The best homeschool history curriculum has four ingredients. It is:
- Connects to the human story
- Connects to the student
Watch as Michelle explains the keys to the best homeschool history curriculum, or read on.
Chronology is Key to the Best Homeschool History Curriculum
Any decent history curriculum must be chronological. It has to tell the events of history in order. Without order the student has no context and no understand of either the scope of history or of the causes and effects of history. To understand the Age of Exploration and the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese explorations of the 1400s you have to understand both Malacca and the Ottoman Empire because Malacca controlled the sky high prices for the exotic spices that Europe craved and the Ottoman Empire cut off the trade routes through the Middle East. But these disparate parts of history are either not taught at all or are taught in discrete segments without any context.
Layers of Learning History connects all the big events of history together by teaching them in order, by using timelines as an integral part of the curriculum, and then by pointing out these connections in the daily lesson plans.
The Best Homeschool History Curriculum is Interesting
It makes no difference how good your information is or how organized, if the student isn’t interested. The best homeschool history curriculum will engage the student through good books, videos, hands-on projects, and deep discussions.
Layers of Learning is a hands-on history program written purposely to engage and interest students. We provide the mentor with the tools to tailor the lessons to their students for maximize interest. Mentors choose among the best books so students never have to slog through text books. Mentors choose among many hands-on explorations so they can pick those that will most engage their students. And mentors hold discussions on Deep Thoughts questions that apply best to the people in their own family.
Connecting to the Human Story is Essential for the Best Homeschool History Curriculum
Connecting to the human story means that the student must view the study of history as the study of humanity, how we’ve grown, learned, regressed, made stupid decisions, abused one another, and exhibited courage in the face of terrible odds. Humans are wonderful and awful and the study of history is the study of how humans behave. It has lessons for the present and the future. Without learning from history we are beginning at the beginning with every generation, as though nothing has been accomplished and nothing experienced.
Layers of Learning connects to the human story first by telling stories instead of focusing on dates and names. We also ask students to think about, discuss, and write about the good and bad things that people have done and ask themselves “why do people do these things?”
The Best Homeschool History Curriculum Connects to the Student
As students grow they begin to want above all to know why they should care and what does it have to do with them. This is a valid question that, if not answered, will lose your students. They are right to assume that if it doesn’t apply to them, then it is not important. But history does apply to the student because they are a product of all the choices that have come before and they are making choices now that will affect generations in the future.
Knowledge can be gained in two ways, either we learn from our own experience or we learn from the experiences of others. The first comes naturally but often at a high price. The second comes from studying the choices and outcomes of those who came before us. This is history. But often students need help in finding these connections.
That’s where the Deep Thoughts of the Layers of Learning curriculum really shine. Students have already gained basic knowledge and made connections between events and people in history. Then you ask them what they think.
When learning about ancient Egypt you come across “Should ancient artifacts from far distant countries be return home? Why?” The student’s opinion is honed, the ability to make decisions and think things through is developed, and the student begins to see that she has a place in the events of the world.
When learning about the Hindu Caste system the student is confronted with the unfairness in their own culture “How do you explain disparities in life in your culture? Can people really change their station in life in your culture? How do they do this?”
Of course history has to do with them, the student, because they are part of history, they are one piece in the scope and their decisions now affect the future.
Layers of Learning Has All the Pieces Needed To Be the Best Homeschool History Curriculum
Layers of Learning History is taught chronologically, and even better, it repeats, so it grows with the child and can be used for the whole family at once, to learn together.
It is also hands-on, filled with crafts, activities, projects, paper crafts, and notebooking to keep the interest of students. Layers of Learning only uses living books and never text books as the basis of the child’s education, which also keeps the learning engaging and aimed at the student instead of at the test.
Layers of Learning connects the history into one continuous story of humanity, showing how we have progressed, how we have stayed the same, and how we have regressed from time to time in our journey.
Finally, Layers of Learning connects the student to progression of history, giving him a say and a mission to be part of the story. It helps students decide who they want to be after they decide for themselves who are the heroes and who are the villains in our story.
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