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#1 of 47 Old 10-11-2010, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've heard conflicting things about SOTW. I've heard a few complaints about its accuracy, ans other basic attributes important to a history text. But I notice many many people seem to use it. Are the negatives overblown? Are the good points worth the problems?

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#2 of 47 Old 10-11-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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SOTW is a huge hit in our house!
Personally, I don't see any more "inaccuracies" than one might find in their local school's history text, or in random library books. (Ahem... We did the chapter on Vikings today, instead of celebrating Columbus Day!) Every historian has their biases.
Since we use SOTW as a spine, and follow up most chapters with other resources, I don't worry too much about my kids picking up any gross untruths. Combine that with their ages (when they're more theme oriented, vs. remembering all of the nitty gritty details), and it really isn't an issue for me at all.
I don't let my *12yo* use it as a whole History course, but he enjoys taking part in the lessons.

The biggest benefit it's had here is simply grabbing the kids' attention. I never liked history, and worried about that rubbing off on them. Instead, their enjoyment has rubbed off on me. Now if I could just find the time to finish The History of the Ancient World...

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#3 of 47 Old 10-11-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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We like it - I definitely don't see it is the definitive word on any historical time period, but for introducing the basic stories and timeline to my boys in early to mid elementary, I think it is just fine. We use it through History Odyssey, so we are also reading from the Usborne Encyclopedia and sometimes from A Child's History of the World (or Children's - can't remember right now). I wouldn't probably use it past elementary age, especially as the main spine for a history program, but for it's purpose (introducing younger kids to the story of history), I like it and think it is beneficial.

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#4 of 47 Old 10-11-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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Now if I could just find the time to finish The History of the Ancient World...
Oh my goodness - that has been sitting on my shelf forever! I started it and then put it down and then moved and then forgot about it ... it stares at me off and on, taunting me!

Sorry for the interruption to the original question, just had to comment on that.

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#5 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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I got the complete SOTW ancient set to start - with the Usborne World History and Usborne ANcient History encyclopedias.
I have switched over to History Odyssey, which uses SOTW and the Usborne books. I like the HO time line better - ALOT better. I still use the SOTW activity guide though - since we already have it and some of the ideas are fun. Loving the HO time line and activities though. HUGE hit - DS begs for history on a daily basis the audio book of SOTW gets alot of use around here too.
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#6 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 01:55 AM
 
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We really like it. I have all 4 books.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#7 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 08:45 AM
 
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I am interested in hearing about this as we are considering it for next year. I want something with less work for me pulling everything together!!

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#8 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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We're on our fifth year using SOTW. We went through all four sets and now we're back in Ancient History.

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#9 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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I would not want to homeschool without SOTW. She has put everything together for me. All I have to do is put the recommended reading lists on hold at the library the week before. Awesomeness.

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#10 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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I got the complete SOTW ancient set to start - with the Usborne World History and Usborne ANcient History encyclopedias.
I have switched over to History Odyssey, which uses SOTW and the Usborne books. I like the HO time line better - ALOT better. I still use the SOTW activity guide though - since we already have it and some of the ideas are fun. Loving the HO time line and activities though. HUGE hit - DS begs for history on a daily basis the audio book of SOTW gets alot of use around here too.
Can you explain a little bit more about what you like about HO vs. SOTW?

We've been using SOTW [vol 1, our first year HSing], and I like it for the basic gyst, but we supplement with a LOT of outside reading where possible. We're STILL reading books about Egyptians weeks after "finishing" that chapter!

It's a little weird to me as a non-Christian to have the Bible stories set in the chapters between "real" history, but I try to use that as a teaching moment about culture, legend, myth, etc. and talk about what we can learn from the story even if we don't take it as literal truth.
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#11 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 07:34 PM
 
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I do use SOTW quite extensively but I'd be lost and somewhat frustrated without History Odyssey. We love HO passionately!!!

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#12 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Can you explain a little bit more about what you like about HO vs. SOTW?

We've been using SOTW [vol 1, our first year HSing], and I like it for the basic gyst, but we supplement with a LOT of outside reading where possible. We're STILL reading books about Egyptians weeks after "finishing" that chapter!

It's a little weird to me as a non-Christian to have the Bible stories set in the chapters between "real" history, but I try to use that as a teaching moment about culture, legend, myth, etc. and talk about what we can learn from the story even if we don't take it as literal truth.
History Odyssey uses a different timeline than SOTW. Because of this, you jump around in SOTW quite a bit rather than reading it through in chapter order. The first time through HO, this bugged me greatly. But, I am now okay with it. (We did HO Level 1 Ancients when ds#1 was 1st grade, and then HO Level 1 Medieval Times in 2nd grade. We fizzled a bit and had to finish Medieval times in the beginning of 3rd grade. But, I keep ds#1 and ds#2 together for history and I didn't want to start Early Modern and then Modern times with ds#2 only 1st and 2nd grade. So, we started over again at Ancients - it's more fun anyway!)

