Teaching All Ages

The Mystery of History is for all ages with some guidance and tweaking. How? That’s what this section hopes to explain. Let’s begin with an understanding of the layout of the text.

After each and every lesson in The Mystery of History, students are given several optional “Activities” for Younger Students (K – 3rd), Middle Students (4th – 8th), and Older Students (9th – 12th) that will range from fun, hands-on crafts and games to stimulating research projects. You see, while the entire family can read or listen to the same history lessons together (or individually on their own), what students will do with the lessons, or what they will absorb from the lessons, will vary widely by their maturity, skill level, and learning style.

Take for example the exciting story of Hannibal in Volume I when he crosses the Alps with war elephants during the Punic Wars in 218 B.C. Younger Students will hardly get past the part about the elephants, so their memorable Activity for the day is to write or tell a story about having a pet elephant using a few facts about real elephants. To go deeper, Middle Students are asked to write a diary page as if he or she were a soldier in Hannibal’s army and to give an eyewitness account of the elephants slipping and sliding over the icy Alps. Older Students, who need to see this story in a bigger context, are asked to write a synopsis of the three Punic Wars or do additional research on the Battle of Zama, which the lesson just briefly mentions.

I hope you immediately see the benefit of all the variations that are available through the Activities for different aged students! (Don’t miss photos of the Activities in our FAQ section for each age group!) Not only do the Activities cover a wide variety of learning styles to engage students, but this breakout feature also allows families to “grow” with The Mystery of History and repeat volumes as students mature and can in time choose higher level activities a second or third time through.

As a matter of fact, students will grow with the series quite naturally because each Volume increases in difficulty through content, length, and reading level. This means that while Volume I starts at about a 3rd – 4th grade reading level, Volume II moves to a 5th – 6th grade reading level, Volume III advances to a 7th – 8th grade reading level, and Volume IV jumps to a 9th – 10th grade reading level. Because Volume IV is more difficult, let’s stop to talk about using it with Younger and Middle Students.

Helpful Things

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Most students will be able to grasp the contents of Volumes I – III with only a little extra guidance and screening for Younger and Middle Students. However, the lessons in Volume IV, which are longer in length and heavier in theme, will be too advanced for some children and will require some screening and skipping. Some families may in fact choose to reserve Volume IV for high school as a world history credit. Whenever you use Volume IV, parents and teachers can decide when to proceed and when to pull back on some of the more gruesome aspects of modern history. And for those who will have younger ones sitting in with older siblings (as is common in homeschooling), there are Younger and Middle Activities to keep students involved on an age appropriate level. As in all matters of parenting and teaching, please use discretion based on the needs and abilities of your students!

For more information on what The Mystery of History may look like more specifically for Younger, Middle, and Older Students, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Section for each age group (Activity photos are included!)

Week at a Glance

The Mystery of History curriculum is conveniently laid out by “Weeks.” This doesn’t mean that every student will cover the exact material given in one week, but it gives most families some tracks to run on if they would like to complete one volume of world history in a school year working 4-5 days a week. Scroll down for a written description of a “Week at a Glance” or click here for a short, impromptu video clip of the author giving this explanation at a convention.

Day One – Students (and willing teachers) take a Pretest, which is comprised of 8-9 quick questions to spur interest in the upcoming week. Following the Pretest, students and teachers read (or listen to) a 3-6 page “Lesson.” (These narrative-style history lessons are the meat of the program!) If time allows, students choose an age-appropriate “Activity” ranging from hands-on projects for younger students to research projects for older students. (Click here for sample activities from Volume IV.)

Day Two – Students and teachers read or listen to the second lesson of the week. If time allows, students again may choose an age-appropriate Activity.

Day Three – Students and teachers read or listen to the third and final lesson of the week. If time allows, student again may choose an age-appropriate Activity. They are also prompted to make optional “Memory Cards,” which are homemade flashcards designed for writing, comprehension, and recall.

