Monday, January 16, 2012

History


I have a confession to make.

 I love history. I love reading history books.  I love writing history curriculum. I love teaching history at a Christian homeschooling co-op. I most especially love studying history with my own kids.

But for the last two years... I have not done history at home with the boys.

I MISS IT.

Last year Ben started taking classes at our local Community College. He took two wonderful semesters of U.S. History. He had outgrown me. Elijah took my class at our Co-op that same year, so we didn't do it at home. This year Elijah is doing history on his own. Next year he probably will be taking classes at the community college. He has outgrown me too.

Aaron is not ready for me to start history yet, although he does play on the floor while I teach my middle school history class.

I MISS DOING HISTORY WITH THE BOYS.

It was the highlight of our early homeschooling years.

We spent time reading history together every single day.  We had great discussions.  After we read our history together, they read literature books that matched what we were studying.  We did it as a family.  For two of those years, I had several other children that I was "homeschooling" along with my own, and even though each of them was in a different grade, it didn't matter. We all still did history together. 

Studying it in order, from  beginning to end.

I didn't start out doing history that way.

When I first started homeschooling, Ben had been attending a Christian school, and I just continued the history curriculum that his school had been following. I hated it. It was primarily U.S. history, and its focuses were memorizing and testing. We went through the motions for the remainder of that year while I scoured the internet for better options.

I found one. Right in my own backyard.

Originally written by some ladies at our Christian homeschooling co-op, BiblioPlan was designed around two ideas: (1) integrating the study of history and literature (studying both at the same time), and (2) studying the events of history chronologically (as much as possible).  BiblioPlan students followed a four-year plan: They studied the Ancient era, the Medieval era, the Early Modern era and then the Modern era. When they reached the Early Modern era, they studied U.S. and World history at the same time. When they were finished, they started over with the Ancient era again-- only this time, they read more advanced literature and studied each topic in greater depth. In a perfect system, each student would cycle through the four years of study three times, getting more and more advanced as he or she grew. The repetition would cement their history lessons in their minds forever.

When we first started using it, BiblioPlan was just a reading guide that told you two things: (1) Which history lessons to read each week, and (2) What literature readings matched your history lessons for the week.

There were no maps.  No homework assignments.  No tests.  No books full of timeline figures.  No craft ideas.

Just a reading guide.

And we loved it.

My boys came to the table eagerly every single morning for our history readings.  Since the Guide didn't have bells and whistles, I scoured the internet to find maps.  I had to create my own questions to quiz the boys, and we had to find pictures to fill our timeline books.  I even found art projects to accompany what we were doing.  I spent hours pulling it all together.... Plus more hours at the library and on Amazon tracking down the good quality books that BiblioPlan suggested.

We were happy.

I miss it.

Rob and I are part-owners in BiblioPlan now.  We create all of the bells and whistles so that parents don't have to do all of the extra labor that we had to do when we first used BiblioPlan.  We now offer maps, question pages, timeline books, craft ideas and our own history texts that add in the Christian element.  All that parents have to do on their own now is find the suggested literature books in their libraries or on e-readers.

It is a good history program.

But I am not doing it with my own boys, and I miss it.

Teaching at the Co-op is not the same as sitting at a table with my own kids and reading stories of the past to them.

It makes me sad.

I'm looking forward to starting Aaron in BiblioPlan next year.

We'll start in Ancients... I definitely think he will like it!!
  

If you are a homeschooling family... And if you want to bring all of your children to the table together... And if you want to watch history unfold... And if you want to read good quality literature... And if you want to learn Geography as you learn history... and if you want to watch God's story woven into the human story... and if you want your children to LOVE your time together... then you ought to consider using BiblioPlan.  I'm not putting my heart and soul into a curriculum that I don't believe in 100%!!

We have Teacher's Guides to sell to Christian and Classical schools too!!
   

10 comments:

  1. I can't wait until I can do Biblioplan with my daughter! I might even read it on my own beforehand :). I am sure it is amazing.

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  2. We plan to do Ancients next year. Can't wait!

