I don’t know if you do this, but I have occasionally bought a curriculum with every intention of using it to it’s maximum potential, only to shelve after a few weeks because of time and energy constraints.
Shortly after beginning to home school six years ago, we moved my in-laws up from FL, moved everyone to a new house and then proceeded to help with a church plant and have 2 more babies in the space of a few years. Needless to say, I quickly found myself in survival mode, focusing on reading, writing and math.
Other peripheral subjects like science and history fell by the wayside and were sporadic at best. The sad thing is, I love those subjects and enjoy teaching them! I also believe they are important and often help foster a child’s love of learning.
Mystery of History – A Review
The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar was one of those things I bought, started and petered out on. Not because it wasn’t great, but because I just didn’t know where to fit it in.
This year when I was trying to decide on a history curriculum, I was debating several, when I remembered MOH and thought, hmmp, why not try it again.
What is MOH?
I needed something that was:
Cheap: check! I already owned the book (1st edition). Even if I hadn’t, it is quite affordable for a year of curriculum.
Multi-level: check! There are three levels which work perfectly for my 3rd, 5th and 7th graders. The levels are broken down as younger (k-3rd), middle (4th-8th), and older (high school). You can adjust it according to your child’s abilities and interests.
Taught with a biblical worldview: check! MOH incorporates Bible history with secular history seamlessly, while addressing a worldview, so that students are prepared for varying viewpoints they might encounter.
Linear timeline: check! Mystery of History starts with creation and progresses all the way to modern day over 4 volumes. We have covered various historical periods, including a year-long unit on states and US history last year. I really wanted the kids to get an overall view of history.
Audio CD’s for listening in the car: check! I was looking at using Story of the World’s audio CD’s to listen to in the car when we are picking up the oldest twice a week. I was thrilled to find out MOH had added it’s own, which follows the book exactly. It’s available for purchase of the whole year or there’s MP3 downloads for a quarter at a time, which was easier on the budget for us.
Visual time line: check! At the end of each week, the author gives you a list of figures that you and the kids can draw and place on the time line. We actually have most of the figures from our KONOS curriculum and we just add as needed. Or you can purchase a set on the Mystery of History site. The author has a great tip for making a time line that can be hung on the wall and then folded and put away using a sewing board. We never hung our KONOS time line because it required so much wall space, but it was something I always wanted to do because it’s such a great visual of where people fit in history.
Since Mystery of History ticked all the boxes, it was a no-brainer. After visiting their site to find the audio material, I stumbled on some bonuses they had added since I originally purchased mine:
Folderbook material : Available to purchase a quarter at a time is everything you need to make a fabulous folderbook (lapbook) perfect for older kids. I had intended to use this for the 3rd and 5th graders only, but the 7th grader loves artistic activities so much, she does it as well. It’s great for reinforcing material and gives the kids a visual of all they have learned.
Coloring pages: These may sound a little young for my age groups, but these are actually beautifully drawn illustrations for each week of the curriculum. We use these in the car and the kids color them while listening to the lessons. Then we display them in art frames for the next week. At the end of the year, I’ll bind them all together to make a finished book for each child. Even the 2 and 4-year-olds join in the coloring.
Companion CD with printables: All of the maps, pretests, quizzes, etc. are available on the companion CD for easy printing.
There’s several other add-ons available in the Mystery of History store. You can tailor the resources to your home school’s needs and only purchase what you want.
How Mystery of History works for us: Twice a week when we pick up my high-schooler from classes we listen to all three lessons for the week in the van. We keep a bag with folders, colored pencils and the current week’s picture ready for action. The lessons are only about 5-7 minutes a piece, and by listening to them twice a week, they retain more. They color the illustrations while listening and then we talk about the material.
During the week, I put folderbook items and any worksheets in their workboxes. I also check out related books from the library and pull out books from our collection for them to read during the week.
On Friday, when we have a break from afternoon science, we’ll do any of the extra activities, like maps and timeline figures together, as well as any quizzes. To this point, it has worked beautifully and we are all enjoying it, so it’s no mystery why I love this curriculum!
More MOH Reviews here at TCC
- The Mystery of History by Shannon
- The Mystery of History Vol. III by Richele
- Review of Mystery of History Vol. 4 by Kyle McVay