Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition: Middle Ages (Paperback)
Like its predecessor, the Activity Book corresponds chapter-by-chapter with the text from the Story of the World readings, and the sections and activities are well-organized and easy to implement. Each chapter begins with review questions for the book. Narration exercises are also included, so that the child may write or dictate to you a summary of what they learned. A list of books for additional reading follows, each with a concise summary and an approximate reading level to help you find those most appropriate for your child’s ability and interest. Corresponding literature, consisting of more "story-like" volumes such as cultural tales and myths are also featured to liven up your history reading, lending a little more interest to those lovers of fiction. An excellent range of activities follow the reading lists, including map work, a coloring page, and projects, which include art, crafts, games, and other more "involved" activities. An abundance of opportunities for "beyond-the-book" learning about here, but as the author mentioned in the activity book for Vol. 1, you should not feel pressured to read every book and complete every activity - history studied in this manner should be a fun and enjoyable journey for all involved, not an endless checklist of items you "have to" complete to pass a test. These courses lend themselves very well to family study, and a lot of the activities would be much more enjoyable with at least a couple siblings or friends. Fortunately, Susan Wise Bauer has anticipated this, and has denoted chosen activities with a "C" to highlight its use as a good co-op or classroom activity. All in all, this looks like an very well-rounded, extremely enjoyable, and solidly chronological approach to history
The text is available spiral-bound in the first edition or in paperback or hardcover in the revised version. the Activity Book is a bound paperback and is the revised version.
Imagine a classically-based history course where your child reads great history books and period-related literature, keeps a running timeline of the period studied, writes outlines and summaries of important people and events, completes history-related map work, and does all of this without extensive planning on mom's part. Although it may sound too good to be true, luckily for you it's not! Author Kathleen Desmarais has done an awesome job of combining an excellent variety of resources and activities and presenting it all in a very straight-forward, professional way that takes the stress of lesson planning off of you and puts the accountability and expectations squarely on your history student.
History Odyssey is basically a series of study guides, with one guide covering one era of history (Ancients, Middle Ages, Early Modern, or Modern) in one year. There are three levels to the program, so if you completed the whole series, you would cycle through world history three times - once in elementary, once in middle school, and once in high school education. The first level is intended for grades 1-4, the second level for grades 5-8, and the third level for grades 9-12. There will be twelve guides when the series is complete; currently, there are still several guides in production. The guides are loose-leaf and 3-hole punched, designed to be placed in a binder. You'll probably want a thick one; students will be adding a lot of material!
Although the same eras in history are covered in each level, the expectations on the student become more sophisticated, following the classical education progression. In Level 1 (the grammar stage), students are encouraged to approach history as a great story as they read (or are read to) and complete map work, History Pockets activities, copywork, and coloring pages. This level will require more attention from the parent than the two upper levels. Depending on the reading ability of the child, some reading selections may need to be read aloud or read together. There will also be copies to make and supplies to gather for each lesson. Level 2 (the logic stage) introduces the timeline, outlining as a writing skill, research, and independent writing assignments. Students are expected to read all assignments on their own, and critical thinking and analysis are emphasized through the assignments. Parental involvement should be reduced at this level, as parents should be only checking the quality of each day's work and making sure that it has all been done. By Level 3 (the rhetoric stage), students will be reading much more demanding history selections (including classic literature) and will be writing plenty of expository, descriptive, narrative and persuasive essays. Research, timeline work, and map work are continued from Level 2 but are more in-depth at this level. For each level, history, geography, and writing are strongly represented. Although the writing practice is extensive, you will probably want to be using a separate course in English and writing.
Now that you're familiar with the basics of the course, let's look at the lessons. Lessons are presented to the student in a checklist-type format. All assignments, including reading, timeline, writing, and others are listed for each lesson with a box to check when the task is complete. In Level 1, lessons are structured a bit differently, in that there is some parent preparation (highlighted in gray), a "main lesson" of assignments, and then several "additional activities" listed. Lessons typically include a mix of readings from resource books, map work, timeline work (in the upper two levels), and writing assignments/copywork to be added to the student's master binder. Exceptions may be lessons which ask the student to begin reading a required book. In this case, a recommended time frame is given in which the book should be read, and follow-up writing assignments may be listed. Occasionally websites may be listed to check out more information, but these are not absolutely necessary to the course if you are not able to visit them. Following the lessons, you'll find worksheets referred to in the lessons, outline maps used in map activities, and several appendices. Although the guide is not reproducible, the author does give permission to copy the maps and worksheets for your family's use only.
