Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: Tools for Young Historians from Brimwood Press

We bought the whole deal from Brimwood, including the scroll timeline and the toothpick lessons. Here's the verdict so far:
Worldview lesson package: She LOVED it. She liked the readings, the crafts, and the discussions.
Toothpick Time: she found it a bit tedious, but it covered important concepts about how centuries are labeled. 
Calendar Quest: she loves the story approach to learning history, and wants to read ahead
What Every Child Should Know about Western Civilization: she likes the information in this guidebook, and she especially likes sticking the stickers on the backs of the Hats of History cards as a visual reminder of what each civilization we read about accomplished. The information sparks some good discussions about everything from the roots of our system of government to whether time can be measured using the metric system. She does the map work, and adds new historical terms and names to her glossary. Some of the questions are discussed orally, and some are answered in writing. 
Scroll Timeline: I was reluctant to shell out the big bucks for this, but having a timeline we can unroll in the upstairs hallway is useful, and she likes adding the stickers to it, and seeing which countries are represented and when they began. I'm glad I got the timeline, since it's a good way to see all of history at a glance. The CD ROM has an Excel file that can serve the same purpose.
Historical Fact Sheets: I print one off the CD ROM whenever it's recommended in the curriculum and have her fill it out and add the corresponding sticker to the timeline. So far she's done a Form of Government fact sheet about Sumerian theocracy, and Arts and Architecture about the Pyramids of Giza. Up next, she'll fill out a Famous Men fact sheet on Hammurabi and a Literature and Theater sheet on a Babylonian creation myth.
Color the Western World: we're not really using this, but it'll probably be a good reference when we're done
I also got the four historical novels to use after we finish the whole course. There's a literature guide for the first one.
I also bought the guide on how to write historical fiction based on family stories, since she loves creative writing. 

We're taking a lot of time with this curriculum, since she's enjoying it so much. I've decided to do history this semester and science next semester, since that allows us to "go deep" and not feel like we have to rush through anything to try to get a certain number of subjects done each day.

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