Do you know the way your child learns best? With five of our own, ours run the full spectrum of possibilities from the “I need to put my hands in it before I really GET it” learner, to our creative, artsy learners who write novels and create cartoon characters in the margins of their Math papers, to our “Please, Mom, just give me the textbook and my assignments” learners who need to do the job and check it off their list. This is the area where I feel that as homeschoolers we are truly blessed. Knowing those learning styles really helps tailor educational experiences to the best way our kids will absorb them. The problem is that there aren’t many curricula options that can accommodate them all and even fewer that celebrate them. The history unit studies from Diana Waring Presents can and do; and they’ve been a long-time favorite of mine.
I ♥ History. My kids don’t always share my passion, so being able to present information in a way that interests and sticks with them can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why Diana Waring Presents history unit studies are perfect for our family. I love that Diana understands that:
- We will never be able to spoonfeed our children everything they need to know in just 13 years of schooling.
- We MUST teach them how to learn and where to go for reliable information, so they will always be able to learn what they do need.
- We don’t have to apologize for Biblical history. Modern science and archaeology continue to show that what has long been accepted on faith is absolute truth.
- Teaching, using our childrens’ strengths and interests to instill knowledge, will help them to love learning and retain more knowledge.
It isn’t “learning”, ONLY if it comes from between the covers of a textbook. As a matter of fact, some of the best learning often doesn’t. I want my kids to love books, all books, not just textbooks, as much as I do. But, my reality is that some of them simply will not. So my goal is for all of them to recognize excellent and reliable ones and to be able to utilize what they find in them. I also want them to be able to discern the reliability of the information presented from any source, even a textbook, based on what they already know to be true, the original sources for the information presented and the worldview bias of the author. I want them to be able to form opinions, understand truth and present reasoned arguments for what they know from testing the information themselves. History is more than memorizing names, dates and places and regurgitating the data onto a test page. It’s filled with interesting people, drama, intrigue and passion — rising and falling empires, reasons for the way we do things today, and so much more. It’s loaded with lessons and knowledge we can use to avoid past errors and it begins to lay out our personal place in history, our purpose, and the part we will play in the ongoing story. Making that information come alive and be exciting for kids should be one of the primary goals of all good history curriculum. Diana Waring Presents is exactly that.
This will be the first in a several-post series that introduces you to Diana and her three sets of history curriculum that can take your elementary through high school students from the beginning of time through the Korean War in a way that they, and probably you, have never experienced, before. She has divided the history of the world into three titles: “Ancient Civilizations and the Bible“, “Romans, Reformers and Revolutionaries“, and “World Empires, World Missions, & World Wars“. To complete all three titles, will take at least three years and you may want to stretch your schedule out over even more time, depending on how involved and interested your students get in each phase. The beauty of this unit study method is that once you have completed all three sets, you can begin again, studying through each period in history, utilizing different books and activities, going even more in-depth with your, now, older students, who will build on the foundation of what they already know. History will become “real” to your students (and to you) and you and they will become excited and care more deeply about your places in it.
Recognizing that students have different strengths and learning styles, each unit of a Diana Waring Presents history curricula is divided into four phases. Phase One introduces students to the subject-matter and will really appeal to your “people person” learners or as Diana calls them, the “Feelers”. They’ll be drawn into the dramatic and intriguing lives and events of history through reading, audio recordings and other resources. Open-ended questions will pepper the discussions during this phase, causing students to think, form ideas and opinions and making them anxious to investigate and research to find more information, so they will discover what THEY believe, not just parrot back what they’ve been told is true.
Your “Thinkers” or as I often call mine, your “Ducks in a Row” students, will be drawn in by Phase Two of each unit. This phase is designed for the child who “just wants the facts” and to be able to commit them to memory. This is achieved through working through a historical chronology — creating their own timelines, spending time with vocabulary drill, as well as research and report writing.
Hands-on learners (Sensors) will be enthusiastic about Phase Three of their history units. This phase focuses on projects a student can put his hands in – things she can physically DO, that reinforce the subject matter. Becoming mapmakers, your kids will explore the geography of a given time in history. They will study the architecture, art and music of the periods, make their own artistic creations and even cook! They’ll participate in Science experiments and connect periods in history with the inventions and discoveries common to them.
Creative expression will overflow your classroom and your “Intuitor” students will love Phase Four. Skits, puppetry, journalism and poetry, sculpting, drawing or painting, cartooning and illustrating, creative writing and more are all possible avenues of learning about the subject at hand in this final phase of each unit. Maybe you have a student who loves performing, listening to and composing music. This is the time when they will discover their passions in the pages of history and see a value to the subject, that they never understood before.
I love that by the end of every single unit, the concepts and material will have been presented in ways that will appeal to each learning style and insure that each of your students absorbs important historical truths in a way that helps them remember and makes it important to them. I also love that in studying history, we will also be doing Language Arts, Science, Art and more. That’s the beauty of unit studies — one theme encompassing multiple subjects. And lest you think that is the limit of the unique and valuable qualities of the unit study method, consider that you will be able to teach every grade-level in your homeschool using the same non-consumable texts and resources, adapting and choosing lessons and activities appropriate to the student’s age. Not only is it fabulous, it’s long-term frugal — another of my favorite things!