There are several important aspects of this course. First of all, with the exception of Level 1, there is little parent preparation. A "Letter to Parents" at the beginning of the guide explains the course, while the "How to Use This Guide" lists required resources and other necessary supplies, describes the organization of the student's binder, and briefly discusses several aspects of the program. For the upper two levels, parents will be primarily making sure the necessary books and resources are on hand and ensuring that each lesson's work has been done and is complete. This leads to my next point, which is that at the end of this course, the student will not have "completed a workbook," but will have compiled their own meaty notebook with all their work from the course. Instruction is given at the very beginning of the course on how to organize the student's notebook, and from that point on, the student will be putting all of their work into the binder. The binder will be not only a tremendous keepsake but a collection of all work done in the course. Finally, the timeline is a very important tool used in Levels 2 and 3 of History Odyssey. This can be made by you, or you may choose to purchase Pandia Press's very attractive Classical History Timeline, which is described below. Events and people studied are added to the timeline throughout the course, and when they're finished with the guide, the timeline can be folded up and included in the student's binder.
One bonus to the course is that they use well-known resources and literature that you may already own! Level 1 heavily uses Story of the World books, A Child's History of the World and History Pockets. My sample of Middle Ages Level 2 lists the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Story of Mankind, Usborne Internet-Linked Viking World, The Door in the Wall, Tales from Shakespeare, Beowulf: A New Telling, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Castle (by David Macaulay), The Canterbury Tales, and many more. Check out the lists of resources beneath each History Odyssey Guide below - I'm sure you'll see many familiar
Elementary Homeschool History perfect for the younger child to understand.
In the quest to cover a little of everything from a particular time period AND present it at a level that a younger child can understand, most elementary history texts are, well, lacking in the "fascination" department. I found textbooks very dry as a youngster, but in my case, it led me to do a lot of library reading on my own. Susan Wise Bauer attempts to remedy this boredom by presenting a chronological history to elementary students using a classical approach and an engaging narrative.
The Story of the World consists of a text and a curriculum guide each for four eras of history.
The readings in the text provide a base of knowledge for the time period covered, and is augmented by the use of the guide, which contains review questions, suggestions for supplemental readings, recommended literature selections, map activities, coloring pages, as well as an abundance of projects that span history, art, and science that are sure to excite the student.
Homeschool History in a story-like format, great for short attention spans
The text itself serves as the starting point and backbone of each unit. Each chapter covers a particular time period, and is placed in chronological order. For example, in Volume One: Ancient Times, Chapter One begins with "The Earliest People" followed by chapters detailing periods of Egyptian, Sumarian, Jewish, Babylonian, Assyrian, Indian, Chinese, African, Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Persian, Native American, Roman, Christian, Celt, and Barbarian history. The book goes in strictly chronological order, so one time period of a civilization will be covered, and then a different civilization may be covered, returning to another era of the first civilization later to encompass a significant historical event of that civilization. Each chapter is further split into smaller, more bite-sized amounts that lend themselves well to a short attention spans. History is presented in a story-like format that young readers or listeners will appreciate. The author emphasizes that the book is not intended to give a complete overview of the time period, but rather to give the student a chronological order of major events and an appreciation and understanding of different cultures while presenting it in a way that will foster an enthusiasm and enjoyment of the subject matter. So, while they wont learn the name of every ruler of a civilization, they will absorb highlights from an era along with particularly notable people and events. Parents often comment on exactly how much their children "pick up" from Story of the World, often impressing adults and other children with their historical knowledge! Mythical stories as well as historical fiction-type passages about young children from different cultures are woven into the narrative to stimulate further interest.