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  3. My oldest will be turning 6 in a few weeks. Do you think Biblioplan would be right for her for this next fall? (She'll be a 1st grader since her birthday was just over the cut-off for kindergarten last year.) She is a auditory/kinesthetic learner with quite a long attention span (eg. we've been reading lots of chapter books together.) She's not reading yet herself. Should she be doing this before we start? Thanks for your advice. I'm hoping you think it will be a good fit, because I'm excited to try it! :) I just had another thought..our next oldest turned 4 recently. Would it be better to wait a year or two, so that he can get more out of it at the same time?

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    Replies
    1. Carol - Ancients is a great starting place for a 1st grade. Make it very low key - Use the Story of the World book to read to her. Get the Companion for YOUR reference (you will use the same book 2 other times so it is a great long-term resource) - Get the Littles pages so you can ask her easy questions (and know what to read out of the Companion) - make a Timeline - go to the Library and find tons of books. Do the hands on activities. You will LOVE it. Your 4 your old will love it too. They don't have to remember everything... the first time through the cycle is when you lay the foundation.

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  4. I just wanted to reassure all those who were thinking about it that Biblioplan is great! We have been doing Ancients this year with our 4th, 2nd, and K boys. They love it and so do I.

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  5. I just wanted to reassure all those who were thinking about it that Biblioplan is great! We have been doing Ancients this year with our 4th, 2nd, and K boys. They love it and so do I.

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  6. Julia, I was wondering if you are planning on incorporating MOH Vol. 4 into the curriculum when it is finished. Also, how hard would it be to use All American History as an option instead of History of Us?

    thank you,

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  7. We will probably incorporate MOH into the curriculum as an optional resource. I'm sure you could use All American History as an added US history resource. We are currently working on our Year 3 and when it is finished you really won't need another option for US history except to supplement. Right now we are dependent upon History of US because our Companion is not rich enough to stand on its own for Year 3. Year 4 is very US history rich but Year 3 is not finished.

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  8. Dear Julia,

    We have searched and searched for a curriculum like this. We've been homeschooling for a little over 5 years, and have become pretty comfortable/happy with everything we're using ... except History. We have 8 children (4 school age) that I try to combine whenever possible, and a good (affordable) History curriculum (that combines the best of Classical and CM) is just not out there! Why?! have we not heard of Biblioplan before?!!

    We are in Ancients right now (finishing up Egypt) using SOTW 1 for my Littles and BF Books for my teens ... we are on track to finish in June, and intend to start Biblioplan Year 2 immediately!

    So exciting!

    Thank You SO Much,
    kathi

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  9. I heard about this from a friend who knows you through adoption efforts and it has CHANGED OUR LIVES!!!!! We have a highly gifted child who did not tolerate school, and also has some special learning needs. Highly gifted children are assumed to be easy. Um . . . no. However, this curriculum is the ONLY one that is easy to adapt for her, and SHE LOVES IT!!!!!

    As great as that is, it doesn't stop there. Other families like ours scramble to find others who learn like theirs. As a speaker at the MCGT conference said in recent years, "Giftedness has no poster child." It is misunderstood, and we hide ourselves, since people unfairly judge us. This makes it much more difficult to find solutions that work - we feel that we cannot talk about it, let alone have productive conversations about it. As people ask us about our curriculum, we tell them, and I have lost count of how many have joined us in preferring it. This is successful with gifted kids, as well, and most curriculum simply is not.

    Did you know that Amazon can't keep used copies of the curriculum in stock? I checked daily for 3 weeks and only got the one I needed because I caught it before lunch break the same day it was listed. It's that good.

    If you want more information on our educational adventure, check out my blog www.SmartPeopleAreCoolToo.Blogspot.com, where I also sing praises about Biblioplan.

    Thank you for sharing this with my friend - I never would have found it, otherwise, and have I have been poking Mache to get it in there - you should really have a booth at the Mache conference - I think it's in March - they need something like this!!!!!! Many Mache members are bummed that they went to the conference and didn't see it there.

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