Expansion of Civilization (500 BC - 1500 AD)

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Item #: 041230
ISBN: 9780967738758
Grades: 9-12

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Publisher: TRISMS

Customer Reviews

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I'm currently using TRISMS Expansion of Civilization (500 BC - AD 1500) for my sophomore year of high school Each level of the TRISMS high school curriculum (Discovering the Ancient World Expansion of Civilization Rise of Nations and Age of Revolution) consists of three pieces: a teacher's manual/key a student assignments book and a large student pack In both the teacher's manual and the student book there is a lengthy orientation (about 20 pages) detailing ways to effectively use TRISMS utilize it for younger children earn credits for different subjects etc The teacher's manual also has a Reading and Resource List which has specific videos magazine articles books etc that could be used in each of the 18 units The teacher's manual contains a copy of the assignment grid that is also in the student book The assignment grid is a 2-page grid that contains assignments for all of the TRISMS subjects (science civilizations literature vocabulary art architecture music and rhetoric) plus people places & events for further research I have VERY mixed feelings about this program The authors although well intentioned present their products as being complete and thorough etc However I believe that it would be very difficult to successfully implement the TRISMS program without an excellent library and/or some money For instance TRISMS claims that its writing program is complete I will say that the literature assignments are varied (thus appealing to a broad range of students) and challenging The composition assignments DO require the student to write lots of essays book reports research papers short stories etc However there is no guide as to how you as the parent are to grade the writing assignments unless you purchase IEW - I typed up a composition rubric that I found in the IEW TWSS syllabus and my mom uses that to grade my papers This can be problematic for parents who wish to systematically grade each writing assignment Additionally the teacher's manual only provides a limited amount of answers for the daily literature questions in the program and the authors stated that because there is no �right answer� in literature the teacher�s manual would not provide ALL of the answers Speaking as a student it would be more practical - and much more helpful - to give the parent answers for ALL of the literature assignments � even if they were only examples or suggested answers That would give a parent a better idea of what to look for when they check their student�s answers to the literature questions The "Literature Helps" found in the back of the Student assignments book can be quite helpful to the parent/teacher in evaluating answers to daily literature questions As a side note some research will need to be done by the student in order to complete all of the literature assignmentsThe vocabulary quizzes are somewhat superficial to me Each quiz is just matching the vocabulary words to the correct definition I can complete one in less than 2 minutes and I've received 100s on every one Even the semester vocabulary "test" is in the same format as the unit quizzes thus providing no real challenge It�s disappointing because the vocabulary quizzes don�t even get progressively harder The semester literature exams however are challenging The student is given several days to read the essay topic research and take notes On the test day the student must write an essay on the given prompt using only the notes as a guide Great SAT/ACT prep in my opinion I do believe that it is helpful to the student to have the IEW program along with TRISMS assignments They incorporate the IEW units into the TRISMS literature assignments well and it gives the student more of an idea as to how each composition assignment should be written Be warned however: some of the literature assignments aren�t listed on the assignment grid - but instead are listed in the assignment details immediately following the grid - and I�ve had to write them in to make sure that I didn�t skip them One downside about the literature aspect of TRISMS are the movie Q&As In several of the units you are supposed to watch a period-related movie and answer about 10 questions on the movie But we could never find the movies so my mom just told me to skip those assignments This made me frustrated because I�m a box-checker and I do not like doing things out of order or omitting them I felt like I was getting a lesser education by skipping the movie Q&As It would be nice of the authors gave direct links to the listed movies or sold the movies on their site That would make it a lesser hassle for the parentThe history portion of TRISMS has different issues I became frustrated with the quality (or lack thereof) of the unit maps For instance in unit 2 (China) I had to find a map of the Han in China around 200 BC I looked in our historical atlas and found the correct map but it didn�t exactly match up with the TRISMS unit map Also when I did the first unit on the Mayans the map of Central America (that was supposed to show where the Mayans lived) was printed upside down! In my opinion the unit maps from TRISMS are very poor in quality I understand that the maps must be blank but absolutely NOTHING is pre-labeled � not even bodies of water I had the worst time trying to figure out where the Atlantic Ocean began and ended while drawing a map of the Vikings On the upside the unit questionnaires are thorough and I enjoyed doing these The civilization questionnaires consist of 36 questions about a particular civilization (such as the Moors T'ang Mongols or Russians) Lesser-known civilizations require a short form questionnaire which also comes in the student pack I also enjoyed the unit worksheets � they honed in on one specific aspect of each civilization You may have some problems finding the answers to some of the questions however I would recommend purchasing an encyclopedia and/or textual references on world history The Internet wasn�t much help in my research and I got my most accurate answers from library books history texts encyclopedias magazine articles etc Because I am using Expansion of Civilization as a Western Civilization credit my mom required me to do the science questionnaires and the questionnaires for art music and architecture I LOVED all of those! They were thorough and really helped to focus on different facets of each civilization Again I would highly recommend using books for these questionnaires Every time I tried to use the Internet it took longer because of looking for different links etc The one thing my mom and I both liked about all of the questionnaires from TRISMS was that I had to cite my sources (from which I got my answers to the questionnaires) in MLA format I�ve done it so much with this curriculum I can do it without thinking! Not many positive things can be said about the history quizzes They were just fill-in-the-blanks for every unit Those were also easy and I could whiz through one in less than 5 minutes The semester exams however easily made up for the ease of the quizzes! There were about 25 questions on each exam requiring responses of at least one sentence in length The semester exams also tested geography and gave the student several civilizations to mark on a world map (a complete key to each quiz and semester exam is provided) The teacher�s manual for the history portion is good but it does not have any map keys for the required maps in each unit so it would be difficult to assess whether the student mapped the correct area(s) or not Also there were times that the question number on a questionnaire wouldn�t match up with the answers in the teacher's manual or vice versa In my honest opinion the Expansion of Civilization volume still needs to go through some proofreadingAfter struggling to get into a �groove� with TRISMS my mom and I finally worked out a plan Since each unit is supposed to take two weeks we do the first page of the assignment grid (science civilization questionnaires maps worksheets vocabulary words and the majority of the literature assignments) and then in the 2nd week we do the second page of the assignment grid (flashcards for the Historical Events art questionnaires music questionnaires and architecture questionnaires [we skip the rhetoric assignments]) I also take the vocabulary quiz and the civilizations quiz at the end of the second week We figured out how to break up the assignments because on the grid every subject is given five vertical boxes Each box seems to represent one school day It balances out pretty well and allows me sufficient time to work on my other schoolworkOverall I believe that if you really work hard and persevere TRISMS can be worth its weight in gold My mom and I really wanted it to work but the open-ended format was overwhelming for my personality type - structured box-checker "get-to-the-point" It was disappointing to pay nearly $500 for a curriculum and to get a product that looked as if it were still in the "rough" I would highly recommend a minimum of 10-20 hours of student/teacher prep before beginning to utilize this program successfully That said please read this review with a 'grain of salt' and prayerfully make what you believe to be the best decision about using TRISMS
May 8, 2010
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