When a chapter has been read, you and the students would then turn to the curriculum manual/actvitiy guide. At the beginning of each chapter in the guide, page references are given for four recommended supplements: Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World, The Usborne Book of World History, and the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History. These selections further flesh out the history lessons, particularly for those periods or civilizations where less supplemental reading is available. When all the chapter reading has been accomplished, the next order of business are the reading comprehension-type review questions for each chapter section. Following the questions, the student is asked to summarize the chapter in a few sentences. The author again stresses that important facts be included in this narrative, but not necessarily every one. A few sample narrations are also supplied. The students narrative is then written and can be illustrated with his/her favorite part of the lesson. You may wish to collect these and place them into a loose-leaf binder, to create the students own world history. After these activities have been completed, you may wish to explore the lesson further, using the list of additional history readings and corresponding literature suggestions. Author, publisher, copyright date, and a sentence summary of each book are provided to help you locate these resources.
A hands on approach to history
Now for some real hands-on work! The activities commence with "Map Work," where a map of the appropriate area is supplied, and the student identifies and marks pertinent areas, routes, and features. The geography section is normally followed by a coloring page, highlighting some aspect of the history lesson, or some other word activity. The consumable student pages provided for these "pencil and paper" activities are found at the end of the activity book. These consumable pages may be reproduced by individual families only - not by schools or co-ops. Finally, the chapter closes with a selection of projects to do to really "get into" the featured civilization or time period. These may be arts, crafts, writing, or science projects, or just fun supplemental activities. Most require only common household supplies and art supplies such as paints & paintbrushes, boxes, newspaper and waxed paper, self-drying clay, etc. Several projects are provided for each chapter, covering a wide range of activities. These could include anything from building your own hut to making your own cunieform tablets, mummifying a chicken, brick-making, baking an African or Greek feast, purple dye, an erupting volcano, an olympic wreath, a Native American sand painting, a Roman chariot, making paper, and LOTS more. Some activities are denoted with a "C" to highlight its use as a good co-op or classroom activity. When youve covered the chapter content as much as is desired, move on.
Story of the World test packets and audio CDs
Other supplementals include test packets and audio CDs. Test packets offer some structured review for chapters covered, and the audio CDs allow you to listen to the content of the texts on the road or wherever a CD player is available. The chapters come alive as they are read by Jim Weiss, a professional storyteller. Tracks run from three to five minutes each to make it easier to track your progress or find a specific section.
Basic Packages include soft cover text, activity book and tests. Complete packages include these items plus the audiobook CDs. You can also get a set of the 4 audiobook CDs, all 4 hard-cover texts and all 4 soft-cover texts.
While the breadth of activities and readings may seem overwhelming, keep in mind that not every suggested book needs to be read, and not every single project needs to be completed. (But Mom, cant we embalm the chicken today?) Spend as much time in an era as suits the students, pacing yourself to cover everything that is of interest. The structure of the curriculum makes it especially easy and enjoyable to use with several children in this age range, and Im sure even older kids would love to get in on some activities too! - Jess
Volume 2 picks up where Volume 1 left off, and tells the fascinating story of the "Dark Ages," from the fall of Rome through the Renaissance. Like the preceding book, this story of history doesn't limit itself to a dry, white-bread-without-the-crusts retelling of a primarily European history, instead it is a rich, whole-wheat blend of European, Indian, Chinese, Australian, Arabic, Japanese, Jewish, Mongolian, Turkish, African, Russian, Australian and American history during the period. Fascinating topics abound here, including knights, samurai, Vikings, the rise of Islam, the Crusades, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, the Plague, the Mayans, the Incas, Marin Luther, the Reformation, the discovery of the Americas, and much more. A timeline and an index are included at the back. Revised in 2007, this 2nd edition text is available in hc or pb, and activity book is paperback.
Its as amazing as it always was and yet its so much better! For years BiblioPlan meant a series of four time-period-specific planning guides for world history. Using a spine and incorporating first-rate literature suggestions, they provided the framework for anyone wanting to study world history chronologically and classically. Then a few years ago, they started adding components and we wondered exactly where they were headed. Now we have a good idea and its looking good. The name BiblioPlan is still synonymous with classical chronological world history but what is available now is a full-bodied, full-color curriculum rather than a framework. Its comprehensive and thorough while providing ease of use and minimum teacher prep. They allow students of all ages to work on the same eras at the same time. Theres also flexibility. You can still use just the framework (Family Guide) or you can add some or all of the components. You can take a general approach and incorporate multiple ages at once or you can use material that targets particular education levels (i.e., upper middle school). Older children can help younger children and children of all ages will be making memories as they work together. Biblioplan puts you in the drivers seat with full controls.
