Friday, March 20, 2009

Plan for history for next year

I haven’t put anything on the blog about it, but my plans for next year’s history studies have changed fairly dramatically.  Connor will continue, by himself, on to Sonlight Core 6, the first half of a two-year world history core.  Richard and Trina will probably be using Core B.  And William and Thomas?  They are the subject of this post!

I’m going to give them a two year break from Sonlight.  We are going to focus on the four R’s, and also on science.  I plan to take things pretty lightly as far as history.  I have a few ideas, but I’m going to focus right now on planning the first part.

To start with, we are going to continue our geography/cultures study we’re doing this year, rather informally, with Europe, South America, Central America, and probably Canada.

I’m using Around the World in 180 Days to figure out Europe and South America.

My Europe plans:

The Morning Star of the Reformation by Thompson

The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day by O’Dell (and watch the Torchlighter video about Tyndale too)

Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan (haven’t decided which version) and the Torchlighter video about him

Read about the Grimm brothers, then read some of their stories

I have an opera study somewhere, I plan to look and see what we could do with that

At least one of the Benge books -- Corrie ten Boom, Brother Andrew, C.S. Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, John Wesley, or William Booth

More to come... 

Comments on my original blog:

Jen in Oz --


Found a site the other day that explains why my now 10.5 yo ds has struggled with his reading and writing. Her explanation of right brained learning really fit him. If I remember rightly William was struggling too last time I was in contact with you regularly. Maybe this idea would help.

Best of luck,

An old friend

--Monday, April 13, 2009 - 01:04 AM

Debra --

Hey, Jen,

How are you????

Thanks for the link, it's opening in another window. I'm always interested in things that help me to figure this kid out!

--Monday, April 13, 2009 - 09:49 AM

Jen in Oz - 

Doing well thanks Deb. DH has been doing some studying so hopefully our personal economical situation improves soon. lol

The boys are doing well but I have realised that my eldest, now 10.5yo, really learns better when he teaches himself. I have to sort of slide the curriculum by him and see what he catches of his own accord. If I try to directly teach him it causes us too much angst.

He is flying with Maths, not like your eldest, but still doing quite well with confidence and confidence is my most important marker for success down the track. Lang Arts is just our "bugged" subject.

My 7yo ds and 4yo ds are typical boys, would have no problems in the PS system but I am enjoying homeschooling too much to hand them over. lol

It would be great if AppleStar's ideas match with your struggling boy. It took a big weight off my mind to know that I just needed some patience for reading and writing.

Best wishes

Jen in Oz

--Wednesday, April 15, 2009 -- 06:17 PM

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why I like Sonlight's history sequence

Half my blog posts come out of things I write on the Homeschool-MovingOn yahoo group, and here is another one.  I had said something about US history starting so late, which prompted questions.  So, here is a re-write of what I said yesterday.

One of the reasons I haven't gone to some sort of neo-classical 4 year chronological history (Well Trained Mind or Tapestry of Grace specifically) is that they never do "just" US history. (It is important to my husband that we do spend some time focused on American history.)

Some of the other neo-classical chronologies (Veritas Press) end up focusing mostly on US history in the last 200 or so years of the chronology, and they really skimp on the rest of the world (especially the Eastern hemisphere).

I'm not saying Sonlight is the perfect balance, but it is one that works for me.  

Sonlight's sequence (I'm assuming P4/5 for the K year, one core a year, ending with Core 400 in 12th grade):

General overall stuff - two years

World history overview - two years

American history (which does lightly cover Canada and South America, doesn't really do Central America) - two years

Eastern hemisphere - one year

World history - two years

American history - one year

Church history - one year

20th Century World history - one year 

Civics/Government - one year


So, in 13 years, this includes:

2 years of general social studies (that is beyond the community helper level in many programs)

6 years of world history (that does touch on US history)

3 years of American history (that does include some history of the non-US parts of the Americas)

1 year of church history

1 year of Civics/Government (mostly US)

If I lived outside the US, I think I would plan to do the condensed Alt 3 or whatever it is called, and use that other year in elementary school to do my own thing for my country.  And I would probably replace Core 100 with a history of my country as well.  And I'd take a serious look at Core 400 and whether or not I wanted to do that, or do a Civics/Government that is more appropriate for where I live

But, given that I am a US Citizen, I think SL has hit a really good balance.  One big weakness, I think (but I don't see it addressed by ANYONE else either) is that Central America is rarely addressed, South America gets only a bit of coverage, and not a lot of time is spent on Canada either.  I will admit that growing up, I never learned ANY South or Central American history.  Living only a couple hours from Canada, I did get a bit of Canadian history, but not much.  So, SL does way more than *I* got, but I still don't think they do enough, unless that happens in a core we haven't done yet (we've done up through 5).

Compare that to, say, Abeka, starting with 1st grade:

American history - four years

World history - one year (does cover Eastern hemisphere, but also does a 'compare and contrast' with the US)

American history - one year

World history - one year

American history - one year

World Geography - one year (high school starts here)

World History - one year

American History - one year  (billed as a "positive, patriotic approach")

American Government - one semester

Economics - one semester


4 years of world history or geography

7 years of American history

1 year of Government/econ

Ugh.  And that is without getting into whether or not a "positive, patriotic approach" is appropriate at the high school level.

Bob Jones is almost identical.  The only difference I see is that the two world history years before high school are back to back... so five years of US, two of World, one of US.  So their world history is a bit more like Cores 6-7 in that they go together.

Abeka mirrors fairly well what *my* experience was in school, except I don't think I had a year of world history in jr. high, I had world geography then instead of high school.  And I only had three years of social studies in high school, not four.

I think most public schools would be pretty close to the Abeka or Bob Jones model too, except that K-2 are more community studies with a smattering of US history in there.  Of course, most public schools would do American history from the 'everything the US has ever done is evil and bigoted' approach, instead of the "rich in Christian insight" or "positive, patriotic" sides.  I don't like either extreme.