With History Odyssey, you use the Usborne Internet-Link Encyclopedia of World History as your main spine and then use SOTW and CHOTW (Child's History of the World), or either/or as additional spines. Also, History Odyssey is very low-key on crafts. Most lessons involved reading the appropriate pages/chapters, looking up a word in the dictionary (like tyrant or dictator), and doing a map. They do have a good supplemental reading list, and also list supplement books that can be used for hands-on projects (for instance the Evan-Moor history pockets books or other books that have crafts and activities from various civilization. There aren't really any coloring pages though with HO.

We use HO, but I also buy the AG for SOTW - I like the narration questions to use while reading SOTW and I also like the coloring pages. It's a bit of money for those two items, but we do utilize them and will so at least 2 more times through history, so I figure it's worth the money.

You can download and try out the first so many lessons of History Odyssey from the Pandia Press website (the same is true of their REAL Science Odyssey curriculum) to get a feel for how it is set-up and what it involves.

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#13 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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HO has no answer key. After several yrs of SOTW, I switched to HO this yr for my 7th grader. I have no way to know if he's answering the questions or narrating correctly. Since I bought it, I'm going to use it this year. But I'll never use it again. I just can't function without an answer key. I don't have time to look up, research, and read every single thing my ds does to see if he's answering & understanding stuff correctly.

HO is not a hit around here.

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#14 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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Can you explain a little bit more about what you like about HO vs. SOTW?

We've been using SOTW [vol 1, our first year HSing], and I like it for the basic gyst, but we supplement with a LOT of outside reading where possible. We're STILL reading books about Egyptians weeks after "finishing" that chapter!

It's a little weird to me as a non-Christian to have the Bible stories set in the chapters between "real" history, but I try to use that as a teaching moment about culture, legend, myth, etc. and talk about what we can learn from the story even if we don't take it as literal truth.
I'm a secular person too Mama so for us, HO has been a better fit than SOTW alone because there are so many suggested supplemental readings. It did make me laugh that I recently has so many biblical story books in my shopping cart recently...

HO does break SOTW up. You will lose "the flow" of reading SOTW as a chapter book. But what you gain is a deeper understanding of each lesson because you gain multiple perspectives. We hit the library once or twice a week with the HO lesson book. We get what we can from the library and sometimes order the rest if it's available.

I can't fathom needing an answer key but I'm an avid reader. So far, nothing has been new to me. But we're only halfway through our first year. I do love history as well so I just planned on reading along with them.

secular classical-ish mama to an incredible 5 year old DS and an amazing 6 year old DD.
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#15 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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History Odyssey uses a different timeline than SOTW. Because of this, you jump around in SOTW quite a bit rather than reading it through in chapter order. .
Is HO not chronological then? If it is, what do you mean about "jumping around"? Like jump from page 84 to 76 to 98 but all within the same time period?

I have a 3 year old, so I don't even know SOTW beyond having read WTM and having seen it mentioned on MDC and WTM forums, but I always assumed we'd us HO as we're secular--but I don't want to use it if it's not chronological!
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#16 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is HO not chronological then? If it is, what do you mean about "jumping around"? Like jump from page 84 to 76 to 98 but all within the same time period?

I have a 3 year old, so I don't even know SOTW beyond having read WTM and having seen it mentioned on MDC and WTM forums, but I always assumed we'd us HO as we're secular--but I don't want to use it if it's not chronological!
I was under the impression that SOTW isn't strictly chronological.

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#17 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone used the audio version?

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#18 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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HO has no answer key. After several yrs of SOTW, I switched to HO this yr for my 7th grader. I have no way to know if he's answering the questions or narrating correctly. Since I bought it, I'm going to use it this year. But I'll never use it again. I just can't function without an answer key. I don't have time to look up, research, and read every single thing my ds does to see if he's answering & understanding stuff correctly.

HO is not a hit around here.
I have heard that about Level 2 - I was planning on using it when ds#1 hit that age (and keeping ds#2 in Level 1 but the same time period) but now I'm not sure. I might have to do history with ds#1 at that age along the WTM lines.

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Is HO not chronological then? If it is, what do you mean about "jumping around"? Like jump from page 84 to 76 to 98 but all within the same time period?

