History Odyssey - Modern Times (Level 1)

History Odyssey - Modern Times (Level 1)

# 004025

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Item #: 004025
ISBN: 9780979849602
Grades: 3-6

Category Description for History Odyssey:

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 titles! Additional recommended (but not required) titles are listed in the appendix of each guide, organized by region studied. You should be able to locate most of these at your library.

According to the author, the study guides were created based on three principles – “that history is fun when it is presented as a story, that history is best studied through the reading of great books, and that history is best taught through a world view with an opportunity to learn about different cultures.” In accomplishing that, it also appears that kids will come away with a very cohesive grasp of history, the sense of accomplishment from creating their own book of information about the time period, and well-honed research, writing, and organizational skills too! Although I’ve seen “the notebook approach” used in unit studies, I love how in this case, it makes the student an active researcher and analyst as they compile their notebook and write their own history. I also love the way the guides speak directly to the student. Being able to manage their own assignments and keep track of their work is an invaluable skill – and terrific college preparation at any age! - Jess

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Softcover Book
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Pandia Press
0.8 (lbs.)
11.0" x 8.5" x 0.25"
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Why did you choose this?
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It seemed like a literature based curriculum that was involved but not too involved. Also, it seemed to be something that included geography well
Kathleen B on Dec 18, 2020
positive online reviews; fit the curriculum we're hoping to implement
Jennifer M on Jul 16, 2020
It seemed like a literature based curriculum that was involved but not too involved. Also, it seemed to be something that included geography well
Kathleen B on Dec 18, 2020
I wanted to look for a neutral history. I like the suggested books.
Belem G on Jul 18, 2020
positive online reviews; fit the curriculum we're hoping to implement
Jennifer M on Jul 16, 2020
I love how this combines all the things I've been doing myself at home - literature, maps, timeline.
Gail H on Sep 3, 2019
I used the History Odyssey Program for the first time last year, beginning with Early Modern Times (Level 1) for my 11 year old son (his 5th grade year). This year we will be moving into Modern Times (Level 1) for 6th grade. We both really enjoyed this program. One of its strengths is its ability to pick and choose from various spines for reading -- this gave us the flexibility to choose easier or more difficult reading each week. It also includes maps and hands-on projects.
Elizabeth G on Jul 27, 2019
This looks like a good resource for Modern History. It had good reviews.
Hollie B on Feb 28, 2018
I wanted to look for a neutral history. I like the suggested books.
Belem G on Jul 18, 2020
I love how this combines all the things I've been doing myself at home - literature, maps, timeline.
Gail H on Sep 3, 2019
4.3 / 5.0
3 Reviews
5 Stars
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1 Star
Rated 3 out of 5
Overwhelming for kids
As a homeschool parent I chose this curriculum for my third grader (says levels 3-6). However this material really is appropriate for 5th-8th (fifth graders who are capable of high level classical education). I regret ordering this. While the maps and questions and supplemental readings are interesting, it would have been better prepared if it was organized exactly how it should be studied instead of relying on the parent and kids to compile each lesson accordingly. It's just too much for elementary school.
January 8, 2022
Rated 5 out of 5
We have been using History Odyssey for 3 years now and we really enjoy it The lessons are clear and easy to follow My kids really enjoy some of the projects as well as the internet links I have found that there is more parent preparation in the Ancient History and Middle Ages (both level 1) than there is for Early Modern (level 1) although the preparation is mostly gathering craft supplies I use it simultaneously for my 4th grade daughter and my 2nd grade son and it works well History Odyssey is not written from a christian perspective and is a thorough easy to use program I highly recommend it
January 11, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5
I originally purchased this curriculum because it seemed to teach organizational and outlining skills as well as provide interesting history projects I had hoped my 6th grade daughter could do much of it on her own because she had such great reading skills Unfortunately the course has proven difficult to useI have found the level 2 Middle Ages Curriculum very time consuming Some of the information was hard to find The books indicated in some cases were out of date We have spent much time searching for names of persons monastic orders etc on the internet The author gives a 2 hour time frame to complete each lesson In reality it has taken my daughter up to 4 hours to complete each lesson with some lessons taking even longer Some lessons required extended research such as the biography of Charlemagne This required days of work instead of hours The only way we could get through all of the material is to continue into the next school year My daughter has had to redo many of the writing assignments as well because she has needed so much help which I cannot always provideBecause developing a Christian worldview in my children is the main reason for my homeschooling I have had to supplement the materials with a Christian history text and books about the lives of the church fathers This has made getting through the course even more time consuming This course has completely overwhelmed me as I attempt to school 4 other children manage a toddler and coming this summer a newborn Though my daughter seems to enjoy the course I have been disappointed in it
April 7, 2010

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