Showing posts with label Classical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classical. Show all posts

Thursday, March 11, 2010

TOS Crew Review: History Odyssey: Early Modern Level 1 by Pandia Press

History-my favorite subject.  Ah yes-I love it.  I look forward to any or all opportunities to explore several ways to help teach it.  So I was totally geeked to be able to test out Pandia Press' History Odyssey series.  It was like Christmas around here, when the packaged arrived.  Now before I go on any further-even though history is my "thang", I had never heard of Pandia Press [how sad is that? But I am glad I can share their info with you] prior to seeing it on our list of vendors.  So of course, I had to go over and check out their site-you know-do some initial investigative work.  I saw that it reflected the Classical Education method best, and was intrigued.  I have said this many a times before, I am a Charlotte Mason devotee-but like to branch out and use other methods and styles to create a personalized education plan for my children.  I actually do use some of the Classical concepts-and hope that even if you are not a Classical kind of family-that you do not let that stop you from keeping this product in mind.


Now back to the History Odyssey series. I was given the Early Modern level 1 to explore.  It is written for the 3rd through 6th grade students [which is on the higher age side, for level 1 studies, since it serves a bridge to the next level], but it could serve as a drive-by intro of these subjects for older kids too. I liken it to "getting their feet wet", before diving into a more in-depth history course.  I am saying that because I had my 15 year old teen join us for these lessons-and she enjoyed them just as much as the boy did (in fact, she served as my assistant reader during the study).

I decided to pick and choose some of the lessons to get an overall feel of this program-mainly due to the time constraints, but also because we're studying a tad different era for our history lessons right now.  I was looking to see how involved this is, how easy it was to find the recommended literature to accompany it and so forth.  The program does require a few "backbone" books for this to be properly executed.  I actually had some of them (one that I did not have, was the A Child's History of the World-which I had sold a few years ago-as I frankly was not impressed with it, but it is listed as optional, so no biggie there) and thankfully, I was able to borrow the Susan Wise Bauer's History of the World, Vol. 3, from my friend.

We started with the World lesson (1), then moved along to the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions lesson (6).  I was able to find maybe all but 2 or 3 of the listed books for both of these.  That was encouraging, as nothing is more annoying that getting a program with such obscure books listed, that the lesson is pretty much a flop due to not having those extra resources.   This appears (to me anyhow) to be a lighter coverage than what you find in Susan Wise-Bauer's curriculum...which is good for those not looking to spend so much time in the details and "thick of it".  One could easily move through this level (1) in one semester's time (by not getting so in depth, or not doing as many activities) or stretch it out for the year (as suggested on the web).  Each lesson is laid out in a very organized fashion, there are no "surprises" as you can see right in front of you what you are to be reading, and from what source.  Then you add the additional literature as you wish.  There are also sprinkles of coloring pages you may copy off for your those busy bees who tend to need to move, or simply enjoy it-can color whilst you read.  I even see some recipes too-which is a fun way to truly experience history/world culture. What I especially like, is that she has infused the concepts of Charlotte Mason in this-the notebooking and hands-on activities.  On top of that, there are maps to accompany lessons.  I am a big fan of that option, because it helps to give the student a visual of where in the world this took place.

         Buddy's map of Australia and New Zealand, and their Didgeridoo 
(that low-sounding musical instrument the Aborigines use)

I let my daughter choose the next couple lessons-and well, we struck out a bit on the extra books.  I was unable to find a lot of them for the Australia and New Zealand  (17) and the China lessons (18).  I have access to a very big library system, so this was a concern.  If one lives in a little town, with a not so good library system-then what? This points out the need to then search the subject, to find replacement books-but remember even getting just 2 or 3 of the additional books will suffice nicely.  So please be aware of that.  Another option would be to purchase as many of  the books you feel you'll use (which is a huge investment-so search your library system and ask friends first) via a large book seller-esp. if you know you will be revisiting the level in the future (for additional children). Now, there are also lessons that utilize the Evan-Moor History Pockets [love those], and although she doesn't suggest them for all the areas-you could add on things such as that, or come up with many other "tag alongs" to make it a bit beefier.  I frankly, liked that we could sit and read, do some notebooking and coloring/map work in less than 30-40 mins.,  and call it a day.  If I were using this solely as my only history curricula-then I would definitely add in more goodies, as I didn't find it to be as comprehensive in nature (at least this level), compared to what we usually use.

I do believe that this is a great option for those who like the 4 year cycle of teaching history in eras [IE: Classical approach], or who need a bit more laid back way to cover several areas of history in a short amount of time.  I liked it enough to want to continue to add in some of the lessons to our regular lessons.  And I am looking forward to reading my TOS mates' reviews on the teen levels, since I am "running out of time" and I want my daughter to have some Ancient history, under her belt before she graduates-and the level 3 Ancients may just "cut the mustard" for us.  I am excited that I can download a sample lesson to see if this will meet our needs...something you can do with all of Pandia's History Odyssey series.

You can find a listing of the resources, and sample lessons on the site-but I thought I would share the links for the Modern History Level 1 here:
Table of Contents
Book List
Sample Lesson

So stop by the Pandia Press website and take a look around-and they even offer science curriculum too!

some work on the teacher's part because you have to search out the books and  have pages copied/ready to go, along with gathering of the activity materials

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Pandia Press Homepage
you can purchase the eBook versions directly from Pandia Press or buy the printed version from a distributer. ($28.99 for the eBook I reviewed, others may vary-not all are available in this format)

I found that Rainbow Resource had the best price and most of the series, but you will need to go thru the sources page to find those companies that carry the ones you need.

$24.95 (at Rainbow)

Don't forget to read what my TOS mates had to say about this, and many other fine homeschool products, on our TOS Review Crew Homepage.

***Pandia Press provided me with a free copy of the History Odyssey: Early Modern (level 1) guide, to use and test out with my family.  I have provided an honest opinion of this product, and did not receive financial compensation in exchange for my review.