Day Four – To review the three lessons of the week, students are guided to 1) make three timeline figures for a wall, a notebook, or binder; and 2) complete age appropriate mapping exercises that correlate to the lessons of the week. After this review, students take a cumulative quiz or exercise to keep all the lessons fresh in mind.

Day Five – This “open” day in the week provides students with time for 1) suggested books and films, 2) supplemental products (ie. Challenge Cards, Coloring Pages, Notebooking Pages, or Folderbooks), 3) field trips and co-ops, or 4) completing unfinished projects from the week.

Voila! Following this simple lay out, you can finish one volume of The Mystery of History in a traditional school year with the flexibility of moving faster or slower as needed by your choice of activities and optional components of the curriculum.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Appropriate Ages

Q: What age is considered 'Younger'?

A: Younger Students are best defined as those between Kindergarten and 3rd grade or students older than that with learning challenges. Younger Student activities throughout the MOH are hands-on by nature. Even a high schooler may choose to occasionally participate in a Younger Student activity, particularly if younger siblings are involved. The whole family can streamline by choosing any activity and modifying it for each student as needed.

Q: What can I expect my Younger Student to learn?

A: Younger Students are not expected to master world history, but rather to be introduced to it.  They are learning new names, new places, and new cultures.  By the end of each volume, even a Younger Student will be familiar with about 100 characters of the time period.  They will also begin to see God’s hand in history.  Because of the built-in reinforcement of items like coloring pages, Folderbooks, Memory cards, timelines, etc, students are constantly reminded of previously studied lessons.  Ideally, each name or event they hear triggers a memory of a story or project they created with their own hands.  These memories will be built upon as the student matures and can attach more meaning and understanding to the events and stories.

Q: Can I start the MOH with a Kindergartener?

A: Yes!  Even a young student can understand that there was a beginning.  We call it Creation. It’s a great place to begin their studies as Volume I addresses who, why, and how the world began as described in Genesis 1:1.  Furthermore, a Kindergartener will find the stories in the MOH to be lively, fascinating, and fun.  After each lesson students can choose a hands-on activity to reinforce the story using their god-given senses. They can eat, burn, dye, sculpt, color, write, or build a multitude of projects to stimulate their learning experience.  The “fun” stuff will help shape a positive attitude toward school.  Students may or may not choose any of the other components available in the curriculum if they are not yet ready.  You as the teacher can determine their readiness.  Ideally, in a few years, this same student will repeat the MOH and advance to the next level of activities and involve themselves in all the components of the curriculum.  Keep reading to learn what those components are.

Q: Does a Younger Student need a Bible atlas?

A: If a Younger Student is ready to begin basic map work, he or she will greatly benefit from The Student Bible Atlas by Tim Dowley. This atlas is colorful and easy to handle.  Important mapping exercises in Volume I include the formation of the twelve tribes of Israel and the dividing of the Kingdoms after the reign of Solomon.  These events alone are an excellent introduction to Bible history that helps unlock the Old Testament. Younger Students are not ready to grasp all the details but are introduced to these important events by mapping them.  In Volume II students are asked to map the journeys of Paul.  This teaches them the names of cities he visited and allows them to match those to Paul’s New Testament letters.  The Student Bible Atlas is available for purchase on the MOH Online Store.

Q: Will a Younger Student need a historical atlas?

A: Some Younger Students are ready for this but many are not.  The mapping exercises in all volumes of the MOH range from easy to difficult allowing you to choose those appropriate for your students.  If a Younger Student shows maturity in understanding maps and enjoys coloring instructions, he or she may benefit from a historical atlas to guide them through the exercises.  A historical atlas is unique in that it uses old names of old boundaries to define the land rather than modern names.   Example: In Volume I, students are asked to map the boundaries of Alexander the Great’s empire on a blank map.  This is very challenging and they will now have an answer key. Most Younger Students are not ready for this, but they may be able to look at a pre-made map of the region and appreciate the size of the empire.  A suggested resource is A Historical Atlas of the World by Rand McNally and is available at the MOH Online Store.

Q: What are Memory Cards?

