Our family has been learning chronological, worldwide history with a biblical worldview for the last six years using a fabulous curriculum called The Mystery of History.
If you were able to study world history back in your school days, especially if you learned world history in relation to the Bible, then you were very blessed!
I wasn't blessed in this way. I attended four schools in three different states during my thirteen years of schooling before college, and I know with certainty that I only studied worldwide cultures and historical events a few times: two months' study of ancient Egypt while in the 2nd grade (mainly because a large Egyptian display was coming to our town), and a smattering of chapters read in a very boring history text in the 6th grade. Other than that, all I received was American history, year after year, and only reached WWI one time! Needless to say, history was not my favorite subject in school. Reading dry texts with no additional activities or projects was not my cup of tea, even though I loved to read.
My husband attended the same school district for all 13 years of his schooling, and he didn't have much of world history at all, either. Many of my friends never learned any European history whatsoever. How can we even begin to understand our own nation's history and where we are headed if we don't know the historical record from the past?
After spending months looking online (with dial-up back then) at samples of history programs, I chose The Mystery of History for our family. We would begin "at the very beginning" with Creation, and continue through the Life of Christ using volume I of MOH. We chose to spend two years working through the wonderful material and activities in this book so that we could spend 2-4 weeks doing more in-depth studies of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the life of Christ. It was fabulous!
Of course, when we were already three-fourths of the way through volume I, the author, Linda Hobar, developed some audio CDs of her retelling the lessons in volume 1. The girls wanted me to buy them for our family, but since we were almost finished with volume I, I decided to wait.
And then, of course, when we were about halfway through volume II of The Mystery of History, studying the Middle Ages, Linda finished recording the audio files for volume II. Again, I decided to wait.
Now that we are using The Mystery of History, volume III (Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations), and we aren't very far into the book, I have learned that the audio files for Quarter 1 for volume III are now completed and ready for MP3 download. We are actually able to use this as we read through the remainder of Quarter 1 in volume III!
I am SO excited! (Jumping up and down here...can you see me?)
Linda is a natural writer who has been greatly gifted by God, and she was also blessed with a beautiful reading voice as well. In my experiences, it isn't always the case that the author has a pleasing sounding voice to be used on her own audio CDs and MP3's. So she has been doubly blessed! We have had no problem listening to Linda's voice as she enthusiastically but gently reads through the lessons. We are beginning to feel like Linda comes and visits as we sit and enjoy listening to her read through our history lessons with us. How nice is that???!!!
Audio files for Quarter 1 of The Mystery of History, Volume III are available HERE. They have just recently been made available to the public. Whether you own The Mystery of History, Volume III or not, the retellings of the beginnings of the Reformation and the history of the Renaissance will come to life as you listen to Linda share HIS story of the world, from a biblical perspective. The audio files were easy to download and save to my computer. It's nice to see that even the technical aspect of using these MP3 files have been well thought out. Thank you!
Working through the volumes of The Mystery of History has changed my life. I feel like so many missing gaps and pieces of the puzzle of world history have been filled. I may not remember everything I've read and learned, but I have a much better general view of our world's past historical record. Thank you, Linda, for helping me to gain confidence in teaching world history to my children, and for guiding me down the path to actually loving history now!
Disclosure: The author of The Mystery of History, volumes 1-3 provided me with an MP3 download of Volume 3, Quarter 1 for the purpose of my use and review on this website. No other compensation was provided.
We all want our children to be able to think clearly and make right decisions. We don't want them to be bamboozled by the latest craze in pop psychology or cultural "un"awareness.
One of the things parents can do to help their children think clearly, or critically, is to provide them with materials that force them to think hard - not just about math problems, or how to spell words, or where Timbuktu is, but to have to think hard about choices and problem solving.
I'll admit it. One of my problems during my childhood is that I was lazy and wanted the "easy" answer. When I didn't know how to spell a word, I'd ask my parents. I'd get frustrated when they wouldn't just tell me the answer. They would tell me to get out the dictionary and look up the word for myself. Sigh.
Or with my math homework. Okay, so my dad is this mathematical genius, like the guy on the "Numbers" television program that used to be on TV, and I would look at my dad like he was plain dumb. While doing my math homework. Duh. I would whine and complain, "But that isn't how the teacher explained it in c-l-a-s-s!!!" and I would usually break down in tears, sobbing, because I didn't understand math concepts in a logical way like my genius dad. This time, he was sighing.
