History is my middle child's favorite subject, so I try to find things that challenge her while continuing to develop that interest. This "jet plane course" through the history of Western Civilization met and exceeded my expectations. BrimWood Press sent me their history bundle of three books (designed for grades 5-8) for the purpose of this review. Designed to cover the history of Western Civilization in a month, we started it near the end of our school year and have so far enjoyed eight lessons. My children have learned several key players in the covered eras of history, and using the tools they have created with this program they can discuss at least three important contributions from each era.
how we used it:
While designed as a history curriculum, the benefits are far more than learning historical facts. My daughter recently expressed an interest in reading more fantasy books. We looked at several at the library and bookstore, but it wasn't easy finding books that fit that category that were both interesting and appropriate. Calendar Quest is a fiction time travel novel about two children from the 21st century who travel through time in a refrigerator box with Father Time and two pets. The story sets the scene for the study of fourteen different periods in history as the refrigerator box lands in the region that our children study.
For ease of understanding, a few liberties have been taken in the historical fantasy storybook. Language throughout the story is the same. The characters always understand each other’s speech no matter where or when the refrigerator box lands in time. Humor is incorporated throughout the story such as the play on words with Father Time’s bag full of dates. The young boy Evan often replaced the significant historical character’s name with a similar word which could help the children listening to remember as they called out the correct word such as Hammurabi instead of Hammerhead. At times hairstyles and clothing from different periods are explained such as the description of the linen chiton worn by those near where the refrigerator box time machine land in ancient Greece. My children's interest was captured and they wanted to keep reading more. Used with the other components of this curriculum you stop reading after each chapter to discuss the actual facts from each period.
Three or more key contributions are shared from each of the 14 key time periods discussed such as the Babylonian’s base 60 numbering system which influenced our clocks. After taking turns reading the story out loud, the children listened as I read to them from the workbook/text. In the back of the "text" What Every Child Needs to Know About Western Civilization are several additional components to the curriculum. The key tool is the set of fourteen hats of history" cards which depict significant characters from each era. These are full color images printed on card stock, sturdy to withstand handling throughout the program. A game starts off the program requiring the students to try to place the characters in chronological order. Each chapter introduces a new character and helps them learn a framework to build their growing knowledge of history including dates and maps.
|sorting the Hats of History Cards|
What Every Child Needs to Know About Western Civilization uses the story of the calendar as a springboard for telling the story of Western Civilization. Also included are three pages of stickers which depict the important contributions from each era. These are placed on the back of the corresponding card and used as a memory tool as your children narrate back to you the details they have learned.
|Hats of History Card Stickers|
|placing stickers on the back of the Hats of History Card|
Brimwood Press's Coloring Book is a pictorial overview of the major eras of western civilization. The illustrations on the stickers that are placed on the Hats of History Cards are enlarged on the oversize coloring pages. Borders that represent the eras are made of such interesting pictures as cave drawings or the ark of the covenant. My children enjoyed coloring together while I read.
|Coloring Book ~a pictorial overview of the major eras of western civilization|
- What Every Child Needs to Know About Western Civilization: Critical Concepts for Historical Literacy $35.00
- Coloring Book $18.00
- Calendar Quest $14.00
Disclaimer: Brimwood Press provided me with the products indicated for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are included.