A: Memory cards are student or teacher-made flashcards.  They are a valuable tool for all ages.  Not all Younger Students are capable of writing the cards, but many can benefit from the experience of making them by either dictating main points to a teacher or copying sentences from the book.  The process of deciding what goes on the cards is a lesson in summarizing main points or practicing dictation and narration.  Once made, a teacher can use the flash cards to ask something like, “Tell me one thing about Hammurabi.”  Or, “Give me one fact about Noah.”  Young Students minds are being filled with information during the Grammar stage and Memory Cards are a great way to do that.  Mastery comes later.

You can use 3 x 5 index cards and store them in an index card holder. However, some younger Students may find the lines too small to write on.  Medium sized binders and 5 x 8 cards are an alternative as well as full size binders.

Q: If my child is not quite ready for Memory Cards, are there other choices for reinforcement?

A: Yes! Bright Ideas Press has created two products for Younger and/or Middle Students to consider for reinforcement. They are coloring pages and Folderbooks. Each of the 36 page set of downloadable coloring pages is a beautiful collage of one week’s worth of lessons. These are not juvenile coloring pages, but rather sophisticated so that many ages might enjoy them.

Folderbooks are a bit more involved as a paper/cardstock keepsake that students can cut, fold, color and assemble as part of their studies. Folderbooks are especially helpful to the visual and kinesthetic learner who better grasp concepts that can be felt, seen, and organized. Folderbooks can be made simple or grandiose depending on the age and interest of the student. Very young students may choose to save these when taking another trip through The Mystery of History.

Q: What is a good way to make a timeline for a Younger Student?

A: The point of a timeline is to see a big picture of what was happening when around the world.  Therefore, the younger the student, the bigger the timeline ought to be to help them have this visual. The author gives directions for creating a timeline on a foldable sewing board (also called a pattern cutting board).  These boards are typically available at Wal-Mart, Joanne Fabrics, or Hobby Lobby.  If a sewing board is difficult to find, science project boards and refrigerator boxes are good replacements.  As students study the MOH, they place 3-5 timeline figures on the board per week.  Many MOH Younger Students choose this as their only extra component to the curriculum because it is fun and easy.  The book instructs students how to make their own timeline figures with memorable add-ons (a burnt match for Gideon to represent a torch, garlic salt on the Phoenicians to represent their famous stinky dye, etc)  Students who find hand made figures too tedious may opt to cut and color pre-made timeline figures.  The author recommends Amy Pak’s Homeschool in the Woodstimeline figures. (These are available on card stock or CD-ROM.  The advantage of the cd rom package is that the same figures can be blown up and made into coloring pages.  They’re beautiful!)

Q: What kind of activities are there for Younger Students?

A: Examples found in Volume I

  1. Stonehenge: build a miniature model with stones
  2. Early Egypt: roll up student and stuffed animal like a mummy using toilet tissue
  3. The Destruction of Nineveh: build a sand castle and use a garden hose to wash it away
  4. Ezekiel: form an edible scroll of bread and honey
  5. Xerxes I: build a Greek battle ship of foam and toothpicks
  6. Alexander the Great: students write their name using the Greek alphabet

Examples found in Volume II

  1. Constantine I: construct a battle shield
  2. Fall of the Western Roman Empire: play a shopping game to understand “inflation”
  3. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table: dress in foil “armor” or sample Celtic music
  4. The Maori of New Zealand: draw a warrior face
  5. Eric the Red and the Settlement of Greenland: build a miniature igloo
  6. Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Queen of Two Nations: host a medieval feast

Examples found in Volume III

  1. Dias and da Gama: make a miniature spice filled “Treasure Chest”
  2. The Safavid Empire of Persia: weave a paper Persian rug
  3. Erasmus: visualize and discuss different worldviews using shaded glasses
  4. Elizabeth I: create “Regal Stand-ups” displaying the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth
  5. England defeats the Spanish Armada: Play “Sink the Spanish!” with water bottles in a tub or pool
  6. Tokugawa Japan: dress like a ninja using illustrated directions for headgear

Examples found in Volume IV

  1. The American Revolution: re-enact the Boston Tea Party in the bathtub with Indian war paint and tea bags
  2. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte: make an iconic bicorn hat like that of Napoleon
  3. Florence Nightingale – “Lady with the Lamp”: make a working Turkish paper lantern with a battery-powered tea light
  4. The Impressionists – Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cassatt: use chalk to paint “sidewalk shadows”
  5. Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) and Chief Joseph: make an authentic Indian headdress
  6. Mohandas K. Gandhi: dress up in simple cotton clothing as promoted by Gandhi for self-sustaining industry

Q: What would a typical week look like for a Younger Student?

