Monday, January 10, 2011

Early Modern History Schedule by Easy Classical (TOS Review)

Years ago, when I first began investigating homeschooling there were so many homeschool methods and curriculum options it was completely confusing.  Educating classically interested me, so I purchased a book that came highly recommended by classical homeschoolers:  Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind:  A Guide to Classical Education at Home.   I read about a fourth of this book then put it down, thinking I could never educate classically - it was too overwhelming (Latin?  Really?)  At that time, I needed someone to tell me exactly what to use, how to use it, and when to use it - and that still, for the most part, holds true today.

Enter Easy Classical.    Easy Classical offers easy-to-follow schedules to help you educate your child(ren) using the classical method.

Product details.  

As part of the TOS homeschool review crew I received the Early Modern History (Explorers to 1820) schedule to review, which is part of the history schedule offerings by Easy Classical.  The schedule can be purchased here and is available in two formats:  in a 3-ring notebook for $35.95 or as a downloadable .pdf for $29.95.  The schedule's framework is structured around the book by Susan Wise Bauer I referred to earlier, and makes great use of geography, writing, art and read-alouds in the study of history, and uses many resources that are familiar (Story of the World, Veritas Press timeline cards, and History Pockets, for example) - and even those resources that weren't familiar appear to be items that would appeal to my girls.

The Early Modern History schedule is 106 pages long, and includes 36 weekly schedules divided into five categories for this time period:  Explorers, 13 Colonies, Colonial America, Road to Independence, and Revolution.   Each week's schedule includes not just a schedule of assignments for each day, but also explanations and reminders for the parent of topics covered during that week, a comprehension quiz for the students based on those parent explanations and reminders, and a shopping list of items needed for the following week.  This schedule also included step-by-step "how to draw" pages of items or places of significance during this time period (First Church in Salem, a candle cauldron, colonial trading boat, revolutionary war cannon, liberty bell).  

Also included are instructions on how to use the schedule, a legend of the four icons used on the schedule pages, and a wonderful 3-page list of early history study resources.

What I like 

The schedule tells me what resource to use, what to do with it, and when.  Right up my alley.  Of course, I've been known to tweak, but this schedule lends itself to that tweaking and fine tuning so that it better fits your family.

The shopping list for the next week.  There's not much I dislike more than getting to something on our schedule and not having everything I need to do it.  The list (except for the first week) shows up as a "yellow sticky" at the bottom of each week.  Many of the things on the list are things you likely already have around the house, but they do occasionally throw you a curve - a stale biscuit, a scrap of fake fur, a tea bag, specific colors of construction paper, etc.

The familiar resources that are used.  We already own several, and I know that I can get many of the others from our local library.

The ready-made quizzes for each week (so I don't have to think them up myself!), based on the reminders and explanations given at the bottom of the weekly schedule pages.  These are usually 5-7 questions that make it easy to test for comprehension. 

Ease of reading.  The schedule is laid out in a way that makes it easy on the eyes, and easy to follow. 

What I wish

I wish the pages were numbered.  A small thing, I know - but I've been known to drop stacks of paper, and page numbers would make it so much easier to reassemble.

I'd like to see a couple more art projects.  I think my girls would enjoy these, and the step-by-step instructions make it easy.

Watch out for 

We were not given all of the resources used, so I was unable to review how the full schedule works.  Be sure to check out the resources used (particularly the writing resources) and see if they would be a good fit for your family.  We are lucky to have a great library system and a great inter-library loan system, so many of the read-alouds are available to me through the library.

Be sure to 

Check out the introduction pages here

Check out the sample schedule pages here

Check out the sample art lesson pages here. 

Easy Classical also offers complete schedules for Grades K-6 and various other schedules - be sure to click on "Our Products" and "Curriculum" from their main page to see all the products offered.  

Final thoughts 

I wish Easy Classical had existed (or if it did, I wish I'd known about it) when I first started looking at classical education.  With this schedule, most likely I would not have been so overwhelmed with the method.   Unfortunately, I like this schedule so much that it may make me reconsider what I'm doing going forward - maybe I'll educate classically after all!

Thoughts of my crew mates 

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.


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