Thursday, 22 October 2015

Brookdale House - Writing Through Ancient History TOS Review

We incorporate lots of Charlotte Masons ideas into our homeschool journey so I was quietly pleased when Brookdale House were looking for reviewers for Writing Through Ancient History Level 2 Manuscript.

Based on Charlotte Mason's principles of narration, copy work and dictation - Brookdale House have created a tool that teaches history, grammar, writing skills, spelling and more all whilst absorbing works by great authors from the past. The Writing Through History Series is set up as a four year history cycle covering Ancient History, Medieval History, Early Modern History, and Modern History. The four year cycle includes 2 levels; level 1 aimed at grades 1-3 and level 2 aimed at grades 3-5. You can also decide if you want manuscript or cursive writing styles.

I opted for the digital download (a printed book is also available) as I would be using it with multiple students. This came as a 384 page pdf covering history from 2640BC to 400AD and includes short stories, poetry, primary source documents and cultural tales.

Writing Through History Level 2 is broken down as follows;

Introduction - This section talks you through various ways to use the product and gives examples of how to introduce narration, studied dictation, copy work and grammar. It also outlines scheduling ideas. It has clear explanations on how to implement the methods and gives an overview of how the methods work including how to structure narration questions.

Chapter 1 - is full of short stories that give real insight into people, places and events 

Chapter 2 - contains extracts from primary source documents including Sayings of Confucius, Ancient Writings by Herodotus, The Categories by Aristotle and many more.

Chapter 3
 - contains poetry both from and about ancient cultures including The Boaster by Aesop, Hymn to the Nile, Moderation by Horace and many more

Chapter 4 - contains folk or cultural tales like The Enchanted Waterfall, The Clever Trick, The Golden Nugget Tale, The Penny-Wise Monkey etc.

Appendix - includes the grammar guide, oral narration and alternative texts from the Bible.

In all chapters, the reading selection is followed by a practise model and multiple copy work pages. 

I chose to schedule this to three days a week (part of the beauty of this product is you can schedule to suit you) I would print the selected sections over the weekend so that on Mondays they would read the story, answer narration questions and narrate it to me in their own words which they then had to write on their narration page. Tuesdays focused on the copy work and dictation, while on Wednesdays we looked at grammar and additional copy work. I chose to set this up as group work and it worked really well across the different ages. Sometimes I read it to them and other times they would read it to the group then the reader asked narration questions to the group before they would go off to do their individual writing activities. It would also work perfectly well as an individual lesson where the child would read you the story, then narrate it in their own words before doing the copy work and writing.

I loved how the versatile this is; I can choose the history lesson that ties in with what we are currently studying, choose who does the reading, I can choose how to schedule our week, choose to assign it as group work or individual work and I can choose what to include or not include - basically I can tailor this to fit our needs. I love flexible products : )

The four girls (ages 6-13) all loved the cultural/folk tales the best and it was hard to get them to stop at just one, they were quiet happy to do more writing if it meant they could have more stories.

Level 1 is designed for grades 1-3, and Level 2 is for grades 3-5 and is available for $22.95 (or $30.95 for the printed book).

You can see what my crew mates thought of this and other Brookdale House products over at the TOS Blog

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