Embracing a Healthy Family: homeschooling
Showing posts with label homeschooling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeschooling. Show all posts

Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum: US History Review

I'm a huge history fan which has influenced my children to want to learn more about history and the United States. When presented with the opportunity to review the Pathway to Liberty's US History Year 3/Level 3 by Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum, I was very interested. 

Pathway to Liberty's History Curriculum provides history from a Biblical worldview which I like. Our country was founded on the principles of Christianity and with teaching history, I feel it's an absolute that they go hand-in-hand when taught. Level 3 is designated for grades 7th through 9th as it requires logic, reasoning and application of principles. Pathway to Liberty's suggestion to utilize the curriculum four days a week allowed us to complete four weeks for this review. I liked that there is flexibility in the curriculum. For instance, one can start at the beginning or somewhere else within the book. The curriculum is also designed for one student or more and the material will cover 26 weeks of study beginning with Creation through Ancient Greece for grades k-12. The entire set I'm reviewing is:

  • US History Year 3 Level 3 Teacher's Guide;
  • US History Year 3 Level 3 Student Guide;
  • Chain of Liberty; and 
  • Chain of Liberty Studyguide.

US History Year 3 Level 3 Teacher's Guide

The Teacher's Guide is very comprehensive and when starting out, is broken into key sections on how to use the curriculum along with on-line resources. There is also teacher support available by way of question and answer sessions available by weekly appointments and via e-mail. Additional resources can be found online and lessons utilize YouTube videos to enhance the learning experience. For our level, the core recommended book is The Chain of Liberty and The Chain of Liberty Studyguide by Jayme MacCullough along with some others but I noted those two books since we are reviewing them. 

There is a Table of Contents broken down by the 26 weeks along with a Course Outline that corresponds with each week.

Each week starts out with a Weekly Overview discussing first what the content's theme of the week is along with instructions on how to use the week's lesson. The lessons are organized to be flexible and to fit the lesson plans according to your child's needs. Pathway to Liberty stresses that 'you have the liberty to adjust as you see necessary.'

Each section has the answers to the Student's Guide questions.

US History Year 3 Level 3 Student's Guide

The Student's Guide is set up similar to the Teacher's Guide with Table of Contents, Course Outline and Weekly Overview. As Pathway to Liberty suggests one has the option to do, we jumped to Lesson 21 The Civil War: The Cause. We followed the Weekly Overview provided which resulted in our four weeks of work in the suggested time period.

Since we started with Level 3, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain the different levels and how it works within a lesson:

  • Level 1 students will study through literature by reading a biography and identifying literary terms such as character, setting and plot.
  • Level 2-4 students will watch segments of a documentary on The Civil War by Ken Burns and the study guides help to retain key elements. They will also author a research report throughout the four weeks by selecting a key person. This is now where the differences for these Levels come about. Level 2 students will write a 5-7 paragraph paper using 1-2 sources. Level 3 will write a 7-10 paragraph paper using 2-3 sources and Level 4 students will write a 10-12 paragraph paper using 4-5 sources. Anyone who has taken standardized tests knows how important it is to write essays so learning how to source and write good sound introductions and conclusions is critical.

The lesson starts out with providing a brief summary of the key players within the War as well as highlights from diaries and letters from two soldiers from the North and South and an introduction to Frederick Douglas and his importance through the War. The Teaching Objectives are short and concise.

What I also like about each Lesson, is it starts out with a Scripture, a Principle and a Leading Idea as noted below.

Every lesson for each week has repeating tasks such as the week's Scripture, Principle and Leading Idea in the Student's Guide. Other tasks vary such as for Lesson 21, Level 3, students are instructed to read from The Chain of Liberty, complete the corresponding The Chain of Liberty Studyguide, watch a YouTube video on the Civil War, return to The Chain of Liberty Studyguide and choose a topic to research with guide.

Our first week looked like this:

  • Scripture, Principle and Leading Idea rewrite.
  • Read chapter 12 from The Chain of Liberty.
  • Completing The Chain of Liberty Studyguide questions.
  • Watch Ken Burns' The Civil War Part 1 - The Cause.
  • Complete Student Guide's questions.
  • Chose a topic for the research component.

That was a lot to accomplish and cannot be done in one day so we spread it out over the four days as recommended.  I first made sure I acclimated myself with the week's assignment because the material is across many sources. Once I understood where to locate everything for each task, I felt more confident in teaching the week's assignment. An older student, or one that is more independent, could navigate on their own or with little supervision. For me, I enjoy this topic so I wanted to be an integral part of the learning process.

Subsequent week's assignments looked similar to our first week which made it easier to progress forward with less preparation required. 

Our fourth week concluded wrapping up the studies for this topic. We watched Part 5 of Ken Burns' Civil War but ended up switching over to my paid online video account (external to Pathway to Liberty) to watch it on the TV. My student then proceeded to complete the Student's Guide assignments as well as The Chain of Liberty Studyguide assignments as shown below.

The Chain of Liberty and The Chain of Liberty Studyguide

This was fun to read with my student as I was able to ask questions and answer questions. This time, I read the assignment pages to her because I wanted her to really focus on what I was reading. She asked me what did it all mean and I was able to explain to her that our Christian forefathers created the Constitution as such to avoid an over-archiving federal government and how it's being misused today. After I read it, I had her read it again on her own to ensure she truly absorbed all that she read. The assignments in The Chain of Liberty Studyguide also reinforced what she learned as well as provided an opportunity to apply critical thinking and write answers in her own words.

