Wednesday, August 14

Writing Through History {Review}

Even though we have an eclectic style, we often use Charlotte Mason educational principles.  Some of those concepts include narration, living books, and copywork.  Writing Through History combines all of those elements into a simplistic, yet comprehensive, series. 

These books have historical reading passages that the students read from living books, including short stories, primary source documents, poetry, and cultural tales from various time periods. They then have a space to write a summary of what was read, followed by two different copywork passages to practice handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

There are four books in the Writing Through History series: Writing Through Ancient History, Writing Through Medieval History, Writing Through Early Modern History and Writing Through Modern History.  Each book in the series comes in four different level / style combinations.

  • Level 1 is geared to elementary students in grades 1-3 and is focused on basic writing and grammar skills with copywork models.
  • Level 2 is directed towards elementary students in grades 3-5 with emphasis on higher level readings and paragraph writing models.
  • There are two options in each level: Cursive Model and Manuscript Model. This allows you to choose a book based on the type of penmanship you prefer for your student, as the only difference between them is the handwriting style. 
The emphasis is on a gentle approach to learning that is very student-focused…patience, consistency, and practice are key.  She even provides a suggested schedule that makes things even easier for the busy homeschool mom’s planning:

  • Day 1 incorporates reading, oral and/or written narration.
  • Day 2 involves copywork and optional grammar study.
  • Day 3 involves studied dictation.
  • Day 4 involves oral narrations and copywork.
  • Day 5 includes studied dictation.
Obviously this schedule is easily tweaked to suit your needs.  I appreciate resources like this that are truly flexible, and that require no prep time on my part.
We used Writing Through Modern History: Level 1, which covers from 1850 to modern times.  We have been using these books for a couple of years now, and love how they align perfectly with our spine curriculum!  This one is no exception.  My son read the passage aloud each day, then we would discuss it and he copied it.  

We eliminate the dictation portion of this curriculum as he has a hearing disability and auditory processing issues.  However, he does narrate the story back to me.  We focused on each passage for three days before moving on to the next.  It is truly a flexible curriculum in this sense.  Spend as much or as little time on each passage as you'd like....and sometimes, you'll even find yourself running down a bunny hole in search of more information about the day's passage!!
A few other points...

  • You do not have to start at the beginning of the series.  I recommend choosing which era accompanies the curriculum you are using.  They align neatly with Classical instruction eras, such as the four Story of the World sets.
  • It is available as a printed book ($30.95) or e-book ($22.95).
  • This is not a stand-alone curriculum, but designed to be used as a supplement.
  • It could be used in middle and high school, but is geared toward grades 1-5.
  • Writing Through History is available in both manuscript (grades 1-3) and cursive (grades 3-5) formats.  There are several historical time periods available from ancient history through modern history.  We love them so much that we have the entire series!! 
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