to do the discussions! 鉂

Too many resources can make it a drudge. Pick a good one and do it in depth, don't try to do all the good ones at one time. SWB's is an excellent choice.

I stopped closely correlating their lit selections with their history in high school. We did "ancients" but I didn't even try聽to match聽up reading The Odyssey with when we studied Homer. I just had a list of what we wanted to read that year and we read it.

I forgot (it's been a while since I've been on these forums) how much I love these forums for the helpful and supportive advice! I've talked to homeschooling moms I know who are classical and all of them either use VP self-paced or hire a co-op teacher for the discussions. Maybe that's because they have several children, I thought, but then I see you have six. 馃檪 Your response was both enlightening and freeing not to worry about matching up the lit so carefully or overbooking their schedules with every great curriculum out there. So did you as a mom plan a time for these discussions or did you just let them happen free-form at some point when you were checking their work? Sigh. I really want to do a great job at this! I know my husband will be great at discussions. I would like to be great myself at them, but I also know I have 5 kids to teach, the oldest needs vital discussions, while the youngest needs phonics... I'm trying to picture how I will do this practically speaking from day to day, hour by hour...馃槄

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23 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Welcome to the "big kids board" and planning for high school! Over the summer you might want to very slowly browse through the "best of the best" past threads linked in the big pinned thread at the top of the WTM high school board: "High School Motherload #1"

Absolutely agree with Susan C and Momto6inIN, who say in a much shorter space what my thoughts are.聽Below is my much longer response, FWIW. 馃槈
Thank you for the welcome. Your response is worth a lot. 馃檪 Thank you. I've seen those huge threads, and have looked at some of it. I'll be taking a look as I can in the next several months.


Discussion is very important -- high school is exactly when you do all that really deep discussion. We did not outsource, but went "DIY" -- but I only had 2 DSs who were close in age, so we could do all of the History and Lit. together at the same time. I think that "how much time" for YOU will vary, depending on the student's needs, along with how independent-working or parent/teacher-intensive the materials are.聽

Hmm, a lot to think about for me here above and below. I don't want to go overboard on my expectations for either him or myself.

Especially if you go "DIY" rather than outsourcing, it is very easy to go way overboard and do much more than what is reasonable for 1.0 credit -- which is a real disservice to a student if you have them聽put in the work for 1.5 - 2.0 credits, but you only award 1.0 credit on the transcript.

..................................


Yes, way too much. Each program is enough for a complete 1.0 credit of History all on its own. For your聽sanity, just pick 1 program and go with it, rather than聽trying to combine/blend complete programs, or use excerpts of each to try and whittle down to 1.0 credit of material. Susan C. above gives you a good idea of what that looks like in using SWB's HotAW + Teaching Company Great Courses for History, and doing a limited/reasonable amount of Ancient Literature to go along with that. And Roman Roads is a full/complete program all on its own -- the videos may mean it requires less of your participation, as video lectures do the work of synthesizing material read, so you don't have to slowly work toward that goal together with your student in discussing the weekly readings.

Also: at the high school level, I strongly believe students should have a say in what they are studying. Does your student WANT to do a 4-year chronological History study? Or does s/he have strong specific interests in an area and/or time period? Is the student more interested in a STEM field or Fine Arts or other field -- and should more of your very limited time of high school be spent on their possible future career area, and just meet the minimum college admission requirements for credits in the Social Studies areas?

I'm going to have to think more about this above... My student loves history, especially church history. He is hoping to be a missionary to Mozambique to the same tribe to whom we are ministering now in South Africa. (your comment below...he would probably attend a U.S. university...we are American citizens. But we are following the South African school calendar year for now. If we decided to outsource classes, I guess that would come into our considerations as well for timing and planning.) I don't think he or I need the history to be 4-year, no. In fact the third year, I was thinking to do American history, I'm not sure, then government / economics for another year. He does not love literature (unless it's biographies from history, lol!) So I need to meet a minimum requirement for literature, say, but then I could let him focus on other studies, if I'm understanding you correctly. He also enjoys math and is very capable at it. I had thought maybe he could pursue a degree in it, which might be helpful to get into more difficult countries as a missionary. Just thinking...

I'd suggest having your student look at your main resources: ToG; Roman Roads; and SWB's HotAW, and see if one set of materials clicks with him.聽And also think about what method is best going to fit YOU and the amount of time you will have for discussion and mentoring of History and Literature. And -- be open to the possibility of the student totally rejecting doing a 4-year chronological History, in favor of focusing on a time/place of high interest to the student. We ended up dumping the 4-year cycle after Ancients and went with 20th Century World, because that was of high interest to DSs, and it provided a great foundation for them to understand Current Events.

