March 25, 2013

Curriculum Review: Mystery of History Volume 1

Mystery of History
Volume 1
Creation to the Resurrection
Second Edition
Author: Linda Lacour Hobar

This year is the first year that we have used Mystery of History for our History Curriculum. I am using it with my 7 year old 2nd grader. We are both thoroughly enjoying it and I have even learned a lot too! History was never my forte but this book has made it very interesting for me and my son as well and I actually like history this year. I love how this curriculum weaves Bible time history into secular history. It helps me to get a full understanding of the big picture. I also love how it is broken down chronologically. That is how my brain works, that is how I think.

As stated above this volume covers the time period in history from creation (c. 4004 B.C.) to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (A.D. 33.) It is broken up into 108 lessons in 36 weeks and two semester tests (which are optional.) There are also periodic quizzes and review sheets included in the curriculum. Instead of doing the entire book in one year I chose to break it into two years. My son will be doing lessons 55- 108 in third grade this fall. For our second grade school year 2012-13 we will have covered 54 lessons (and all that encompasses which I will get to in a bit) from Creation to Jeremiah (629 B.C.)

We usually do history twice a week. For each lesson we read the text which is usually 1- 3 pages and if there are bible verses in it we also read from the bible to make sure to put it into context. Corbin loves that part. He always asks, “Can we read that story in the bible?” I love that. After we read the lesson then Corbin gets to narrate back to me what he learned. He tells me some things and I prompt him with questions as well. Then he goes and does a “Memory Card.” This is one of the things the author suggests the child does in order to concrete what they just learned in their brain. At the end of the year Corbin will have a hole-punched memory card with 6-7 bullet points and a hand drawn picture on it of every lesson that we went through during the year. Memory Cards are a great reviewing tool for tests and quizzes as well. After he is done with his memory card then we do the assigned activity for the lesson. These activities are optional but again, they are another tool for him to concrete in his mind what he just learned. They range from acting out a scene from the lesson to singing songs and even certain field trips or model making. Some days they are very quick and take a few minutes and some days they are full blown projects. Again, they are all optional and up to the parent what they want to do and fit in.

Lesson Title Page

Sample Activity Page

After every third lesson there is usually a review worksheet or quiz (provided in the curriculum.) This is the time that we do timeline figures and mapping exercises too. Basically we do three lessons and then the fourth is essentially a review of the past three lessons, reinforcing concepts through creating characters for the timeline and also reviewing maps or drawing maps for geographic location. I like this part because it breaks up just having lesson after lesson every time we do history. It gets us even more hands on and Corbin loves to create his timeline figures. We both really love maps too and it is fun to see in ancient times where people and cultures lived. After the timeline figure and mapping day then we start over with the next three lessons and when we start again there is usually a pretest which can be done orally to see what Corbin already knows or to just begin to introduce some topics.

Our timeline

I used Konos Curriculum last year and bought their wall timeline.  Because I had the wall timeline I chose to use it for our for Mystery of History. I like how it is big and we can just glance up at our wall and see who fits in what time period in history.  In the Mystery of History Curriculum, Linda gives many practical ideas at the beginning of her book as to how to do a timeline with figures.  You don't have to have a whole wall dedicated and there are many creative ways it can be done.  She includes all this in the front of the curriculum.  When I re-use this book for my younger boy I will probably have him do his timeline in book form because we already have a wall timeline.  There is flexibility here.

Each lesson is well written and organized. Each day for history we take around an hour, give or take. Longer if it is a more involved project and shorter if not. The lessons do not delve deeply into each subject. They touch on the basics and then it is up to the homeschooler (and/or parent of course) on whether or not they want to learn more about the subject they are on. I think in order to keep the lesson time to a minimum is why the author wrote basic lessons. I do find myself wanting more info sometimes but that is when it is up to me to keep diving deeper with Corbin in learning. One of the many benefits of homeschool!

The author, Linda includes a Bible reading list for every lesson and a book reading list for every lesson. This means that if you want to learn more about something in the lesson she has book/video recommendations and scripture references to check out. I also love this section because she has it broken out for appropriateness for younger, middle and older students. It is a great resource and very helpful. Another beneficial resource in the back of the book is a pronunciation guide. This is so helpful because seriously who knows how to pronounce “Ashurbanipal” (ah shoor BAH nee pahl?) Linda has also included question, quiz, pretest and test answers in the back of the book for reference. Lastly, there are several outline maps in the resource section. These maps can be copied and used for the child to color on or fill in areas. She suggests putting the finished maps in the child’s binder in various assigned sections.

At the risk of sounding cliché I give this history curriculum two thumbs up. If I had more thumbs I would give it more! In the intro it explains very well how to use the book, the lessons are very well written and activities well planned.  The organizational structure of the book is easy to understand and intuitive and the learning curve is minimal.The resources are very beneficial and the time it takes to complete a lesson is very practical and realistic.

There are several extra supplements you can get to accompany this book but you don’t HAVE to have any of them. She suggests a few map books/atlases and a packet of pre-done timeline figures that need to be cut out and colored. You can also make all your own timeline figures.  That is fun too. There are also games that can be purchased for further learning in relation to her history volumes. Audio CD’s of the lessons are available to your child to listen to rather than be read to as well. We did get the map book and timeline figures and found them to be useful. I also like that I can re-use most of these items for my younger son when he is ready for history. The timeline figures will have to be re-purchased or re-created though. No biggie, just more fun and reinforcement.

I do love the price for the book as well. $42.95 on sale or $49.95 can’t be beaten for an entire history curriculum!

I highly recommend this curriculum for your history needs.


1 comment:

  1. We likes MOH 2 MUCH more than volume 1. We will be using Vol 3 next year.


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