I have a 3 year old, so I don't even know SOTW beyond having read WTM and having seen it mentioned on MDC and WTM forums, but I always assumed we'd us HO as we're secular--but I don't want to use it if it's not chronological!
SOTW goes by civilization moreso than chronologically, whereas HO goes chronologically. So, you will jump around chapters in SOTW if you use HO. HO's main spine is the Usborne encyclopedia, and that goes chronologically. The writer of HO then had to jump around in SOTW to have SOTW line up with the timeline of the Usborne encyclopedia. Hopefully that makes sense.

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Has anyone used the audio version?
We have the print books and the audio books. Two words: Jim Weiss! That man can tell as story, let me tell you, even if he is just reading the words off a page. Sometimes ds#1 and I will try to "read" SOTW like Jim Weiss. We don't use the audio as the main reading, but often the older two boys will listen to the audio book while building Legos (at least when they aren't listening to Percy Jackson ).

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#19 of 47 Old 10-13-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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It is aimed toward younger children, as in grade school age. It is not meant for high schoolers who are needing more in depth facts. I think it is excellent. It tries to bring the children in and does include some historical fiction. But there are no historical lies.
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#20 of 47 Old 10-13-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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Is HO not chronological then? If it is, what do you mean about "jumping around"? Like jump from page 84 to 76 to 98 but all within the same time period?

I have a 3 year old, so I don't even know SOTW beyond having read WTM and having seen it mentioned on MDC and WTM forums, but I always assumed we'd us HO as we're secular--but I don't want to use it if it's not chronological!
Both go in chronological order but since there are things happening at the same time in history, HO follows a slightly different order. For instance, we've been doing ancient Egypt for weeks. HO had us skip to Stonehenge and now Crete for a bit and then we'll finish less ancient Egypt in a few weeks. SOTW would have had us stay in ancient Egypt.

Make sense?

I started researching classical education when my kids were 2 and 3 too!! Hope to chat with you in a few more years.

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#21 of 47 Old 10-13-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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It is aimed toward younger children, as in grade school age. It is not meant for high schoolers who are needing more in depth facts. I think it is excellent. It tries to bring the children in and does include some historical fiction. But there are no historical lies.
I agree with Lisa about the target age and the fact that there aren't outright lies in SOTW. There are historical biases for sure though.

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#22 of 47 Old 10-13-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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Thanks to all that answered--makes sense and now I'm even more excited about HO (in like, 3 years!)
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#23 of 47 Old 10-13-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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So, would HO work for someone who is Christian? We are Catholic specifically and there are not a lot of good Catholic options like this and I think I would prefer secularly over fund. prot- which seems to be the vast majority of other options.

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#24 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 01:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
I have a 3 year old, so I don't even know SOTW beyond having read WTM and having seen it mentioned on MDC and WTM forums, but I always assumed we'd us HO as we're secular--but I don't want to use it if it's not chronological!
IMO as a non-Christian, SOTW is quite adequately secular. Yes, there are Bible stories included. There are also myths, legends, and/or stories made up by the author (some little bit about the life of a kid living at the time or something like that) for every culture covered. These are all presented in a similar manner ("Here's a story/myth/legend from this culture").

I believe the original edition may have presented non-Judeo-Christian stories as myths, while not stating that the Christian stories were beliefs, rather than historical facts, and that this is where a lot of the criticism stems from. I don't recall this being an issue for me in the edition I read, but I know some secular parents insert an appropriate disclaimer as needed.

I do feel that occasionally there is not quite enough differentiation between historical fact and stories/hypotheticals. However, this is more of a universal problem than strictly related to one religion.

There is a heavier focus on Judeo-Christian/Western cultures, though it does touch on other parts of the world as well. I seem to recall the same being true of my public school education, but I don't know how HO handles it.

I've looked at HO, and it looks interesting, but, as far as I can tell, it's lesson plans (more like the SOTW activity guide) rather than a narrative, and the narrative style strongly appeals to both DS and I. SOTW really seems to me to be the least biased, most up-to-date, multiculturally focused, single volume (per year, anyways), narrative option for the grammar stage age group available. The other similar options I'm seeing (Child's History of the World, for example) were written in the early part of the century, and have a much stronger Euro/Judeo-Christian-centric focus. This is the only reason I picked it up in the first place, because I was initially turned off by the non-secular complaints, too. But we're very happy with it!

As for non-chronological... it follows a given culture for a span of time, then moves onto what another culture was doing at approximately the same time. So this involves a certain amount of jumping back and forth, especially since important events in different cultures didn't always happen at exactly the same time. But, as far as I can tell, it's a reasonably cohesive and sensible approach, not just jumping around willy-nilly.

