My kids and I tried out a historical literacy course one summer.
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BrimWood Press has a Western Civilization course, designed to teach the fundamentals of history–almost like phonics is to language arts. The publisher lists the fundamentals of history as:
- Building a mental framework within the child’s mind containing a scope and sequence of history
- Comprehending the dating system and terminology used by historians
- Understanding the ideas or worldviews that shaped the times in which people live
- Recognizing the relationship of events to geography
The methods employed in this curriculum involve a combination of a read-aloud survey of history in novel form, hand-on activities, and discussion.
- What Every Child Needs to Know About Western Civilization
- Calendar Quest: A 5000 Year Trek through Western History with Father Time
- Color the Western World
Though my oldest listened in as we read the chapters aloud each night before our lessons, I primarily tried this curriculum with a third grader and sixth grader.
If approximately one hour per day is spent on lessons, with five lessons completed each week, this course could be completed in four weeks. We started working through the course at a more relaxed pace; my children completed two or three lessons each week.
The publisher recommends that this program not be combined with another history course, but instead that it be used as a way to “build a mental framework” of history before moving on with another curriculum.
Calendar Quest is an engrossing story in the vein of the Magic Tree House books and interested my kids to see what would happen next.
Set against a modern backdrop, the story features a girl named Lindsie and her friend, Evan. Chapter One introduces a mysterious new employee at Lindsie’s father’s bookshop. Mr. S. Kronos is a disagreeable old man, and when Lindsie and Evan seek to discover more about him, their adventures begin.
Traveling in time, the kids are out to discover more about the world and why Mr. Kronos is so touchy about the history behind the calendar.
The lesson that follows introduces students to the regions they will “visit,” which include the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
There are fourteen stops in all, and the Western Civilizations book includes maps to color, Hats of History cards, stickers, and activities, including timeline assignments. Because our “regular” history curriculum includes a timeline book, we will be used it to keep up with our travels. If you are looking for a different way to expose your kids to history, this curriculum might be worth taking a look at. It is unlike any other history curriculum we have used.