History Odyssey - Middle Ages (Level 2)

History Odyssey - Middle Ages (Level 2)

# 039408

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Item #: 039408
ISBN: 9780976605744
Grades: 5-9

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

Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
Softcover Book
Brand Name
Pandia Press
1.15 (lbs.)
11.0" x 8.5" x 0.5"
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Why did you choose this?
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Kristina M on Sep 24, 2020
Loved using Ancient Times last year. It was super easy to implement, and my DS loved the reading to go with it.
SaDonna H on Jul 23, 2019
Kristina M on Sep 24, 2020
It looked interesting and my son will be studying middle ages history soon.
Oretta B on Mar 27, 2020
Loved using Ancient Times last year. It was super easy to implement, and my DS loved the reading to go with it.
SaDonna H on Jul 23, 2019
I read great reviews online
Erin W on Dec 11, 2016
My homeschooling wife texted me and asked me to order it.
Ryan K on Sep 7, 2016
Really enjoyed the Ancients package, so we are looking forward to Middle Ages -- helps a disorganized classical homeschooler stay on track!
Emily C on Aug 24, 2016
middle school social studies
Kathryn F on Aug 24, 2016
We used Level 1.
Jessica J on Aug 19, 2016
I've used the History Odyssey Level One series for my son and he really enjoyed those stories and activities.
Kimberly R on Jul 25, 2016
The content seemed fun and engaging
Melisa S on Jul 1, 2016
We did History Odyssey - Ancients (Level 1) this year and became quick fans. It uses such varied resources that interest is maintained, and the reading levels work so well with our home brew literature curriculum.
Emily B on Feb 1, 2016
It looked interesting and my son will be studying middle ages history soon.
Oretta B on Mar 27, 2020
I read great reviews online
Erin W on Dec 11, 2016
Do you need to order additional books?
A shopper on Nov 28, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Middle Ages Level 2 Required Resources:
003618 Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. . . .22.95
017396 Story of Mankind . . . 14.25
011281 One Thousand & One Arabian Nights (McCaughrean) . . . 10.95
007300 Door in the Wall . . . . 5.25
000652 Tales from Shakespeare . . . 3.95
008660 Beowulf, A New Telling (Nye). . . 4.50
008252 Story of King Arthur and His Knights . . . 11.50
012013 Adv. of Robin Hood . . 4.50
014775 Castle (Macaulay) . . . 7.75
004040 Canterbury Tales(McCaughrean) . . . 4.50
011300 Tales from Japan . . . 9.95
002056 Trumpeter of Krakow . . . 5.95
004787 Shakespeare Col. Bk . . . 5.40
039403 History Odyssey Timeline . . . 35.75
This is the publisher’s timeline, but you could also make your own.
Make This Medieval Castle (OOP)
Will I need to purchase one copy of History Odyssey per student, or can a family share one copy?
User on Mar 22, 2017
BEST ANSWER: We share. We make copies for the maps and other worksheets and keep the originals for masters. We just put the book into a notebook so it stays clean and is easy to use.
Is this (History Odyssey Middle Ages Level 2) a bound book, or loose-leaf pages?
A shopper on Mar 10, 2017
BEST ANSWER: The material is loose-leaf pages and does not come with a binder, so you will have to purchase one. I purchased this rather than getting the download as I had previously purchased because I thought it came with a binder, but it did not.
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Rated 5 out of 5
History Odyssey is an excellent choice for those wanting to use the Well-Trained Mind approach to history in the logic years I would also recommend it for anyone wanting a history program which encourages critical thinking and involves plenty of reading and writing as well as some independent researchWe found the Level 2 course to be comprehensive and thorough but never overwhelming It may not be the best choice for reluctant or struggling writers however due to the amount of writing required while kinesthetic learners may not enjoy it since it does not involve much in the way of hands-on learning Because it is academically rigorous I imagine it would be difficult to use with children significantly younger than the recommended age rangeHistory Odyssey is easy to use once you have all the recommended books History is covered chronologically by region The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia is the main spine and historical fiction (including plenty of Shakespeare) and other resources are integrated into the course Many maps are included as are some primary sources The lesson plans tie everything together They are well organized and clearly lay out exactly what the student is expected to do thus making it easy for the student to work independently Lesson scheduling can be difficult since there is considerable variation in the amount of time different lessons take to complete For families in isolated areas or with little access to good libraries the library research trips may be problematic (although access to the internet will help a lot) The course does assume prior experience with outlining since this was taught in the first volume of the series If your child is new to outlining be prepared to teach them Where all parents will have to put in time is in reading and evaluating their students' work There are no suggested answers so it is up to the parent and child to determine whether the summaries outlines biographies and other work are satisfactory
November 27, 2007

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