Literature-Based History (5 out of 5)
History Odyssey, published by Pandia Press, is a literature based history curriculum. There are three levels available, and each level covers one of four time periods in history: Ancients, Middle Ages, Early Modern and Modern times. It is designed to follow classical methods of teaching history, and it is secular.
The program consists of a study guide which includes scheduled reading, research, writing, crafts, and map work assignments. There are black line maps and handouts included as well. You will need to purchase a timeline to use with the program.
There is literature, activity, and reference books that you will be required to buy or borrow for use with the program. You can buy a complete package of books to use with each level from www.classicalhomeeducation.com. The price for each package is around one hundred dollars and includes everything you will need except the spine books and the timeline.
Level one is for grades 1-4 and uses The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History and The Story of the World Series as spines. It focuses on telling history as an interesting story, and includes lots of hands-on activities. There are extensive lists of supplemental books that you can find at most libraries. The assignments include coloring, narration, and copywork.
Level two is for grades 5-8 and uses The Story of Mankind and The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia for spines. It incorporates quality literature for the time period being studied and teaches literary analysis. The assignments include research papers, analysis, map work, and outlining.
Level three is for grades 9 and up and uses The New History of the World and the World’s Greatest Speeches as spines. Great works of literature are read and analyzed, and formal research writing is taught. It is rigorous and it will prepare your student for college work. It includes geography as well.
Pros and Cons
History Odyssey is easy to use and reasonably priced. The assigned books are interesting and age appropriate. It would be easy to teach two or more children in the same level. Levels two and three can be done mostly independently. This program is effective, and it will teach your child to love history.
There are only two possible drawbacks to this program. The first is that although there are numbered lessons, it is hard to know how much to accomplish each day. There are too many lessons to schedule one each week, but too few to schedule one per day. You really have to figure out the scheduling on your own. The second problem is that it is difficult to do all the work assigned, unless you want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on history and literature. Fortunately, you can pick and choose the assignments that you think are most valuable without sacrificing the effectiveness of the program.
Overall, this is a great program. If you would like to use great literature and classical methods to teach your child history chronologically, you will enjoy using this program.