The Chain of Liberty provided reasons why America is in trouble and I completely agree with the author of the book. It is presented in a way that really details how our founding fathers wrote the Constitution and how the interpretation is being eroded by Executive Orders and judicial decisions. It's a great way to introduce children to civics relative to why they need to be the change. My daughter asked me how can she possibly be the change and I told her to learn and educate others. Become a journalist, a politician or a judge. She said she will write a book! These type of courses are fundamental for our children to be educated on so we have hope in returning to the country our Christian Forefathers had planned.

Here is another example with The Chain of Liberty and The Chain of Liberty Studyguide side by side:

A final aspect that I liked about Pathway to Liberty's US History Level 3 was the emphasis on research and writing. The beginning lessons contain instructions and guidance on researching and writing which is what I utilized to help my student complete her writing assignment on a person from the Civil War. The following is Research Model-the 4 R's which helped her to start her weekly assignments on writing her paper. The two other photos are her beginning her paper as well as the rough draft.

Final Thoughts

Overall, my student was challenged with the Pathway to Liberty's US History Level 3 by Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum work. Once I was able to get the hang of the curriculum, as with most, it was easier to teach. She also found that it once she got used to it, she did enjoy what she was learning. She's big into the Bible and enjoyed learning more about different aspects of our Founding Fathers, subsequent US history and how it all relates to the now. She's eager to start our next lesson. I would recommend the Pathway to Liberty's History Curriculum

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More Reviews

Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}

Join in the Adventure by Heirloom Audio For the Temple Audio Review

To some, past events are boring or irrelevant or some might even feel that we have too much history to even bother diving deep into some of the past. One of the resources I like to turn to in order to change up my homeschool routine is through the stories by George Alfred Henty also better known to many as G.A. Henty. He was an English novelist and war correspondent and is known for his historical stories. Historical fiction novels are some of my favorites and although they are fictional, it still induces an interest in history. We were thrilled to be offered a chance to review For the Temple from Heirloom Audio. The two CD set and instant MP3 download audio theatre presentation is unique as it allowed us to use our imagination and provided many points that really captivated my daughter as we listened to it on a road trip. We really enjoy Biblical based stories and having the chance to listen to the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem.

We had started listening to the first audio at home but when they knew we were going on a road trip, they requested we take it on the road with us. My middle daughter spent some time getting familiar with the audio set and reading the material contained in the set before we left. The CDs contain two and a half hours of great story time with actors such as Brian Blessed from Star Wars, Tarzan and King Lear as well as Chris Larkin from Master and Commander and others that really round out this ancient drama. The stage is set with the main character, John, who lives on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. From the forces of Romes to other factions, John will have to decide who and what he will fight for.

Heirloom Audio also provides a study guide to accompany the audio presentation. It is designed for parents with younger children to help them explain and guide them through the story and lessons. It's also great for older children as it provides written assignments. The way it works, is the study guide has sets of questions that covers approximately four to eight minutes of the audio. Each set has three basic components:

  1. Listening Well is great to ensure the child understands what he or she heard as well as tests the retention aspect of what they just heard. 
  2. Thinking Further challenges them to think a bit deeper and has them utilizing their thoughts and imagination more. Some of the challenge questions might include the task of researching for answers.
  3. Defining Words is great for introducing new words not only from a spelling asset but also to build their vocabularies. My dad was a stickler about learning words and he would have loved this.

I'm going to utilize the set that matches A Mighty Armada from the study guide to provide a more in-depth look into how the study guide works with the audio presentation. The top section contains the three sets of questions of Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Words. I like how thorough the sets of questions are such as "How does Josephus reply?" or "What plan does John suggest?" It not only ensures the child listened to the audio but also understood what they just heard. This was a favorite of my daughters as she likes to compete against her old sister and beat her to the answers. The assignment outside of our road trip included looking up the Defining Words and writing them out. The final section on this page of the study guide included more about Gideon's Army and contained a beautiful illustration along with more questions to encourage further thought.

In between listening to the story, I utilized the study guide to reinforce what they heard. I also had an image of the vocabulary words I had my daughter look up and write down but my photo was left behind as I'm finishing this review on my road trip. Although the trip lasted a little over five hours, the complete audio set allowed them educational entertainment. 

"It's really neat that they use sound effects to go along with the story instead of just people talking," Jamie (my middle child)

They were fascinated with the story line and the use of different actors to present the fullest opportunity to let their imagination take over. My youngest was just asking me questions about Jewish history so this was perfect timing. As John continue to endure the events of the time during the Roman occupation and all the unrest, he meets Josephus and joins his Jewish forces in Galilee. The adventures of battle are realistic and I feel better than a movie since the listener can decide the appearances of each character. John survives and returns home to continue fighting the Romans. His tenacity and loyalty continue in making him a formidable character among the Jewish people. It's a truly captivating story and a great opportunity to introduce or reinforce children to people from the Bible if they are not already familiar with them. Overall, we loved Heirloom Audio's For the Temple.

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Don't forget to click below to see what others thought about For the Temple:

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

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