Grades K - 12
The Mystery of History
Bright Ideas! Press
For more information or to order: www.homeschoolingfromtheheart.com
Completely Chronological -- that's just one of the many unique attributes of The Mystery of History
. Until reviewing this history course, I had never seen a curriculum that teaches my children and ME what was going on throughout the world during specific time periods in a true chronological fashion. For instance, I never knew that when Daniel was facing a lion's den, Aesop was telling his famous Fables or that Buddha and Ezekiel lived at the same time! The events of the Bible are not treated as stories set apart from history, but instead, students see how the real events of the Bible fit into the "big picture" of world history. Following the Classical Model of education and written from a decidedly Christian perspective, Mystery of History is a welcome resource for those wanting to show their children God's hand in ALL of history. Author Linda Hobar, is an experienced homeschool mom who has a passion for getting kids excited about history and challenging older students to become world-changers.
The first volume of Mystery of History
covers Creation to the Resurrection of Christ. There are five volumes planned for this series, with Volume 2 scheduled for release in December of this year. Although the back cover states that this course is designed for 4th - 8th graders, Linda had busy homeschool moms in mind when she included activities and assignments for children as young as 5 years old and offers suggestions and encouragement to use this course with high schoolers as well. The lessons are short and well written. Each grade category; younger (K-2), Middle (3rd - 5th) and Older (6th and up) has one assignment or activity to go with each lesson. Even if you have an older student who works independently, you're going to want to read the lessons with your child(ren) so you can learn together! The course is designed to be completed in a school year and, because there are not a bunch of extra resources or literature required, it is easy to stick to a realistic schedule.
Mystery of History
is NOT a unit study, though it would make a great launching point for one :-) There are three lessons each week with a review day called "Take Another Look
" used to wrap up the week. In her clear teacher instructions, the author explains the importance of using a timeline and map work. She gives instructions for making the Wall of Fame
(timeline) on a folding board and outline maps are provided in the back of the book. On alternating weeks there are quizzes and fun excercises to help the child review and retain the information they've been learning. Younger students' assignments are mostly hands-on, while middle and older students are challenged with a bit more research and writing. However, students do not have essays and research papers to write everyday. Some days simply involve discussion, adding information to their notebooks (such as a running list of the Chinese Dynasties or Isreal's Kings and Prophets), or even a hands-on assignment. Of course, Linda knows that homeschoolers have busy lives and interuptions are often part of our education, so she encourages you to pick and choose assignments. Throughout the course, middle and older students also make memory cards where they record the person or event on one side and then a summary sentence and dates on the other. These are used for memory work, review and games. For those who would like to dig a little deeper with their kids, there is a suggested resource and "wish list" in the appendix where you'll find all suggestions listed by lesson and grade level. The appendix also includes answers to all quizzes, exercises and tests, as well as, activity sheets that are needed for some of the assignments. Oh, about those quizzes and tests -- another unique feature of this course is that they are cumulative. They not only review the material from the week, but from previous weeks as well! The quarterly exercises are an extension of the biweekly exercises and, because they cover so much material, the student is encouraged to use the book as needed, building research skills along the way.
History, especially ancient history, can be intimidating! The Mystery of History
contains so much information, yet is laid out so clearly that it's not overwhelming at all. The simplicity of the lessons and assignments make it very user-friendly and the fact that it can be used with multiple grade levels makes it time and cost effective. Some may look at the short lessons and wonder if it's "enough" - it almost seems too good to be true - but short and simple doesn't mean there's no depth! The Mystery of History
takes students deep into God's heart for the nations and challenges them (and us) to see history through His eyes.
Update 11/09/04 -- Mystery of History Volume 2
has just been released! Believe it or not, the publisher has taken a great program and made it even better! Organized in the same manner as Volume 1, Mystery of History Vol 2
adds more depth to lessons, more options for assignments, and more suggested literature titles if you'd like to add more "living books" to your history studies. A huge volume (over 700 pages), Mystery of History Volume 2
covers The Early Church through the Middle Ages.
Making the Grade:
Value for Your Homeschool Dollar:
Review provided by Cindy Prechtel, Editor