A: Each volume contains three lessons per week. Volume I contains 108 short lessons(1-3 pages) based on 36 school weeks.  Volumes II and III contain 84 long lessons (2-4 pages) based on 28 school weeks.

Monday: Oral Pre-test and Lesson #1 with an activity of choice. Students may enjoy coloring while listening to a story read by the teacher or the author on CD.

Tuesday: Lesson #2 and an activity of choice

Wednesday:  Lesson #3 and an activity of choice

Thursday:  As bonus, students may choose on this day to make timeline figures and memory cards, Folderbooks, or finish any activities not completed earlier in the week.

Friday:  If ready, students may do basic map work and take a quiz.  Or use this day for additional outside reading.

A variation of the above schedule may look like this:

Monday:  Oral Pre-test and Lesson #1 (read by teacher or author with or without coloring pages)

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday:  Lesson #2 and Lesson #3

Thursday: Off

Friday: Optional mapping, timeline and/or quiz

Q: Can this curriculum be finished in a year?

A: It is set up to complete in one year with 3 lessons per week for 36 weeks. However, many families with younger students are choosing to spread it out over one and a half or two years.  Your pace can be set by your choices of activities, field trips, and additional readings.   A family can “speed up” the course when necessary by reading through the lessons and leaving out other components.  Flexibility is found easy in The Mystery of History.

Q: What age is considered a “Middle”Student?

A: Middle Students are best defined as those between 4th and 8th grade or students older than that with learning challenges.The Mystery of History is designed to perfectly fit the Middle Student without modification.; From the Pretest to the lessons to the quiz at the end of the week, most Middle Students will be right on target for the challenge. Activities are designed to continue to use some hands-on work to reinforce the lessons. But many of them will go beyond their senses and engage their minds to higher level thinking by analysis, composition, and creative writing.  All learning styles are incorporated.

Q: What can I expect my Middle Student to learn?

A: Middle Students are not expected to master world history, but rather are beginning to process the significance of it to themselves. By the end of each volume, Middle Students will be well acquainted with about 100 characters of the time period. They will also see God’s hand in history. Because of the built-in reinforcement of Memory cards, timelines, etc, students will be constantly reminded of previously studied lessons. Ideally, each name or event studied carries with it a bigger picture or a concept. Memories from projects and activities will be built upon as the student matures and can attach even more meaning and understanding to the biographies and events studied.

Q: What additional items are needed for a Middle Student?

A: The most important things a Middle Student needs to complete The Mystery of History are atlases. A historical atlas will provide them with geographical information that changes over time. They’ll need this information to complete the weekly mapping exercises. For example, in Volume I they will be asked to place the boundaries of Alexander the Great’s empire on a map – but they are not given the answers. They will need an outside resource. A highly recommended one is A Historical Atlas of the World by Rand McNally which is available at the MOH Online Store. Additionally, students will need a Bible atlas to complete significant Bible history maps. For example, in Volume I great emphasis is placed on understanding the 12 tribes of Israel and the dividing of the kingdom of Israel. Understanding these events can bring to life the Old Testament. In Volume II they will trace the journeys of Paul and come to a better understanding of his letters found in the New Testament. For those on a tight budget, maps in the back of a Bible may be adequate for Middle Students. However, if looking for something colorful and easy to handle, The Student Bible Atlas by Tim Downey is recommended and available on the MOH Online Store.

Q: What are Memory Cards?