But, I admit, I'm not paying huge amounts of attention to accuracy or timeline, as I'm in the boat (as is the author) that thinks memorable stories to serve as contextual hooks for future learning is more important at this age than strictly facts.

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#25 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 03:06 AM
 
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HO is not all lesson plans - it relies heavily upon books such as Usborne World History Encyclopedia AND SOTW itself. And lots of recommendations for supplementing c other books, websites, activities, etc. The activities and time line are what varies.

I like SOTW, I really do. I like the narrative stories, I think they are a great "hook" for learning more. I like the activities suggested in the AG. I LOVE teh audio CD. It is fairly secular, much more than alot of the curriculums out there.

But I didn't really care for the extent of Christian content. It does talk about mythology from other time periods - such as egypt, greece, and rome. But it specifically calls them out as myths, yet has chapters and activities on Moses parting the sea as if it is historical fact. That I don't personally like. I don't like the religious cartoon coloring pages. There's several about a Biblical figure whose brothers sell him into slavery and he ends up basically coming home a hero instead - not sure why that is even in there to be perfectly honest. While it is fairly secular, I do think it has a strong, but covert Christian slant to it (more obvious in some chapters than in others).

I LOVE HO so far. It goes along well with the Usborne books (we have World History and Ancient History). The SOTW narratives are extra - "hooks" if you will, or role playing spring boards - personalizes what he is reading about in the Usborne books. I like the activities and the list of supplemental reading/websites. I like that it is more historically accurate. And I do like the timeline MUCH better.

Regarding the timeline - SOTW seems choppy and jumpy to me after using HO. HO uses the accurate time line of events. For example - we learned about prehistoric man, then moved to the settling of the Fertile Crescent and beginnings of settled life, then moved to Mesopotamia and Sumer, and the very first writings, then to Sargon and the Akkadians. Next we will learn about Babylon and THEN move on to Egypt. This goes based upon when areas were settled and what was happening in a particular region during a specific time. It flows better, IMO. It is a logical progression, based upon chronological events - building one civilization's achievements upon that of its predecessors. I like that! It basically goes chapter by chapter in our Usborne book - which is honestly our primary TEXT for history with SOTW being a lovely supplement of STORIES.

SOTW, you learn about Nomads (which again tweaks me cuz it ignores the whole concept of prehistoric life and man and the term Nomads doesn't truly apply to this group of prehistoric men), then the Fertile Crescent and then Egypt. So many things took place BEFORE Egypt, which SOTW goes over after the fact. I personally feel that when it comes to history - you should go in chronological order. Especially with little ones who may not really grasp the concept of 4000 BCE vs 3200 BCE. While the Christian content is mild and easily omitted - the time line is a nudge to tweak - unless you use something like HO which has already tweaked it and put it back in its proper order.


We LOVE HO here - and LOVE SOTW, just not as a primary curriculum/Text - the two combined are great though. Add Usborne books for a trifecta
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#26 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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Nature, could you please move up here? We'd love to have you in our history co-op!!!

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#27 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by naturegirl7 View Post
HO is not all lesson plans - it relies heavily upon books such as Usborne World History Encyclopedia AND SOTW itself. And lots of recommendations for supplementing c other books, websites, activities, etc. The activities and time line are what varies.

Hm. I think I must be missing out on the coolness that HO can be because I've never seen the level one books. We started right in on level 2 ancients for 7th grade. It doesn't tie in to SOTW at all (ancients, vol 1 of SOTW is too simple for a 7th grader anyway), has almost no recommendations for supplementary books, and zero suggested activities or websites. Plus, as I mentioned, no answer key. Maybe I would have liked HO more if I got hooked on it before level 2.

Jennifer3141 mentioned not needing an answer key for her history studies & maybe feeling a little surprised I would. I just wanted to mention real quick again that I'm talking about at 7th grader. The depth & breadth of his history studies are much more intense than when he was 5 & 6. I didn't need an answer key for his history studies when he was 5 & 6 yrs old either.

Now I'm at the very beginning of researching the books created by K12, called the Human Odyssey for history.... I hope I can somehow someday find a high school level secular history curriculum that I love as much as SOTW!

