Write From Early Modern History – Review

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AJ’s weakest subject is writing. She actually hates to write and I would say that most issues that we have while doing school work come from writing. There are so many writing programs out there and just as many ways to teach writing. When I was given the opportunity, I was happy to review Write From History.

What is Write From History?

Write From History is an elementary writing program that teaches grammar, spelling, and history all at the same time. It is based off of Charlotte Mason’s methods and uses narration, copywork, and dictation to teach writing.

There are four different eras to choose from:

  • Ancient History
  • Medieval History
  • Early Modern History
  • Modern History

With the exception of Modern History, each era of history is available in either a level 1 or level 2. Modern History is only available in level 2 right now. Level one is geared for kids in grades 1 through 3 and level 2 is geared for kids grades 3 to 5. The level one books are currently only available in manuscript while the level 2 books are available in either manuscript or cursive.

While this is not a complete history curriculum it would be a great supplement to any program. We decided to review Write through Early Modern History Level 2 Cursive.

About the Book

Early Modern History covers 1600 to 1850. It starts with a passage about John Smith and ends with a passage about the Gold Rush. The book is broken into four different sections.

  1. Short stories
  2. Primary sources
  3. Poetry
  4. Folk Tales

The book is extremely flexible and can really be used however you see fit. The author gives a suggested schedule which has the child reading either a short story or a folk tale on day 1. After reading the passage the child does an oral narration and a short written summary about the passage. On day 2 the child completes copywork and grammar from the first day’s reading. The third day has the child doing studied dictation. On the fourth day the child reads either a primary source or poetry and does oral narration and copywork. The fifth day has more studied dictation. Each day takes between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the amount of reading and the length of the copywork.

You are encouraged to set your child up for success and make changes as needed. In fact children who have never done dictation are encouraged to start out with only one sentence and work there way up to a short passage.

There are really great passages in the book including Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry, The Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s Farewell Address, and many more. There is poetry from many different poets like, Henry Longfellow, William Blake, Isaac Watts, and more. Throughout the study children are exposed to many different types of writing. A lot of the reading in the book is way above the third through fifth grade level, but parents are encouraged to read the harder selections to the student.

What I liked

Flexibility! I love the fact that while you have an optional schedule to follow, you are able to make changes to fit the needs of your child. AJ has never really done dictation so the dictation passages were a bit too long for her to start with. I can have her write a smaller section and work up to the longer ones.

Clear Writing. So often in copywork I see the transitions in cursive writing done incorrectly. This book not only has it written correctly, but the font is easy to read. There is also ample space for copying the selections.

Directions in plain English. I have not read up on Charlotte Mason’s teachings and originally I was a little unsure of what to do for dictation and narration. The author spells it all out at the beginning of the book.

History is Studied in more depth. This is by no means a full history course, but I love the fact that we can read about what we are studying in history, especially the primary sources that bring history to life.

Great Price. The book is available for only $22.95 for an e-book or $30.95 for a printed soft cover book.

Things I would change / didn’t work for us

Grammar– While the book can help teach grammar with a color coding system, (circling nouns in one color and verbs in another) I feel a separate grammar program would be a better option for the older grades. There is not an answer key at this time for the grammar section which may be a downfall to some.

Appendix is not removable. The appendix at the back of the book says to remove it and use for student dictation. It would be great if the pages were either perforated or already out of the book. I was unable to remove them.

The Charlotte Mason method. Not necessarily a negative, but as of right now I don’t know how I feel about using copywork and dictation for teaching spelling and grammar. Many people use it and love the methods. I personally do not feel there is enough writing instruction with this method. For now I think we will keep our own spelling and writing program.

Final Thoughts

I love the variety of reading selections available. While I don’t think I will use the program to teach spelling, writing, and grammar, I do plan on ordering the Ancient History book to use next year as a supplement to our reading and history study. For us it would be worth the price for just the reading selections. Those that are familiar with Charlotte Mason’s methods would love this book.

http://themultitaskinmom.com/write-history-reviews/

Learning the States and Capitals

One thing that we will be focusing on this year is learning all of the states and capitals. I never liked learning about history or geography when I was in school, so I always try to make those subjects fun for her to learn. When I came across this video I knew it was something she would love. She did, I hadn’t even planned to use it for a few months but once she heard it she wanted to learn it.