Ancient, Medieval, and Modern America & World History are completely revised and all components are available. Early America & World History is currently "under construction" and will be available early in 2014. The unrevised versions are still available but are listed separately to avoid confusion.
BiblioPlan Family Guides
provide the structural framework for the program a full years worth of history and literature readings. There are four Guides, one for each of the four classical (chronological) time periods Ancient, Medieval, Early America & World, and Modern America & World (inspired by the Well-Trained Mom). This is the product that used to BE Biblioplan. In other words, when you said Biblioplan these guides are what you meant. Designed by a group of homeschooling moms for themselves, this guide gives you 34 weekly spreadsheets; each a comprehensive lesson plan. Their goal was to integrate quality historical literature with biblical and secular history. They put together an easy-to-follow plan which requires minimal parental prep covering the historical topic (Classtime), a Psalm study, References and Resources for textual information about the topic, Literature selections of the Week (for grades K-2, 3+, 5+ and 8+), a Family Read Aloud suggestion, Writing Ideas, Optional Fiction & Resources, and suggested Activities. Introductory information includes the usual "how to find books" and "how to use the plan" information as well as the book lists for both the scheduled and the optional literature. If your family includes older students, then youll be glad to know that a supplement for high school is included. Theres more! Prior to each Era (for instance, Early Christianity and the Rise of Islam, Europe & the Crusades, etc. for the Medieval history) there are several additional pages of reference material annotated book lists for the Readers, the Family Read Alouds, and the Optional Resources/Fiction.
If it sounds like the Family Guides might be all you need you would be correct. Theyre comprehensive and thorough; in general, well-constructed plans. You could complete four years (plus four more if you wanted) of interesting history, absorbing literature, and engaging activity possibilities using just these Guides. You may also want to ensure you have access to some or all of the frequently-referenced "spine resources" if you go this route. These include Story of the World, Mystery of History, The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, or History of US. However, if you like to have perfectly coordinated, quality material at your fingertips rather than scrambling for it then you can incorporate one or more of the following components.
There is one for each time period. Essentially, these are historical textbooks but not like any youve seen before. For one thing they provide both textual information (in a narrative prose style) and enrichment supplements. For another, theyre spiral-bound so they lay flat and color-coordinated so you know instantly if youre reading history text (black & white) or about people and special events (various colored backgrounds). These are books which beg to be pored over. In the random pages open before me from the Medieval Companion, there is a section on Muslim food laws and their rituals for newborns, a description of a tughra (Ottoman sultans signature) with gorgeous, artistic examples and a Turkish paper decorating technique ebru. In the Giants of the Faith section is a biographical sketch of Saint George and the Dragon which continues onto the next page and includes a large, glorious artwork reproduction of the same. There is a pattern to the information provided for each chapter (34 in each Companion one for each week): Geography Focus, History Focus, Fascinating Facts, Mystifying Myths, Interesting Individuals, Fascinating Foods, Church History Focus, Critical Concepts, and Giants of the Faith. Just in case theres any doubt, the Companions and all the BiblioPlanmaterials have a consistent biblical and Christian worldview. The Companions provide all the necessary textual information for the Classtime and greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for any outside historical reference books or spines. That being said, some may still choose to use the recommended spine readings in order to provide even more historical perspective and textual information.
BiblioPlan Cool History
provides weekly assignment sheets at four different grade level groupings Littles (K-2), Middles (2-6), Upper Middles (6-8), and Advanced (8-12). Its pretty easy to surmise that the goal of these is to allow a family to challengingly study the same time period and the same topics but at their own distinct levels. Templates for a year-long project Giants of the Faith Book are provided along with coordination of coloring pages (lower levels), Giants of the Faith suggestions, and hands-on activities (i.e. crafts, again for the lower levels). There are subtle grade-appropriate variations in the levels but these pages include reading assignments and questions taken from the Companion readings. The Littles book has suggested reading assignments that point to certain sections of the Companions of interest to younger students and Globe Fun (introductory map activities). The Middles and Upper Middles have an Optional Bonus Question or Activity. Both the Upper Middles and the Advanced include periodic (about every six weeks) exams. The Advanced assignment sheets have assorted questions fill in the blank, short answers, short essays (all taken from the Companions) and research essays (outside of Companions). If youre concerned about answers to all these questions they do exist but they arent in the Cool History books. Its necessary to contact the publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org) for permission to download the answers. Im impressed with the general breadth and scope of these assignment sheets. Theyre obviously designed for review, retention, and reinforcement. And, in general, theyre visually appealing with full color illustrations. However, the space for writing answers seems irregular (Middles is too small 3/16" line spacing; Upper Middles has no lines) and may mean it will work best for your students to transfer all answers to notebooks/binders.
