Monday, September 23, 2013

Mystery of History II, second time around

Part of "what we're using this year" would be Mystery of History II.  This is actually our second time through this book which I highly recommend.  Buying this curriculum several years ago I quickly realized that this could easily fit into our goal of hitting all of history twice to accomplish encompassing the different learning stages for our kids.

Let me explain a bit this concept of "hitting it twice".  Actually my concept is somewhat modified from a classical form or a "trivium" in learning.  Basically the idea is that children learn in 3 stages: grammar, logic and rhetoric. 

My definitions here:

Grammar-Getting all the basics down and for us trying to develop and "love of learning" and making it fun.  That second part is more Charlotte Mason than Classical but remember I said "my definitions"!  Personally, at this stage I'm not concerned they get the overall chronological history just learn to have fun learning whatever you want to in whatever order.  They'll put together the timeline of it all in the next stage.

Logic- Understanding the facts of what happened (in relation to history) and getting the overall scope and "feel" of it.

Rhetoric- This is the fun part.  At this stage your students are ready to form opinions and evaluate history.  It can make for some really deep investigations and thoughful papers or speeches!

So with that said, Mystery of History is a great choice to hit those "stages" of learning.  The first time through my girls were in the grammar to logic where they were getting the facts.  As we go through this time they are remembering the names, the characteristics of different cultures/time period etc...  It gives them a good foundation for our trip through this time where we can get more into the rights/wrongs, mistakes, etc...  And the cool thing is they are able to see this and point it out.  It often makes a huge impact.

First time through we did a lot of the project things.  Like for instance this week one of our lessons is on the Dead sea and there are instructions for making salt crystals with Epsom salts.  We would have been all over this when we did this 4-5 years ago on our first trip through.  Today however we're going to follow the suggestion for the older students and they will investigate where Sodom and Gomorrrah are located and write a few paragraphs on how that might be Biblically significant.  I love how Mystery of History gives you these ideas to use or not, the choice is yours.

Over the years we spent some time doing All American History, while we did that we got into the habit of doing one report (usually a biography) and reading one book on their own each month.  I am continuing that practice using the book list at the back of guide.  Though the reading list is not as extensive as Truthquest (which we've also used), it's also not as overwhelming and we really only have time to chose one per student each month so it's plenty.

What I'm really excited about as well this trip through is that by the time we are finished with book II and II book IV should be out!  We had to " hodge podge" some stuff to get what we were used to with Mystery of History for modern history for our boys who have already graduated but I'm excited that our girls will get a much more thorough modern with Mystery of History before they graduate!

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