British History for High School

We are eclectic homeschoolers with a strong Charlotte Mason influence. With three kids, I initially planned to use the same curriculum for each of them over the years, with our oldest serving as the guinea pig for his brothers. Lo and behold, our kids each have different learning styles and preferences (who would have thought?), and what worked with one doesn't necessarily work with the others.

British History: Observations & Assessments from Early Cultures to Today

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The British History Package from Master Books is a one-year curriculum recommended for 10th – 12th grades for one high school history credit. This package includes a student book and teacher book from Dr James Stobaugh and covers thirty-four weeks of lessons written to the student for independent study with minimal parent preparation.

Overview

Each weekly chapter is divided into five thirty-minute daily lessons:
  • critical thinking questions
  • examinations of historical theories
  • clarified terms and concepts
  • people who changed the course of history
  • overview and insight into world views

Each daily reading is from just one to two pages in length, with photographs, illustrations, captions, and sidebars within each section. These elements make the course great for visual learners and for students who need clear beginnings and endings for assignments. Each reading section is followed with critical thinking questions that vary in scope–some needing a brief factual answer and some requiring more thought and insight from the student. These answers can be written out in a notebook, or used to facilitate discussion between parent and child through daily or weekly ‘meetings.’ This is a really adaptable course that fits into many homeschooling styles, from classical to Charlotte Mason and everything in between. It also ties in very well with a study of British literature and provides enrichment for discussing the context of the great British literary works.

The clearly defined learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter tell the student (and teacher) exactly what is expected in the lessons.

For example, in the chapter on European Wars (p. 119), students are expected to:
  1. Describe the root causes of the 17th-century European wars
  2. Evaluate why the English win these wars
  3. Analyze why Native Americans mostly supported the French
  4. Compare 17th-century regional wars to 21st=century regional wars.
  5. Analyze the limits, if any, on freedom of the press.
The historical content included in British History: Observations & Assessments from Early Cultures to Today covers:
  • Early England
  • Anglo-Saxon Invasions
  • the Norman Conquest
  • Elizabethan Age
  • the Early Stuarts
  • Whigs and Tories
  • the British Empire
  • the Age of Napoleon
  • the Industrial Revolution
  • Victorian Age
  • Modernism
  • Causes of World War I
  • Totalitarianism
  • World War II and the Cold War
  • the End of an Empire

While students are encouraged to complete the bulk of this course independently, the teacher guide includes a daily schedule with checklists, student worksheets with critical thinking questions, exam questions, and an answer key. This flexible format easily allows parents to use the course in a way that fits best with their educational philosophies and goals.

Our Experience

We are eclectic homeschoolers with a strong Charlotte Mason influence. With three kids, I initially planned to use the same curriculum for each of them over the years, with our oldest serving as the guinea pig for his brothers. Lo and behold, our kids each have different learning styles and preferences (who would have thought?), and what worked with one doesn’t necessarily work with the others. Our oldest studied history with tons and tons of ‘living’ books through reading independently and being read aloud to, and as a natural writer, he devoured notebooks and pens as he researched and explored all the things he was reading.

As our second child reached middle school, and his frustrations mounted, we realized we needed to adapt to his different style of learning and stop overwhelming him with the same methods we used with our oldest. Preferring to take things apart and figure out how they work, build things with his hands, and figure out complex math problems, sitting down with long chapters of reading just wasn’t making him experience the joy of learning. So, adjusting and modifying a few of his subjects, we went in search of a history curriculum that was straightforward and simpler in format, without sacrificing excellent content.

For us, beginning with Dr. Stobaugh’s  middle school World History (click here to read my review of World History from Master Books), we found the perfect compromise for our son’s optimal learning experience. He loves the content and shorter daily readings, and he enjoys sitting down with me and talking through the questions and expanding on what he’s read. He has a clear idea of what he is expected to complete each week, and he has begun to carry what he’s reading over into other areas. We are studying British literature and art along with this course, and our son has discovered a strong interest in medieval times.

The publisher provided a review copy of British History.

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