 
We have been listening to this song for a few weeks off and on and she has almost memorized the entire song. She now knows all of the states and capitals, but sometimes messes up the order. I am amazed at how quickly she is picking it up.
 
Another fun way she is practicing  the states and capitals is from online games like they have at http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/.  There is such a variety of games that she has yet to get tired of playing them. We use flash cards once in a while to help study but we make it into a game to see who can name the capital first.
 
I think it is amazing how many free educational resources there are to help make learning fun.
 
 
 
***Update
 
We took the summer off from practicing. About two weeks ago she started listening to the song again, and now she has the entire song memorized. You can see it on the blog face book page here.
 
 
 
 

Ancient History Go Fish Game – Review

History has never been my strong suite. In school I remember reading out of the book and then having to answer questions. In fact the only year I actually liked history was in seventh grade. I had one of those teachers who brought history to life. That is something that I am trying to do this year with AJ. We play games to learn in math, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, but I had never thought about using games to learn history. Prior to this review I had never heard about the Classical Historian but they offer quite a few different products including:

  • Online classes
  • Curriculum
  • Go Fish History Games
  • Memory History Games
  • Constitution Game
  • and more

The Go Fish games come in three different versions, Ancient History, Medieval History, and American History. The memory games come in the same versions. We were given a set of the Ancient History Go Fish Game. It retails for $11.95 and right now they have a deal if you  purchase all 6 history games it is only $59.99.

The Ancient History Go Fish Game comes with 48 jumbo cards featuring different topics.

  • Ancient Asia
  • Roman Empire
  • Mesopotamia
  • Political Leaders
  • Seven Continents
  • Rivers of Early Civilizations
  • Native American Homes
  • Ancient Hebrews
  • Roman Republic
  • Pre History
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Egypt

Each topic has four cards and a different color. There are four different games you can play with the cards. AJ has never learned about Ancient History before so I was a little skeptical of how she would react to the game. She loves it and asks to play every day.

We started by playing Go Fish. It is Just like the regular version except you have to ask for the category instead of the number. (Do you have any Pre History?) The goal is to collect all four cards in a category. While we had fun with the game I didn’t see too much learning. Each card has a picture, the word and three hints about the word on it. The issue I saw with that was that the hints didn’t really explain much about the topic.

Take this card for example. If you had studied Ancient History before then you might know what the Celtic Village is, but if you had not then the hints would not explain it. The only thing that you would know is that it is made of stone, it is in Europe, and it has many families. On the other hand the lack of information in the hints could lead to further discussions and learning. Some of the cards are more helpful with the hints, such as Cave Paintings.

The next game we played was Collect the Cards. Basically one person reads the hints on the cards and the other player tries to guess what the card was. We only played this game a few times. The second time that we played AJ was getting almost every card right, then I discovered that she could see through the cards. I think with the Go Fish game and this one, if you had previously studied the period in history it would definitely be a learning tool.

Then we tried the Continents Game. In that game the player that can put the cards under the right continent the fastest wins. We took a different approach. We went through the cards and tried to figure out with her prior knowledge where each card went. She knew that Egypt was in Africa so then she knew that the Nile River would go in the Africa pile. I think by far this was the most educational game. She had to use critical thinking skills and really think.

The last game was the Chronology Game where you have to put the events in the order as they happened. We couldn’t do that so instead we used the answer key and learned the order that things happened.

Over all I think the game is worth it for $11.95. I would have liked to see a category card for each category (like the instruction cards) that gave a little more information about the cards, that way even if you hadn’t studied the era in history you could still play and learn. If you are planning to study the era in history it will add a bit of fun to your studying. We will not get to Ancient History for a while but when we do I think these cards will be used a lot.