Mystery of History

 Posted by on September 23, 2010  Add comments
Sep 232010
 

I don’t know if you do this, but I have sometimes bought a curriculum with every intention of using it to it’s maximum potential, only to shelve after a few weeks because of time and energy constraints.  Shortly after beginning to home school six years ago, we moved my in-laws up from FL, moved everyone to a new house and then proceeded to help with a church plant and have 2 more babies in the space of a few years. Needless to say, I quickly found myself in survival mode, focusing on reading, writing and math.  Other peripheral subjects like science and history fell by the wayside and were sporadic at best.  The sad thing is, I love those subjects and enjoy teaching them!  I also believe they are important and often help foster a child’s love of learning.

The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar was one of those things I bought, started and petered out on.  Not because it wasn’t great, but because I just didn’t know where to fit it in.

This year when I was trying to decide on a history curriculum, I was debating several, when I remembered MOH and thought, hmmp, why not try it again.

I needed something that was:

Cheap: check!   I already owned the book (1st edition). Even if I hadn’t, it is quite affordable for a year of curriculum.

Multi-level: check! There are three levels which work perfectly for my 3rd, 5th and 7th graders. The levels are broken down as younger (k-3rd), middle (4th-8th), and older (high school).  You can adjust it according to your child’s abilities and interests.

An interesting lesson on Stonehenge.

Taught with a biblical worldview: check!  MOH incorporates Bible history with secular history seamlessly, while addressing a worldview, so that students are prepared for varying viewpoints they might encounter.

Linear timeline: check!  MOH starts with creation and progresses all the way to modern day over 4 volumes.  We have covered various historical periods, including a year-long unit on states and US history last year.  I really wanted the kids to get an overall view of history.

Audio CD’s for listening in the car: check! I was looking at using Story of the World’s audio CD’s to listen to in the car when we are picking up the oldest twice a week.  I was thrilled to find out MOH had added it’s own, which follows the book exactly.  It’s available for purchase of the whole year or there’s MP3 downloads for a quarter at a time, which was easier on the budget for us.

Visual time line: check!  At the end of each week, the author gives you a list of figures that you and the kids can draw and place on the time line.  We actually have most of the figures from our KONOS curriculum and we just add as needed.    Or you can purchase a set on the MOH site.  The author has a great tip for making a time line that can be hung on the wall and then folded and put away using a sewing board.  We never hung our KONOS time line because it required so much wall space, but it was something I always wanted to do because it’s such a great visual of where people fit in history.

The temporary home for our timeline until we make the one suggested in the book.

Since MOH ticked all the boxes, it was a no-brainer.  After visiting their site to find the audio material, I stumbled on some bonuses they had added since I originally purchased mine:

Folderbook material : Available to purchase a quarter at a time is everything you need to make a fabulous folderbook (lapbook) perfect for older kids.  I had intended to use this for the 3rd and 5th graders only, but the 7th grader loves artistic activities so much, she does it as well. It’s great for reinforcing material and gives the kids a visual of all they have learned.

Folderbooks in progress.

Coloring pages: These may sound a little young for my age groups, but these are actually beautifully drawn illustrations for each week of the curriculum.  We use these in the car and the kids color them while listening to the lessons.   Then we display them in art frames for the next week.  At the end of the year, I’ll bind them all together to make a finished book for each child.  Even the 2 and 4-year-olds join in the coloring.

Part of the art gallery. You can probably tell the lower two were done by the toddler and pre-schooler.

Companion CD with printables: All of the maps, pretests, quizzes, etc. are available on the companion CD for easy printing.

A fun project where we aged our maps. One of them got a little more singed than the others.

There’s several other add-ons available in the MOH store.  You can tailor the resources to your home school’s needs and only purchase what you want.

I purchased an extra set of pencils for each child at the back-to-school sales to keep in our history bag, so it's always ready to go. No scrambling at the last minute!

How it works for us: Twice a week when we pick up my high-schooler from classes we listen to all three lessons for the week in the van. We keep a bag with folders, colored pencils and the current week’s picture ready for action. The lessons are only about 5-7 minutes a piece, and by listening to them twice a week, they retain more.  They color the illustrations while listening and then we talk about the material.  During the week, I put folderbook items and any worksheets in their workboxes. I also check out related books from the library and pull out books from our collection for them to read during the week.  On Friday, when we have a break from afternoon science, we’ll do any of the extra activities, like maps and timeline figures together, as well as any quizzes.   To this point, it has worked beautifully and we are all enjoying it, so it’s no mystery why I love this curriculum!


  13 Responses to “Mystery of History”

  1. Kerri, I love the details of how it works for your family. We have incorporated many of your practical ‘work it in’ ways into our schooling habits.

    I can tell this is a joy for you all as evidenced by the beautiful pictures.

    Love the ‘check!’by each point.

  2. I am using MOH III this year with my 11th grader. I used MOH II a few years ago. We’re not doing all the projects but I find the lessons are so interesting and the research projects so great for high school! I love it and wish I had used it before now.

    • I find the lessons interesting, too, Sherri! I feel like this is a great backbone for the kids of sequential history, which I never had in school, that will help them when they study specific periods more in depth later on.

      And I’m really looking forward to the future volumes – glad to know you are enjoying them.

  3. Thanks so much for this! It sounds great. Any subject that includes art is a winner with my 7th and 10th graders! One question…do the 4 volumes basically cover 4 years?

    • I’m glad you asked, Kim, because I forgot to include that! In volume I, there are 108 lessons, meant to be done 3 per week. I’m not sure if the subsequent volumes have the same # of lessons, but they are laid of the same. You can see sample lessons on their website.

      • So they would cover 4 years if you did them in that manner. And if you start early you can repeat them, doing the older student projects the second time around.

  4. Great review on MOH, thanks so much. I love the idea of listening and coloring in the van. Sounds like a great way to learn history with all that they have for resources. Can’t wait to check it out. Thanks again.

    • Thanks, Wendi! Listening in the van has worked well for us. It enabled us to fit one more thing in – and it helps to have a captive audience:) Now instead of grumbling when we have to do pick-up, they grab the bag and head to the van. (sigh of relief)

  5. Kerri, we are using Mystery of History, Volume 1 this year as well. I look forward to incorporating some of your good ideas into our homeschool. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kerri,
    I am seriously thinking of scrapping our current history book for my 7th grader and switching to this. Is the one book all I need, including worksheets, etc? (Assuming I am not planning to use the audio book?)

  7. Thanks for sharing this post. We are using MOH Volume 1 this year. We purchased the companion CD for worksheets and the audio cd’s are the best since my kids hear me talk all day long w/ the other lessons I notice my son listening better when she talks :)

    He loves the timeline which we use a bi-fold project board instead of a sewing board since we couldn’t find that locally.

    I love the lapbook pieces you used. I was thinking on using those so I might try that to give more hands on learning to my youngest who is in 3rd grade this year..

  8. Well, I sold our 7th grader’s current (boring) history program (and some other things) on e-bay and used the money to purchase the M.O.H. book, and printables CD. They came today, and I am so excited! Maybe now I will enjoy world history, too!
    =)

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