Friday, May 25, 2012

Heritage History is a Winner in More Ways than One!

I have mentioned over and over again how much we like to read in our home. That's why when we first started homeschooling I chose a literature based history curriculum (which shall remain nameless since this post is not about them). I have always loved history thanks to my history loving dad who always took us to historic spots on vacation, and, also, thanks to our founding fathers who so wisely were able to see into the future and knew that little old me would be a schoolboy during the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and, therefore, would make me fall even further in love with history because of the historic events in 1976. Was that a run-on sentence? I've never been good at grammar. But, I digress.

Anyway, that really great literature based history program is perfect for John Allen, my oldest, but, after I began homeschooling his younger brother, Joshua, I was quick to realize that the same history curriculum that we had been using would probably not work with him. You see, John Allen's program is a lot of reading - good reading - but still a lot and it is very strict about staying on schedule. If you don't daily stick with the provided lesson plans, then you aren't going to finish that year's study in the prescribed time and therefore not be able to go on to the next year's fantastic study. I had been grateful, however, that I wouldn't have to buy all of the books involved with the program again because I had already used them with John Allen, but, alas, most of them wouldn't be used again for Joshua - at least not for a while.

What I needed to find was a great literature based program that didn't require you to stay on such a strict schedule but still used great books as it's core. One that preferably didn't cost an arm and a leg to buy all of the suggested books.

Enter Heritage History!

I was so excited to when I was chosen to review this curriculum because it really is a complete program - books and everything! It was all on one convenient CD. We are really loving this program.

Let me tell you why.

All of the books are included! First of all, these aren't typical comprehensive history books. There are some books here that cover a broad range of time, but for the most part these are not your typical boring history texts. Instead, the student reads good "Living Books". You've read where I've mentioned Living Books in my posts before. Living books are good biographies, historical sketches, historical fiction, etc. that will engage and excite the reader. We received the "Young Readers" CD from Heritage History. The "Young Readers" CD has books that are written for the elementary student. Although the upper level Heritage History CD's are geared toward particular time periods, the Young Reader Compact Library covers a broad range in order to give the elementary student a good overall foundation for later years.

We also love the fact that there are books that have short biographical selections or historical sketches in them and there are books that are complete biographies of characters or complete accounts of events. With this program you can assign the short biographies and short historical accounts for your child to read and then, if he shows an interest you can allow him to read the longer book. We are doing just that with Joshua right now. He read a few shorter chapters on the Jamestown colony and is now reading a biography of Captain John Smith.

All of the books are old! Now, at first glance that might not seem like it is a good thing. Why would you want old history books. Well, older books haven't been infiltrated with political correctness or historical revision. They tell the truth about history - the whole truth, all the truth and nothing but the truth. The only disadvantage of this is every book that Heritage History uses was written after 1923. Therefore, this curriculum does not cover 20th century history. I would give you a list of all of the books included but then I would have to list over eighty...YES 80+! books that came with this one curriculum. Other sets have other books. I will tell you that Heritage History provides books from such well known authors as H. E. Marshall, Helene Guerber, Jacob Abbott, Alfred J. Church, James Baldwin, Mary Macgregor, Andrew Lang, Samuel Harding, and John Haaren just to name a few.

Don't think, however that just because a book is old doesn't make it interesting. I've even picked up (or how would you call that with an e-Reader? Dialed up?) a couple of the books and read them. They are very good! It was one of those times that I wondered to myself where these books had been hiding all of my life. They are better than most of the modern historical books that I've read.


Everything is included on just one small CD! It's all there. The books, timelines, teacher guide, users guide, maps, pictures...all of it is included. You don't need to supplement with anything if you don't want but, of course you can if you'd like. It's nice to know that I don't have to go searching around for things to use. I just pop in the CD and go from there.

All books are transferable to your e-Reader, tablet or ipad! In fact, you actually get three copies of each book on you CD. One that is formatted for PDF so that you can print it out if you'd like. One that is formatted for MOBI for e-Reader devices like the Kindle. One that is formatted for EPUB which is what most tablets or newer e-Readers use. I've already transferred many of my books onto our tablet for Joshua to use. Very easy and quick to do!

The curriculum is very flexible! Remember me saying that Joshua could never make it with a history program that required you to get so much done in a year? Heritage History is not one of those programs. You can take your time with this and work at a pace that is good for your child. They do include what they call a "Book Selection Register" to help keep the student accountable, but there is no set amount of reading that a child must do every day.

The program is also flexible in that it provides the materials but then leaves it to the parent to decide how to use them. For highly creative folks that like to do develope their own unit studies, etc. this is perfect. You would also think this would be perfect for folks like us who are very busy, but, if you have read my posts for any length of time, you would know that I am not one of those highly creative people that can just whip up a unit study or lapbook on command. But, read further.

The program is once again very flexible in that it can be used on its own, or along side or supplemental to other curriculums. This was a joy for me to find out! Just recently we reviewed another history curriculum that we loved. It provided ideas, a suggested timeline with suggested historical figures and events that we should study. However, it didn't provide the books! We are using Heritage History hand in hand with that other history curriculum and it is working out fantastically!

So, how much does this interesting, flexible, complete program cost? Well, you would think that with over eighty excellent books (and these aren't little picture books mind you!) that it would cost well over $100. Well, if you thought that you would be wrong! How does $24.99 sound?!? Yes! I said $24.99! Even the more time period specific older levels are $24.99! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to go to the Heritage History website to find out more. Already have a curriculum that you are satisfied with but would love to have more supplimental books. Heritage History sells most of their reproduced books seperately as well, so click on through to check out what they have to offer. It's a win/win situation!

Some of the time specific older studies were reviewed by some of the other TOS Homeschool Crew members and you can find out what they thought of those levels by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent Heritage History's Young Readers history curriculum CD for free in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.


  1. Okay, I've read several reviews for this now. I already have a curriculum I'm happy with, but I LOVE the idea of all those quality books, and the price is great!

  2. You will love this then, Leah. Joshua, the son I talked about in the review has aspergers syndrome and just would not be able to do the high intensity curriculum that my older son uses. The curruculum that we use is TruthQuest the Heritage History books fit right in with that curriculum. And, these are quality books at an excellent price! I think you'll be pleased.

  3. this does work fabulously with TruthQuest! :)