Monday, May 6

Pathway to Liberty {Review}

Stick around our blog for any length of time, and you’ll see that we live in a ‘history world!’  It’s not uncommon for us to use multiple history curricula in any given year….one as the core class and one as an elective.  Recently, we had a chance to check out a brand new one - Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum and their Pathway to Liberty's History Curriculum.   Specifically, we worked with Pathway to Liberty’s World History.
Like the other three years in their history curriculum, Pathway to Liberty’s World History is divided into four distinct levels.  This is a classical approach to history – meaning that it’s designed to be wrapped back around each four years at a deeper level.  Level 1 is for your youngest students, and it is very parent-intensive.  Level 4, the one we used, is for 10th – 12th graders and is almost completely student-oriented. 

There are four lessons per week, incorporating geography, vocabulary, and writing into the history.  Each week includes scripture, history lessons, map work, primary source documents, vocabulary practice, writing assignments, and additional reading.  Each individual lesson includes scripture, a key idea, word study, thinking questions, Biblical reasoning, notebooking pages, visuals (maps, outlines, diagrams), and writing assignments.

At Level 4, the student is working independently and the Teacher’s Guide is your manual for checking some of the material, but as there are many open-ended writing questions, you’re going to need to be familiar with what’s being covered so that you can accurately check your student’s work.  For this reason, it was a little more parent-intensive than I initially believed it would be, although the guide does have a short blurb for some of the writing assignments (others simply say ‘answers will vary’) that hits highlights of what should be included in the response.

At Level 4, the required readings include The Century, The Chain of Liberty (both books shown above), the NIV Bible (you'll want to use this version for the curriculum because of the way things are worded), and a dictionary.  There are reading suggestions for expanded readings, such as All Quiet on the Western Front and the Grapes of Wrath, but these are not required to complete the course.
We started with the beginning of the 20th century, learning about inventions and immigration, before heading into the first World War.  Pathway to Liberty has a YouTube channel with additional videos to supplement learning, and as this is a preferred mode in our family, we made good use of their playlist.  These videos feature both geography and history.  There are also some required videos to watch, as outlined in the lesson plans.

In the weeks that covered World War II, we read from The Century (shown above), watched some YouTube videos, read The Hiding Place together in the evening, and worked on a long research paper about Concentration Camps vs. Internment Camps (student chooses the topic).  This was in addition to the daily work of writing paragraphs and doing word study.
Though often short, the word studies are an integral piece of the curriculum.  Selected words correspond to the level (age-appropriate) as well as the lesson where introduced.  Writing assignments are a very big part of the Level 4 coursework.  Each lesson has multiple open-ended assignments, typically asking for a paragraph of text, for the student to summarize what's been covered, such as the ones from Week 11, shown above.  (Due to some unexpected natural events - like our house flooding - we were unable to actually write in our student was somewhat readable, so we did a lot of discussing and writing on notebook paper.  This is why there are only blank pages - taken before the flood, on the day our product arrived - in our review.)  
Midway through the review, the publisher was kind enough to send us a digital copy of the student book.  Here is a sample chapter of the written work found within those pages...
We primarily used The Century in the coursework covered for the period of this review, but The Chain of Liberty is used as another spine for this course.  It features key ideas, scripture, and Biblical principles as related to history.  Each lesson in the curriculum features one of the key ideas as well, tying everything together.  Similar to the Uncle Eric books, the chapters are short, but thought-provoking, and have questions to prod your student to deeper thought.

Touted as a way for larger families to study history together, I found that it would probably be easier if you have two concurrent levels studying together (eg, Level 2 and Level 3) rather than an entire family that spanned all four levels.  The readings are different for each level, and I’m not sure that I could pull off trying to teach all four levels at the same time.  Most likely, Level 4 could work independently, Levels 2 and 3 could work together, but then I’d still be teaching another history class for Level 1.  That said, while there are families who span all four levels, many families will only bridge across two levels, making this a solid option for multi-level teaching.

See what others are saying about Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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

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