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Saturday, June 21, 2008

More on History Odyssey

I'm posting again on History Odyssey, because two people left questions about it it the comments. Now that I've had a little experience it's time for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Well, the bad isn't terribly bad. So I'll start there. Basically, it does require preparation in the sense that you kind of need to have all of the spine materials before you start. It is rather hard to get off to a good start while buying the materials piecemeal. The timeline can be a pain to make, so it might be worth buying one, even though it feels like a waste of money. For all these reasons, I have to admit that I haven't gotten very far in the program yet.

The good is that what we have done has gone smoothly. The organization of it is every bit as good as I had initially thought. Because it's so well organized, it is fairly easy to supplement with discussions, web pages, and anything else that suits the subject at hand. One thing I'd like to see added is suggested vocabulary words. Also, I would recommend that parents using this program have at least some of the materials covered at least some of the time as read aloud. Not only does this give some extra together time, but it gives you a chance to answer questions as they come up rather than later. The Story of Mankind is a bit old, and the language somewhat archaic to modern middle schoolers, so covering some of it together takes the edge off, and can be a positive experience. It reads aloud well.

The ugly... well, I haven't found any yet. I really like it so far. In answer to Nancy's question, I have not found anything either pro- or anti-Catholic. I checked through TSOM, which looked like the spine material with the most opportunity for bias, and found none whatsoever. I jumped to the chapter on the reformation, and even that was extremely evenhanded. I literally could not tell what the author's personal beliefs were in a religious sense. Naturally, I haven't been through all of the side readings yet, but so far everything looks good.