A: Memory cards are student or teacher-made flashcards.; They are a valuable tool for all ages. One set of cards can be made by the whole family to alleviate the burden on any one student. Middle Students who struggle with writing can benefit from the exercise of trying to summarize a lesson in a few sentences. Help from the teacher is fine as the student is learning to narrate, summarize, and condense his thoughts into main points. It’s an acquired skill that most Middle Students do not have mastery over. On the other hand, Middle Students with well developed writing skills may enjoy the process and want to make their own set of cards. (This student is rare, but they’re out there!) As the growing stack of cards are made, they can be used over and over again as flashcards for quick review just before quizzes or tests. To reinforce the chronology of events, cards can be shuffled and put back in order. For the competitive student, timing this event can be fun. At this stage of development (the Logic Stage) students are still acquiring new information, but are able to begin to see the links in this information. The cards make a wonderful way to pull ideas, threads, and trends together across time and cultures.

 

 

You can use 3 x 5 index cards and store them in an index card holder. However, some students may find the lines too small to write on. Medium sized binders and 5 x 8 cards are an alternative as well as full size binders. Though directions are not included in the MOH, some students may choose to make an 81/2 x 11 scrapbook type page for every lesson in the MOH (commonly referred to as lap books) as a great keepsake of the stories they love.

Q: What is a good way to make a timeline for a Middle Student?

A: The point of a timeline is to see a big picture of what was happening around the world at the same time.  The author gives directions for creating a timeline on a foldable sewing board (also called a pattern cutting board).  These boards are typically available at Wal-Mart, Joanne Fabrics, or Hobby Lobby.  If a sewing board is difficult to find, science project boards and refrigerator boxes are good replacements. As students study the MOH, they place 3-5 timeline figures on the board per week.  The book instructs students how to make their own timeline figures with memorable add-ons (a burnt match for Gideon to represent a torch, garlic salt on the Phoenicians to represent their famous stinky dye, etc)

Students who find hand made figures too tedious or too juvenile may opt to cut and color pre-made timeline figures. The author recommends Amy Pak’s Homeschool in the Woods timeline figures. (These are available on card stock or CD-ROM. The beautiful figures on the cdrom can also be enlarged to make coloring pages.) More mature Middle Students, particularly crafty girls, may consider creating a timeline notebook rather than a timeline on the wall. The author highly recommends Homeschool in the Woods Timeline Notebook, Figures (on card stock or CD-ROM), and Placement Guide for this project. This artistic keepsake is one to be proud of.

Q: What kind of activities are there for Middle Students?

A: Examples found in Volume I

  1. The Sumerians: build a ziggurat of Legos or sugar cubes
  2. Homer: write a book report on The Children’s Homer including a running list of mythological characters
  3. Ezekiel: complete a list of post-exile prophets
  4. Confucius: make a bamboo tablet
  5. The Maccabean Revolt: cook a traditional Hanukkah dish
  6. Cleopatra: write a diary page of Julius Caesar first meeting Cleopatra

Examples found in Volume II

  1. Paul’s Missionary Journeys: write a letter from Paul when shipwrecked on Malta
  2. Masada: research ancient weapons like battering rams and assault towers
  3. The Maya: take an online hieroglyph test
  4. Daily Life in the Dark Ages: make a medieval hour candle
  5. Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours: hammer “Martel” with nails into a plaque
  6. The Black Death of Europe: pray for the afflicted

Examples found in Volume III

  1. Christopher Columbus: make and fill an aged sea journal
  2. Raphael: make a dispenser decorated with Raphael’s famous cherubs
  3. Cortez and Pizarro – Conquistadors of Spain: make a miniature “popping” cannon
  4. Babar, Akbar, and the Mughal Dynasty: create a “Fold-over Report” on the palace of Fatehpur Sikri
  5. William Tyndale – Father of the English Bible: design a “Wanted!” poster for William Tyndale
  6. John Milton and John Bunyan: Design a “Pilgrim’s Progress” board game

Examples found in Volume IV

  1. Benjamin Franklin: make a “JOIN or DIE” puzzle
  2. Hudson Taylor and the Taiping Rebellion: translate English to Pinyin for Chinese Word Fun
  3. The Dominion of Canada: make a pair of Inuit sunglasses
  4. Emperor Meiji of Japan: make Japanese Kokeshi dolls
  5. Benito Mussolini and the Rise of Fascism: construct a fascist axe of sticks
  6. The Korean War: research Camp 14 in North Korea

Q: What would a typical week look like for a Middle Student?