I remember doing very few activities that had to do with problem solving while I was in school. I remember breaking into teams, and we had to choose 10 items we could keep with us if we were stranded on an island. I think we did that activity more than a few times in school. But other than that, I don't remember much time dedicated to making wise choices, figuring out when we were being deceived, and critical thinking skills.
Dr. Funster's Think A Minutes contains thinking puzzles and games that are designed to develop critical and creative thinking skills. It also contains a variety of games and puzzles that include language development, math, writing, visual, spatial, and perceptual skills activities that build deductive, inductive, and logical reasoning.
Here are Brittany's thoughts on this book:
"Dr. Funster's Think A Minutes was fun, but it was also really hard. I had to get Mom's help to explain a lot of it."
She did enjoy viewing the problems presented on the pages she was able to complete, but the kinds of thinking in this book were quite different from what she was used to doing. So, she did come to me quite often. I would give her a clue or two, but even then, there were some problems that she couldn't solve. Considering that she's in the 5th grade and this book is rated at the 6th-8th grade level (ages 12-14), I didn't mind walking her through some of the problems. Now that she has used some of the pages, I think we will put this book away in her school box of materials, and we'll bring it out in another six to twelve months when she has matured a bit more. She did like the challenge of the problems and how they really made her think! She just wasn't able to solve all of the problems.
Easy-to-follow directions and answers are included in this book, so if you as the parent are stumped on how to solve a problem, you can check the back of the book for the answers. There are 44 pages in Dr. Funster's Think A Minutes.
View a sample page from Dr Funster's Think-A-Minutes C1!
What other kinds of materials do you use with your children to help teach them critical thinking skills? Please share your ideas!
Disclaimer: Timberdoodle kindly sent me this book in exchange for my honest and forthright review of this product. No other compensation was provided.
Words, words, words! We don't understand all of them even though most of us have been speaking English since toddlerhood. I believe the most challenging aspect of knowing the English language is the wide range of vocabulary that has been carried into our language from Greek, Latin, French, German, and other languages. With over 500,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, it's no wonder that there is so much to learn!
Our family was asked to use and review Word Roots (Level B2) by Critical Thinking Skills Company. Kelsi looked at all of the online samples, and she chose this product, Word Roots (Level B2).
Kelsi (7th grade) has always enjoyed words: saying, writing, reading, and spelling words. She has done some work with roots, prefixes, and suffixes, from learning Latin for almost two years now, but she hasn't done anything that was extremely concentrated in the area of learning roots of words.
Word Roots, in Kelsi's words, helped her to take apart words and figure out their meanings based on the roots that she was learning with this product. She liked it so well that she would often take it to bed with her to use during her free reading time in the evening just before lights out! I don't know that every child would like it as well as she did, but she does really enjoy learning more about words and languages. She also wanted to study these roots on her own to help her with the upcoming homeschooling spelling bee in our community. I would often find her on the couch, after her schoolwork had been completed, studying and working in this book. Wow!
Kelsi's only concern with using Word Roots was that occasionally, two roots and their definitions would be so similar that it was sometimes difficult for her to distinguish the correct answer. However, most of the time, she found the assignments to be at her level, albeit a bit challenging. Kelsi completed half of this workbook during the month in which we were able to review this product.
Word Roots is a product designed more for the independent learner, rather than something used in whole group instruction. This book focuses on Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes which are frequently found in the English language.
Word Roots contains a pre-test, a post-test, the answers to the lessons and assignments, and a glossary in the back of the book.
An especially nice feature of this book is that it may be reproduced, so the entire family can use it to help prepare for state assessment tests, the CAT, the SAT, and more, as well as simply learning more about our complex English language.
There are 72 written activities in Word Roots. This book has been designed for students ages 12 and up, or in grades 7 and up. There are four separate levels of Word Roots: Levels A1 and A2, and Levels B1 and B2.
Click below to view a sample of Word Roots:
Have you used any of the Word Roots books before? If you have, what did you think of them?
My baby has turned eleven years old this week. Does that make me feel OLD?
No, not yet.
But when she turns 18, then I think I will definitely feel OLD.
For the last couple of years, I've told the girls that I don't mind hosting a birthday party with their friends, but I won't be able to spend many hours planning their parties like I used to do when they were very young and we weren't yet educating them at home.
Brittany wanted a horse-themed birthday party this year, so she and I planned out a few things and had fun working around the theme of horses! Here's how her birthday party went:
Hi! I'm Julieanne!