- Reviewed on Saturday, May 10, 2008
- Grades Used: 1st and 3rd
- Dates used: 2007-2008
We used the Ancient History this year. Overall, We liked the way it was organized, by week and grade level. It was easy to purchase the necessary books with the summary at the beginning.
We used the Usbourne and Story of the World as a spine, but were not that pleased with either. Usbourne had a comic book feel and SOW somehow didn't coordinate for us that well. The problem was we had to read a few pages from each source, often jumping around to cover a topic. I even tried to use A Child's History of the World but couldn't make it work.
My children were not retaining much. It wasn't until Famous Men of Rome that we began to feel organized. Looking back at my notes many of the Read-alouds were too advanced for my kids and we abandoned them, probably better for 5th grade. We enjoyed most of the picture books chosen for the K-3 level.
This felt similar to the Sonlight approach we used last year.
Pros: Organization, Literature based (a pro for us anyway).
Cons: The lack of a strong spine left us feeling we were jumping around to cover a topic. Often my kids didn't recall what we were covering.
Addendum: After another year of homeschooling under our belts we are back to Biblioplan. We drifted back when we tried other programs that weren't working - Tapestry of Grace for example. It's working better now. I don't know why, but it seems the most simple curriculum to keep history moving along. I do tend to have to spend some time adding more picture books for my 2nd grader, but overall - we're back to it.
- Reviewed on Thursday, July 20, 2006
- Grades Used: 1st-4th
- Dates used: 2002-2006+
BiblioPlan (www.biblioplan.net) is a literature-based history curriculum based on the four-year cycle outlined by The Well-Trained Mind (www.welltrainedmind.com). Each year is broken down into 36 3-day weeks with recommended class time reading, independent reading selections, family read aloud selections, map/timeline suggestions, writing ideas, and additional optional reading.
Class time: Most of the class time reading is from Kingfisher History, Usborne History, or Story of the World (you would choose which spine you prefer and read from that book, not from all three). There are additional resources you would need for the class time reading (see www.biblioplan.net/SampleResourceList.htm for what I think is a complete list of the class time resources, in spite of the name of the page).
Readers: The independent reading is broken down by K-2nd, 3+ (approximately 3rd-5th), and 5+ (approximately 5th-8th). A separate supplement for 9th-12th (which includes all four years of the history cycle) is also available. These grade divisions are just to give you an idea of the reading level of the selections. You should adjust as needed based on your child's reading ability. I read the "independent" books out loud until each child is able to read well enough to enjoy reading the book.
Family Read Aloud: My favorite part!
Map/Timeline: I show the children the area we are studying, but I decided against doing map/timeline for the grammar stage. I do plan on implementing this for my rising 5th grader.
Writing Ideas: There are writing ideas for both grammar and logic stage children (and I assume the high school supplement has writing ideas for the rhetoric stage).
Optional Fiction and Resources: Even though my eldest is a voracious reader, I found that the regular reading assignments (plus all our other non-history reading) has been sufficient so far. However, if you have an extra-voracious reader, there are additional reading suggestions.
Cost: The cost of each year and of the high school supplement is currently $24.95 each. You should also buy whichever of the spines you choose, as you will need it long-term. After that, you will need to weigh your own budget/space/library/time constraints to decide whether to purchase or borrow the literature books.
Teaching multiple children: Next to the literature selections (I want my children to *love* history), the main thing that sold me about BiblioPlan was how easy it is to use with multiple children. We have four boys who will be in 5th, 3rd, 1st, and PK, and we started this when my oldest was in 1st (so we have completed one 4-year cycle). I plan to continue repeating four year cycles, giving age-appropriate assignments but keeping everyone on the same schedule. For the K-1st, I only require that they be in the same room (they may play quietly) while I read the class time selection and the family read-aloud. I've been amazed at how much they still pick up. The older ones have to be with me on the couch while I read (although I did allow my more fidgety second son to have something to keep his hands busy as long as he remained quiet). Also, I have friends who read while their children color applicable sheets from Bellerophon (www.bellerophonbooks.com).
Worldview: BibloPlan is focused on Western civilization and US history, but it does address other civilizations as well. It is based on a reformed protestant Christian worldview, but it is not "permeated" with it. I think that most non-Christians would be okay with it, but I cannot give an unbiased opinion to that effect. Catholics might not want to go into the Reformation in the same depth as BiblioPlan does, but I think the rest would be okay (but again, I cannot give an unbiased opinion to that effect). Regardless of your worldview, I *highly* recommend going through the annotated book list and reading the comments before ordering or using any of the recommended resources or readers.
I have found it very easy to implement and history is probably my children's favorite class. I am normally one of those anal-retentive people that has to do all the suggested assignments and I want worksheets, quizzes, tests, etc., but somehow history doesn't affect me that way and I only use what I need. There are no tests, games, or activities; we mostly read, read, read. I'm amazed out how much they retain because they love the reading so much. I think retention will increase even more as each child will go through the curriculum 3 times and will have writing assignments starting in 5th grade (note that BiblioPlan has writing ideas for 1st-4th, I just chose not to assign them).