A: Each volume contains three lessons per week. Volume I contains 108 short lessons(1-3 pages) based on 36 school weeks. Volume II contains 84 long lessons (2-4 pages) based on 28 school weeks. For the family interested in studying history in three days per week, the following schedule will work nicely.

Monday: Oral Pre-test; Read Lesson #1; activity of choice

Tuedsay: Off or supplemental readings/films

Wednedsay: Read Lessons #2 and #3; activity of choice; making of Memory Cards

Thursday: Off or supplemental readings/films

Friday: Make timeline figures; complete a mapping exercise; take a quiz or exercise

As a variation to the above schedule, students may opt to do a little bit of history every day allowing in depth time for activities and supplemental reading.

Q: Can this curriculum be finished in a year?

A: Each volume of The Mystery of History can be completed in one year (but they don’t have to be!). Your pace can be set by your choices of activities, field trips, and additional readings. When interests are stirred, a family can slow down their study for additional research of a time period. Supplemental lists are provided for this. On the other hand, during demanding or stressful periods, a family can simplify and/or “speed up” the course by only reading through the lessons. The Mystery of History allows for this kind of flexibility making it usable at whatever stage of life you find your family.

Q: What age is considered an Older Student?

A: Older Students are best defined as those between 9th and 12th grade or students younger than that who are particularly bright and needing a challenge.  The Mystery of History is designed with high school students in mind.  Scroll down or continue reading to see how a high school “credit” can be obtained using this curriculum.  Keep in mind that a high schooler will be adding to The Mystery of History through additional reading and taking provided activities to the highest level.

Q: What additional items are needed for an Older Student?

A: The most important things an Older Student needs to complete The Mystery of History are atlases.  A historical atlas will provide them with geographical information that changes over time.  They’ll need this information to complete the weekly mapping exercises.  For example, in Volume I they will be asked to place the boundaries of Alexander the Great’s empire on a map – but they are not given the answers.  They will need an outside resource.  A highly recommended one is A Historical Atlas of the World by Rand McNally which is available at the MOH Online Store.  Additionally, students will need a Bible atlas to complete significant Bible history maps.  For example, in Volume I great emphasis is placed on understanding the 12 tribes of Israel and the dividing of the kingdom of Israel .  For those on a tight budget, maps in the back of a Bible may be adequate for Older Students.  However, if looking for something colorful and easy to handle, The Student Bible Atlas by Tim Downey is recommended and available on the MOH Online Store.

Q: What are Memory Cards?

A: Memory cards are student-made flashcards.  They are a valuable tool for all ages, but are particularly key to the Older Student who ought to be able to put into his own words the main points or more interesting points of the lessons.  Writing out the cards may seem tedious but it is valuable in preparing students for note taking in college or university.  Before quizzes they can be used as study tools.  The cards make a wonderful way to pull ideas, threads, and trends together across time and cultures. You can use 3 x 5 index cards and store them in an index card holder.

Q: What is a good way to make a timeline for an Older Student?

A: The point of a timeline is to see a big picture of what was happening around the world at the same time.  However, most Older Students would find it juvenile to place figures on a wall or sewing board. For them the author suggests making personal timeline notebooks.  For an artistic and easy to use notebook, the author recommends Homeschool in the Woods Timeline Notebook, Figures (on card stock or CD-ROM), and Placement Guide.  This beautiful keepsake is one to be proud of.

Q: How do you define World History?

