One of the beauties of homeschooling is the fact that you can pattern your homeschool curriculum to the strengths of you children. You don't have to go with "cookie cutter" curriculum. In fact, you don't even have to design your curriculum around one grade level. That's the problem with traditional classrooms. There are kids that are strong in certain areas and there are kids that are weak in certain areas. The teacher usually has to teach to the middle which usually loses the the kids that have problems in that subject and bores the ones that are strong. With homeschooling, you can help your child excel in the areas where he is strong and work one on one with him in the areas where he is weak. Thankfully there are curriculum that help you do just that. TruthQuest History is one of those curriculum.
Several weeks ago we were sent a download for TruthQuest's "American History for Young Students". Almost immediately after beginning to read about this curriculum I knew it would be a great fit for Joshua, my 3rd grade aspergers son. I was not disappointed. Joshua and I both love it and there are several reasons why.
- The first thing that I really liked was that it was a reading based curriculum that uses good books. We love what are called "living books". A living book is a book that brings a subject to life. It's not dumbed down history or history in some boring textbook. We have used living books in our homeschool for years and my kids know so much more history than what I knew when I was there age.
- They give book suggestions for a wide age range. Remember I said above that one of the beauties of homeschooling is being able to choose curriculum that fits your child? Well, what if your child is supposed to be in third grade but reads on a fifth grade level - or maybe on a first grade level? Well, TruthQuest History gives you a broad range of book suggestions written on a variety of grade levels. We have downloaded a couple of suggested books from a popular audio book site so that he can listen to them on his own. Other books I either read to him or he reads himself. Most of the books listed are available from you public library and many can be downloaded for free from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other ebook distributor. But, don't worry, the suggestions given are just that, suggestions. You can really use anything that your library has available for a specific time period. The author does, however, list some guidelines as to how to choose books.
- Another reason I like TruthQuest is the simplicity of the History Guide. After a brief few pages of explanation, the "guide" begins. "Guide" is really a perfect name for it. You see, what TruthQuest does is guide you through history. It goes through each important historical event, lists great books and other resources that can be used and basically leaves it at that. All with very little chit-chat. Oh, there is some chit-chat, but what is there is just an introductory paragraph or two that guides (there's that word again) you into the period of history that you are about to study. However, don't take those few, brief paragraphs lightly. They are there to get the student to think about that period of history and God's hand in it. By the time the study is done, the author's hope is that the curtain will be lifted and God's interaction in our history will be seen.
- I mentioned above about other resources that TruthQuest includes. That's another wonderful thing about this study. The author lists many more resources than someone could ever use. There are the book lists that the author warns is not exhaustive - in fact, she offers suggestions if you can't find any of the mentioned books on the list. She also suggests movies, audio recordings and other fun resources along with what she calls "ThinkWrite" activities. The ThinkWrite activities are basically just writing prompts for those students who wish to keep a journal or notebook. The TruthQuest website also has lapbooks that have been developed for each one of their history guides that can be purchased if you wish. Finally, there is an online forum that one can join to talk about ideas and projects that others have developed to go along with each TruthQuest study.
- This curriculum is great for families. It lists some "spine" books - books that span most of the era that is being studied - and it lists many other books of many grade levels. Although it is written with grades 1-5 in mind, a family could easily adapt this to fit their needs. A spine book could be used as a read aloud that all children listen to, then the parent could assign other books and activities that are more on the child's learning level. TruthQuest also offers advanced level history guides for older students that cover the same time periods as the younger guides do. So, your whole family could study the same thing all at once. The possibilities are endless!
I could go on and on gushing about this great curriculum, but let me tell you why it is working for us. I works for us because it gives many choices. As I mentioned above, it's not a cookie-cutter curriculum. I can pick and choose what books and resources that I want for Joshua to use. I've chosen to be very basic with him on this go around. We are currently still doing some world geography, and, quite truthfully, when you are reviewing something, you never know if it's going to be a good fit for your child anyway. This is definitely a good fit. Do I regret not going deeper with him? Not at all. First of all, the things that I am doing with him are right where he should be right now. Later, when he is ready, we can use more of the activities and go deeper into each topic. Perhaps Jacob can learn along with him and I can pattern some easier things for him and some more advanced things for Joshua. As I said earlier - the possibilities are endless!
Okay, you might think that, after mentioning all of the great qualities of TruthQuest's "American History for Young Students", the cost to buy this might be a bit expensive. I think you will be surprised to find out that the price for a physical copy is just $24.95 with the PDF ebook being only $19.95. There are free samples of each guide along with the table of contents that you can download. Just click here or on any of the hi-lighted links above to get the TruthQuest website. Some of the other TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed other TruthQuest history guides and you can find out what they thought by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free download of the TruthQuest history Guide "American History for Young Students One" in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.