BiblioPlan Hands On Maps
provides one or two full-color maps each week that correspond to the weeks lesson content. Instructions for the maps are printed directly on the map. While students may need to gather a little helpful information from the Companions and/or a world map, students will be able to complete the maps at their level more or less on their own. The Middles maps set has suggestions for K-2, 3+, and 5+ students. The Advanced maps set includes six geography exams as well as a geography scope and sequence. The same set of maps is included in both books but the Middles includes some prompts and partial information that make them easier to complete.
BiblioPlan Timelines & Figures
are well-crafted supplements with one distinct advantage over many other timelines theyre in color. The spiral-bound books can be used "as is" or the pages removed and the timeline mounted on a wall or the pages three-hole punched and the timeline placed into a binder which would allow your student to create an entire timeline in one place. Lots of flexibility here. The timeline consists of one or more colored strips (color varies with the time period) plus dated notes on particular events. The student cuts out the graphics and pictures (located in the back of the book) and inserts them in the appropriate place. The Ancient Timeline includes a single timeline. The Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation Timeline includes two timelines one for church history and one for "regular" history. The America and the World Timeline features facing pages one for the Americas and one for the World. As mentioned earlier, the Timeline Figures are mostly in color (some 19th and 20th century figures are prints of original black and white photos) and, frankly, very eye-catching. Figures include portraits, artifacts, geographical features, monuments and buildings, photos or drawings of events, and much more.
BiblioPlan Craft Book
provides over one hundred crafts that correlate with the Family Guides. These are the crafts referenced in the Cool History assignment sheets. And I must say, the book I examined (Medieval) was very impressive. I would have loved to have such a well-illustrated and well-explained variety of crafts and projects to accompany our history studies. On the random page I opened, there are seven crafts which flow from four separate weeks (by the way, there are seven additional projects for those same four weeks the average is over three per week). A few require materials from other sources but most include directions; all include full-color pictures. Heres the selection: Porcelain Painting (buy a kit), Hold a Japanese Tea Ceremony (get details from internet), Make a Kharbhooja Sharbat Drink (directions), Make a Flying Dragon Head (directions), Make a Chinese Dragon (directions), Make a Yurt (directions), Make a Chinese Cricket Cage (directions). Patterns where needed are provided in the back of the book. This book is fully integrated with the BiblioPlan program but could also be used as a supplement to another world history study.
The BiblioPlan Coloring Book
provides coloring sheets to accompany the lessons. These are referenced in both the Family Guides and the Cool History for Littles assignment sheets. There is at least one and often two pages per week.
The BiblioPlan Family Discussion Guide
is for families who want some help in broadening their history studies into thoughtful family discussions. These Guides provide discussion starters that will help you guide your students into a better understanding of the connections between secular history and their Christian faith. One of the advantages of the Discussion Guide is that they allow you to lead discussions without having to study everything in the Companion yourself.
Remember the Days
is a historical textbook series specifically designed for younger readers (K-6). Covering the same topics (World History, U.S. History, Church History, and Geography) as the Companion and having the same 34 weeks of study, there are more fun stories and more "young" appeal. While you will most likely need to read to your early elementary students, upper elementary students will be able to handle much of the reading on their own. Currently Volume 2 (Medieval Days) and Volume 3 (Early Modern Days) are available with the other two expected over the next two years.
BiblioPlan Cool History Classic
is a republished version of an older edition of the Cool History books. In this version (which did not have grade level grouping designations), questions are based on the textual content of Susan Wise Bauers Story of the World rather than on the BiblioPlan Companions.
So, if your whole family is ready to dig into world history and you want flexibility, an excellent road map, comprehensive textual information, and colorful, engaging reinforcement and enrichment possibilities, then look no further than the new, reconstructed BiblioPlan. ~ Janice
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