Over the last few years we have been given the chance to review quite a few products from Brookdale House, and almost all of them have stuck around after the review period. When we were given the chance to review Writing Through Medieval History Level 2 Cursive, I was excited. We reviewed a different Writing Through History book a few years back, and AJ enjoyed it. Since we are focusing on Medieval history this year, I thought it would be a great fit. For this review we were given a digital copy of the book.
What is Writing Through History?
The Writing Through History series is a writing program created by Kimberly Garcia. It is based off of the Charlotte Mason Methods. Using narration, copywork, and dictation this program combines penmanship practice, thinking skills, writing, grammar, and history. According to the website it is appropriate for children in 1st through 5th grade, but I feel they are appropriate through 8th grade at least!
There are 4 different books based off of the four year history cycle, and each history period is available in 2 levels. Level one is for younger students, where level two is for older students. Each level is available in either print or cursive. You are also given the option to receive the book as a soft covered book, or as a downloadable version. If you only have one child, I would highly recommend the soft covered book. Everything is laid out for you. On the other hand, if you want to use the same book for more than one child, the digital copy might be the way to go, but there will be quite a bit of printing involved.
What is Writing Through Medieval History?
Now that I have explained a few of the overall basics, I can explain more about the book we received. Writing Through Medieval History (the downloadable version) is 405 pages long. It is broken into four different chapters. The first chapter has 29 different historical narratives. These are each about two pages long and then have assignments to follow. Chapter two contains 15 primary source documents that vary in length. Chapter three has 11 different poems, and Chapter 4 has 15 cultural tales from or about Medival History.
There are not any lesson plans included, however there is a suggested daily schedule. Day one your student reads a passage and completes both oral and written narration. On day two your student works on grammar and copywork, and day three they work on studied dictation. On the fourth day they do oral narration and copy work, and on the fifth day they do more studied dictation. You can really use the book however it best suits your needs. Detailed information on what to do each day is included in the book.
If you are not familiar with the Charlotte Mason methods, there is plenty of helpful information in the book to help you along the way. The front of the book has explanations of what your student should do each day along with ideas on how to adapt if your child finds the material too difficult. I found this section helpful as it goes into detail on what your child should do during dictation and the correct way to do narration.
How We Used Writing Through Medieval History
Since we have previously reviewed Writing Through Modern History, I knew that the suggested schedule didn’t really work for us, so I decided to try a different way. While this is a writing program, we used it as a history supplement. Of course, AJ is still getting the benefits of the different writing elements while we learn history.
Each week I looked over the topics that we were studying in history to see if there were any narrations or primary source documents about any of the thing we were learning. One week in history we were learning the very basics about the Justinian Code. Her regular curriculum glossed over the subject, but I found both a historical narrative and a primary source document about Justinian the Great.
The first day I had AJ read the historical narrative about Justinian the Great. Then she narrated about the reading. She has a little trouble retelling what she reads, so this was good practice. After she was finished she did a written narration. The next few days AJ and I read through the Justinian Code, it was a long document so it took quite a while. Each day she read a little bit and then did some copywork.
The grammar element is added by marking the parts of speech after copywork and dictation. AJ has the hardest time picking out each part of speech in a sentence, so each day we focused on a single part of speech.
She worked on copywork, dictation, and narration about Justinian the Great and the Justinian Code for about two weeks. By the time she was done, she had a very good grasp on the concept.
When there wasn’t a historical narrative or primary source that fit our current historical studies, then we would work on a poetry selection or a myth. AJ enjoyed reading about the different myths. Some of the poetry she enjoyed and others she didn’t understand very well. After each selection she would do dictation, narration, and copywork.
It is hard to say how long each lesson took. The writing, copywork and dictation exercises took about twenty minutes to complete, but the reading time varied depending on the document.
What We Thought About Writing Through Medieval History
AJ doesn’t love dictation, and some days she felt there was too much reading, but overall she likes it. I think it is a wonderful book. And plan on using it as a supplement throughout the year. Honestly, if you have a child around fourth grade, I think Writing Through Medieval History (or any time period) could be the backbone of their curriculum. In one book your child learns a great deal of history. There is reading practice that is fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. With a few supplemental books from the library, this could cover history and all of language arts.
The only thing I didn’t care for was the large amount of printing, but as I have said before, I prefer physical books. If you are looking for a Charlotte Mason approach, then I highly recommend this series.
Click here to see other reviews I have done for Brookdale House.
Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a lot of different products from Brookdale House. Click on the graphic below to see what they thought.