At the beginning of each unit, in the hardcover Teacher Guides, daily lesson plans for each of the four weeks (phases) of a unit are outlined. Each page from the student book is reproduced in the teacher guides and enhanced with background information, prayer, teaching and discussion suggestions. Key Concepts are listed and discussed, so the teacher has a well-rounded background in the material. Teacher’s Guides also include information on evaluating a student’s understanding of the subject matter and how to assess their involvement in the discussions and activities, as well. Each project idea and suggestion is defined and presented in a way that will be simple for you and your students to understand and implement. The Appendix at the back of the Teacher Guide also includes reproducible maps to use for each unit, as well. PLEASE NOTE: There are many suggestions and ideas included in each phase of a unit. This is not a textbook. You are not required to finish every project on every page. It was never intended that you would. Choose the one(s) that fit your students’ current needs and interests. One project completed with thought, skill and enthusiasm will do more for your child’s education, understanding of the topic and study skills than finishing an entire unit of workbook pages could ever do. Don’t fall into the quantity over quality trap.
Because this is not traditional textbook curriculum and it is important to Diana for you to understand exactly what the curriculum is, how it works and how you would use it, she has generously offered the complete Unit 3 from Ancient Civilizations and the Bible as a FREE sample for you. Just click the link to open the pdf file and save it to your computer. Look it over and see why I am so excited.
Ancient Civilizations and the Bible covers the time from Creation through the life of Christ. It contains nine units:
- Creation and the Flood
- The Rise of Civilizations
- Egypt and the Exodus
- The Children of Israel
- Assyria and Babylon
- The Persians and Medes
- Greece and the Hellenists
- The Rise of Rome
- Jesus Christ, Immanuael
Each set also includes an Activity Book for Elementary Students. While they will be able to learn the same information, very young students may not be able to handle all the projects and activities included in the main Student Book. Diana has carefully designed a supplement that includes mazes, word searches, map, craft and art activities that may be more age-appropriate for younger students. It is designed for K-4th grade. In my opinion, the average third or fourth grader would definitely be able to use most of the activities in the main student book, though they may enjoy several of the activities in the Elementary manual. Plus, after completing all three sets of Diana Waring Presents history curriculum (“Ancient Civilizations and the Bible“, “Romans, Reformers and Revolutionaries“, and “World Empires, World Missions, & World Wars“), they will be ready to begin again and go more in depth with more challenging activities and projects in each set. You can download a FREE sample from the Ancient Civilizations and the Bible Elementary Activity Book, by clicking this link.
The courses also include a Test Kit that contains a final test over each unit in Ancient Civilizations and the Bible. Tests are a mix of essay, multiple choice, true false, matching and short answer questions and are reproducible, so you need only purchase one for your homeschool. As homeschooling parents, themselves, Bill and Diana Waring understand the importance of high-quality, non-consumable curricula products that can be used for all your students, over the years. I love that about them.
Each of the three course’s complete sets, also include 3 sets of CD’s: What in the World?, Digging Deeper and True Tales. For Ancient Civilizations that is 10 CD’s of AMAZING historical and archaeological information and yet another factor that further sets this amazing curriculum apart from any mainstream curriculum, secular or Christian. Having been able to hear Diana speak in person and even having had the opportunity to sit and visit with her, in the past, I can confirm from first hand knowledge that she is an amazing storyteller. Her enthusiasm and passion for history and discovery are incredibly infectious and students will be enveloped in her excitement as evidences and proofs, drama and intrigue are unfolded in the historical information she presents. History will literally “come alive” for you and your students, as you listen to this excellent audio collection.
Finally, none of the information presented is given in the, “This is history because I say it is”-fashion of most modern textbooks. There are lists and lists of resources and source documents given, that let you know where the information was derived from and your student will be expected to delve into that list to acquire their own information, think it through and form their own ideas and conclusions. This isn’t a “spoonfeed me, let me regurgitate quickly memorized information on a test and then move on” kind of curriculum. It creates thinkers, analyzers, puzzle solvers — students who will learn to research and write, to evaluate good solid source information and draw their conclusions with common sense and logic. Students are truly educated, not indoctrinated and the lessons learned will serve them throughout their lifetime.
Busy-at-Home readers have a tremendous opportunity to get the Ancient Civilizations and the Bible complete set at an amazing price using the coupon code “relational”. This code will allow you to purchase the entire set: Ancient Civilizations & the Bible Student Manual, Ancient Civilizations & the Bible hardcover Teacher’s Guide, What in the World—Volume 1 CDs, True Tales—Volume 1 CD and Digging Deeper—Volume 1 CDs. The special price for Busy-at-Home readers is valid through October 29 and also includes FREE shipping and Diana’s new DVD, as a bonus. For all of that your cost will be only $86! It’s a huge savings and the best part is, it’s a one-time purchase, for non-consumable material that can be used for all of your students.
I’m excited for you to have this opportunity and I will be sharing some of our personal experiences and pictures of projects as time goes on. I will also be posting reviews of the other two sets in the series. Stay tuned. More exceptional offerings from Diana Waring Presents are on the way! You can also like Diana Waring Presents on Facebook to stay updated on what’s new.
I received the set “Ancient Civilizations and the Bible” in order to test it and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.