North Idaho rural living treehugger.gif mama to: 22 yo DD, 15 yo DS, 8 yo DS, 6 yo DS, 4 yr old DS, 2 yo DD, and 1 yo DS. stillheart.gif And someone new coming this Christmas! stillheart.gif

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#28 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Has anyone used the audio version?
Yes, and it sounds like it is narrated by the boring teacher from Ferris Bueller. HATE it!
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#29 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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I think we're simply history geeks, Zjande. I have a friend doing level three ancients HO with her son and daughter and she hasn't needed an answer key because she does it along with her kids. Gilgamesh threw us all for a loop a bit because that was a HARD read but that mom adored the work. I love that I get some of her materials passed on when they finally finish them and she loves that I can show her our picture books.

I do think HO presumes that one or both parents will be working either in the background or alongside the student and that might not be right for some families. And the essay writing in level three has been incredibly demanding of her kids. But they are writing some amazing stuff!!

My friend started with level 2 because that's where her kids were when HO came out. She is incredibly envious that we get to start with it. I feel so incredibly lucky that by the time we get to Gilgamesh again, we'll have pictures from the gorgeous storybooks HO recommended in level one hopefully stuck in our heads somewhere.

We're excited about Beowulf next year. But we're insane so there you go.

HO makes me envious of the education my kids are getting compared to the cruddy way I learned history. I started chuckling yesterday because I remember that right about this time, we started to learn about how the very nice Pilgrims stepped off the Mayflower and the "Indians" greeted them with corn because they were so happy the smart white people had finally arrived

I had no context for what happened. We were doing ancient Egypt in history in elementary school and then because November was coming, we learned about Pilgrims. It made no sense...

secular classical-ish mama to an incredible 5 year old DS and an amazing 6 year old DD.
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#30 of 47 Old 10-14-2010, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HO is not all lesson plans - it relies heavily upon books such as Usborne World History Encyclopedia AND SOTW itself. And lots of recommendations for supplementing c other books, websites, activities, etc. The activities and time line are what varies.

I like SOTW, I really do. I like the narrative stories, I think they are a great "hook" for learning more. I like the activities suggested in the AG. I LOVE teh audio CD. It is fairly secular, much more than alot of the curriculums out there.

But I didn't really care for the extent of Christian content. It does talk about mythology from other time periods - such as egypt, greece, and rome. But it specifically calls them out as myths, yet has chapters and activities on Moses parting the sea as if it is historical fact. That I don't personally like. I don't like the religious cartoon coloring pages. There's several about a Biblical figure whose brothers sell him into slavery and he ends up basically coming home a hero instead - not sure why that is even in there to be perfectly honest. While it is fairly secular, I do think it has a strong, but covert Christian slant to it (more obvious in some chapters than in others).

I LOVE HO so far. It goes along well with the Usborne books (we have World History and Ancient History). The SOTW narratives are extra - "hooks" if you will, or role playing spring boards - personalizes what he is reading about in the Usborne books. I like the activities and the list of supplemental reading/websites. I like that it is more historically accurate. And I do like the timeline MUCH better.

Regarding the timeline - SOTW seems choppy and jumpy to me after using HO. HO uses the accurate time line of events. For example - we learned about prehistoric man, then moved to the settling of the Fertile Crescent and beginnings of settled life, then moved to Mesopotamia and Sumer, and the very first writings, then to Sargon and the Akkadians. Next we will learn about Babylon and THEN move on to Egypt. This goes based upon when areas were settled and what was happening in a particular region during a specific time. It flows better, IMO. It is a logical progression, based upon chronological events - building one civilization's achievements upon that of its predecessors. I like that! It basically goes chapter by chapter in our Usborne book - which is honestly our primary TEXT for history with SOTW being a lovely supplement of STORIES.

SOTW, you learn about Nomads (which again tweaks me cuz it ignores the whole concept of prehistoric life and man and the term Nomads doesn't truly apply to this group of prehistoric men), then the Fertile Crescent and then Egypt. So many things took place BEFORE Egypt, which SOTW goes over after the fact. I personally feel that when it comes to history - you should go in chronological order. Especially with little ones who may not really grasp the concept of 4000 BCE vs 3200 BCE. While the Christian content is mild and easily omitted - the time line is a nudge to tweak - unless you use something like HO which has already tweaked it and put it back in its proper order.


We LOVE HO here - and LOVE SOTW, just not as a primary curriculum/Text - the two combined are great though. Add Usborne books for a trifecta
I think these two basic methods - looking at a whole culture, and then comparing - are really meant to be complimentary. Clearly, to get any feel for a culture, you have to look at it over a period of time. On the other hand, to contextualize that, it is nice to know what is going on elsewhere.

But a person has to start somewhere I think, and have kind of an anchor for learning about other civilizations, otherwise it could easily become very fragmentary.

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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