Monday, November 2, 2009

mystery of history, vol. iii & a young scholar’s guide to composers

Oh my. I love, love these books. The TOS Crew was asked to review books from Bright Ideas Press and ours included these wonderful selections. I have heard time again about Mystery of History (or MOH, as homeschoolers call it) but I never knew enough about it to differentiate it from other history studies available. Allow me to gush for a moment.

First, MOH, Vol. III covers the renaissance, reformation and growth of nations, roughly 1455 – 1707. It is adaptable for a variety of ages, but I found it dead-on perfect for middle school. The textbook appeals to my tactile book sense (if you know me, you understand) because it’s meaty and beautiful – the design exudes the time period. Unlike many other homeschool texts, this one spares nothing in the eye candy department. Illustrations are detailed and colorful and incredibly appropriate. The layout is beyond organized. I suspect that author Linda Lacour Hobar and I could have a great time discussing organizational neuroses over a cup of coffee – this book is broken down in a way that makes lesson planning effortless. I heart that. So. Much.

moh3cover.jpg image by homeschoolcrew

Now, for the content: This is a Christian curriculum. It is openly, unashamedly, evangelical Christian. If that’s not your cup of tea, look elsewhere, but if you see history as His Story, this book has that covered. The book’s design gives the appearance of a scholarly treatise, but the text itself is quite conversational in style. Kids can read this and understand it. The stories are easy to digest without being condescending. Hobar speaks directly to the students in her writings. Don’t take my word for it: view a 62 page sample.

And – ack – there’s an activity guide, too. (Still gushing over this one, too… here’s a sample.) The activity guide (also available on CD) is over 500 pages long and includes adaptations for different grade levels, as well as crafts and quizzes and worksheets and maps and Hobar’s kitchen sink (probably). This truly completes the study. I would buy this series just for me, which is probably where I will end up when I am no longer homeschooling. Just me, buried under text books and papers, learning stuff I didn’t get with my undergraduate and graduate degrees.

But I digress.

composers-book-cover-web-231x300.jpg image by homeschoolcrew

We were also asked to review A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers, which covers the biggies from ancient music (Gregorian chants, anyone?) to John Williams. (Yes, that John Williams.) Awesome, right? The book includes 32 lessons that are designed to serve as a year’s worth of study for students in grades 4- 8. It’s taking us a little longer than that, because we are using this as a rotating unit. Each lesson includes wonderful biographical details about each composer, as well as student review pages. There are detailed coloring pages (can’t get the boy interested in those…), a timeline, composer cards and more. Most helpful is the section featuring listening suggestions for each composer. The links are to YouTube videos and include discussion questions for each. (I hate typing in those long strings of characters for YouTube links, but that’s a minor complaint, especially since they are free.) Here’s a sample featuring Bach.


We received free books for review. I was not compensated. My opinions are my own.

1 comment:

calicodaisy said...

Sounds great! History is one of my favorite subjects. As my friends and I often say, we need to homeschool ourselves and get those details down again as adults.