I know you are overseas and your student would probably not attend a U.S. university, but just for the purpose of bearing in mind that you'll want to also be planning enough credits of certain types to be eligible for admission to college -- just to keep all possible future doors open. For U.S. colleges, the average university (NOT Ivy League/top-tier and NOT competitive admission) tends to want:

Thanks so much for your comments and help, Lori D! I responded in blue above (not sure how to quote portions multiple times). Your comments are worth a lot to me!

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23 minutes ago, Amy Meyers said:

I forgot (it's been a while since I've been on these forums) how much I love these forums for the helpful and supportive advice! I've talked to homeschooling moms I know who are classical and all of them either use VP self-paced or hire a co-op teacher for the discussions. Maybe that's because they have several children, I thought, but then I see you have six. 馃檪 Your response was both enlightening and freeing not to worry about matching up the lit so carefully or overbooking their schedules with every great curriculum out there. So did you as a mom plan a time for these discussions or did you just let them happen free-form at some point when you were checking their work? Sigh. I really want to do a great job at this! I know my husband will be great at discussions. I would like to be great myself at them, but I also know I have 5 kids to teach, the oldest needs vital discussions, while the youngest needs phonics... I'm trying to picture how I will do this practically speaking from day to day, hour by hour...馃槄

I hear ya! My kids are 20, 18, 16, 12, 8 and 1.聽I have had to pause an intense discussion on The聽Old Man and the Sea and whether or not Hemingway intended Santiago to convey a message of hope (as DS聽thought) or hopelessness (as I thought) in order to change a dirty diaper and get a Graham cracker snack for the baby 馃檪

The important thing about discussions is not so much that you ask the "right" questions (there aren't any) or that you come to the "right" conclusions (there聽aren't any of聽those either) or that you spend X amount of聽time on it. The part that makes it valuable is engaging with your child about what they read and asking them to think about it. It's really just like doing narration with your younger kids, except now they have a richer and more complex vocabulary and method of analysis than聽they did then. No expertise is required, just a willingness to engage and listen.

As far as logistics go, I usually have most of my younger kids' mom-intensive stuff done in the mornings when we all tag team taking turns entertaining the baby聽and finish up while she聽naps. Then I have an hour or so in the afternoon when she's playing happily to do what I need to with the high schoolers before starting supper.

Not all our discussions are planned out. I do have planned questions and a discussion session after reading each lit selection. History and Economics are more spontaneous after a particularly interesting concept comes up. A lot of it happens at the supper table when they tell DH what they did that day.

Hope that helps!

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56 minutes ago, Amy Meyers said:

Thank you so much for your input! That will help me be a little more realistic, hopefully! About HOTAW, did you use the maps? And did you discuss every day that they read, or just once a week for a history check-up and discussion? I'm wondering how much independence to expect of my 9th grader as well, such as grading his own history answers, or how much I should be checking up with him and talking about what he's reading (especially if I'm not reading it myself...)

We did not use the maps. We talked about what the assignments were intended to teach and why I was inclined to skip them, then I offered to buy tracing paper if either of my 9th graders were interested, but they elected not to do them. Generally we discuss history once a week. I have a time slot on my schedule to remind me. This week they asked if maybe we could discuss the first chapter on Sunday afternoon to keep them on track. I was secretly overjoyed to hear this sign of realistic planning from my teenagers. I masked y excitement in reluctance to work on the weekends. 馃檪 I do read the chapters, they are mostly pretty short and interesting and then we can have some spontaneous discussion outside of the scripted questions.

Independence level is so individual-specific, isn't it? I've been trying to allow as much room for independence as I can. In our house this is usually me outlining what I want to see and when, and then leaving the specifics up to them. Sometimes I will ask questions about things I think they should consider. Sometimes they fail to meet or agreed deadlines, which becomes another learning experience.

Another important thing they have been doing is meeting with me Friday afternoons to talk about their school work plans for the weekend. It is a good time for me to check in on the status of all their classes. We talk about what is appropriate to put on a to-do list ("Read chapter 37. Answer questions" vs "history") and I have them assign specific days to the tasks. We talk about why both of those steps are important. I really don't follow up specifically to see if they have done everything when they planned to do it, although I will sometimes ask generally how it is going. This has been really, really helpful this year.

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