Since my children began homeschooling, one of my main goals has been to try my best to make history fun and enjoyable. I want my children to enjoy history and to therefore remember what they learn in history. I don't want them to go through all these years of homeschooling and do like I did--come out with no knowledge of history at all.
When I received History Odyssey: Ancients by Pandia Press to review for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was really glad to learn that it is a literature-based study. Well, actually, it is a literature-based study guide. It combines history, geography, and writing. I received level two, which is meant for use by grades 5 and up.
The series is chronological, so it begins with ancient times and continues to the Middle Ages, Early Modern History, and then Modern Times.
The lesson plans are directed to the student and are meant to be used independently by the student. They include things like library research assignments, literature books, basic outlining skills, map skills, and even identifying main topics and subtopics. They also include information about which resources and other supplies are needed, how to set up a notebook for the class, and information on making a timeline. Also included are boxes that the student is to check off after completing each assignment listed for each day.
There are several things that my 7th grader and I really like about this program. My son really likes maps, and I like that the maps that are needed for this study are included at the end of the guide. I don't have to go searching for the maps he needs, and that is wonderful! Also, since the maps are included right there, my son is more motivated to actually USE them because they are so convenient to get to.
We both like that the guide is written to the student and is intended to be used with very little help from the parent/teacher. At age 13 and in 7th grade, he doesn't really want me having to oversee every little thing he does. Of course I check his work to be sure it gets done and that it gets done correctly, but he can be independent while he is doing his work.
I like that each assignment has a box to check off once the assignment is completed. With the boxes to check off, he has a visual reminder of what has been done and what still needs to be done. He may not like it so much because it makes it harder for him to "accidentally" forget to do something, though!
There are just a couple of things that I wasn't particularly crazy about. One is that some dates for the timeline go against my personal "young earth" beliefs. For example, in Part X: Ancient Americas, the guide suggests that in 16,000 BC the first Americans arrived across Beringia. To be honest, this happened rarely, though. There weren't a lot of instances of "old earth" dates. The guide also seems to be written from a secular viewpoint. I didn't see any information that actually goes against Christianity--it just didn't support it either. Overall, I have to say that I really like this history program and the way it is done.
If you want to take a look at Pandia Press's website for yourself, you can see History Odyssey along with the other products they sell. To find the history program that I reviewed here and the other levels that I mentioned above, click here. You can also find a list of books and materials that you will need along with the guide, a lesson sample for each book and each level, and the table of contents for each.
If you decide to buy this product, you can get the ebook version from Pandia Press for $33.99. You can order the print version from Rainbow Resource for $30.50. There are several other places that offer these books as well. They can be found on the Pandia Press website.