A: World history, by definition, can be the study of any time period of history ranging from ancient times to modern times.  It is not necessarily the entire history of the world in one course.  Therefore, a student may choose any volume of The Mystery of History for their world history studies.  For example, on a transcript, Volume I may be recorded as “Ancient World History”.  Volume II could be listed as a study of “The Early Church and The Middle Ages.”  Volume III, in general, would be a study of “The Renaissance and Reformation.”  These are broad definitions of the time periods covered. Bright students may choose to use two volumes of the MOH in one school year by reading the lessons at a rapid rate and choosing activities accordingly.

Q: What is a credit?

A: In high school, a “credit” is a unit of measurement.  A credit usually reflects the number of hours needed to complete a course of study.  An acceptable high school credit ranges from 135 to 180 hours of instruction per school year.  For example, a science course that meets 4 days a week (for an hour each day) would provide a student with 144 hours of instruction in a 36 week school year.  This course would receive one “credit” on a high school transcript.  A drama course that meets only 2 hours a week for 36 weeks would provide a student with only 72 hours of instruction.  In that case, the drama course would receive a “half credit” on a high school transcript. In most states, high school history requirements include:

 

World history
1 credit
American history
1 credit
Government
1/2 credit
Economics
1/2 credit

Total   
3 credits

Q: How do you calculate The Mystery of History as a credit?

A: Calculating a high school credit for any volume of The Mystery of History is easy.   To meet the minimum requirement of 135 hours of instruction in a 36 week school year, a student would need to spend 3.75 hours per week on the course.  To meet the maximum of 180 hours of instruction in a school year, a student would need to spend 5 hours per week on the course.  An average of those figures would require a student to spend 4.3 hours per week on the course to qualify as a standard “credit” on a high school transcript.  To simplify your planning, round that figure to somewhere between 4 -5 hours per week giving more time or less time as your schedule dictates.

Q: How does a high school student spend approximately 4 -5 hours per week on The Mystery of History for credit?

A: This is the fun part.  The Mystery of History is laid out in a manner that allows students flexibility and choice.  Most students will start by working the curriculum exactly as it is written.  We will call that the Basic Layout.

It includes:

Basic Layout

  1. Pretest
  2. Three lessons
  3. Timeline work
  4. Mapping exercises
  5. Quiz or Exercise

The Basic Layout can be completed in 1-3 hours per week depending on the ability of the student.   Students working without younger siblings may arrange the Basic Layout in any way they want.  For example, independent students may prefer to read all three weekly lessons in one sitting and the review pages on another day freeing up the rest of the week for additional reading and activities.  A high school student working in the confines of a family with younger siblings, would do better to read the lessons at the same pace as the family and spread additional readings and activities in between the lessons.  It will be easier on the family to be at the same pace. No matter how the student completes the Basic Layout, the high schooler should then look at doing a combination of three things to complete their required number of hours for the week.  We will call his or her additional workload the Supplemental Layout.

It includes:

Supplemental Layout

  1. Bible reading
  2. Additional literature
  3. Older Students Activities

Let’s look at each of these elements individually:

1.  Bible Reading:  At the end of Volume I, a reading list is provided which keys the entire Old Testament in chronological order to the lessons contained in The Mystery of History.  Older Students should enhance their study of Volume I by reading all or as much of the Old Testament as possible.  There is so much Bible reading involved in Volume I that some may choose to give a 1/2 credit of Bible alongside the credit received in world history.

2. Additional literature: Books and films are also recommended at the back of the book to challenge students to a higher reading level and to broaden their studies.  Classics, original works, non-fiction, and historical fiction are all included.  This reading list is ever-growing and being added to by other MOH users on the Yahoo discussion loop for high schoolers. (Visit The Mystery of History Yahoo High School Group)  Original works are highly recommended and will be most satisfying and challenging to those bent toward a classical education.

3.  Older Student activities:  Activities covering the gamut of learning styles are listed after every lesson in The Mystery of History.  The author would never expect a student to complete all these activities but rather encourage students to choose them based on their interest and the need to add hours to complete a credit.  For example, out of 6 research paper projects that might be suggested in one month, a student may choose one or two depending on the demands of the rest of their course load.  But most importantly, the high school student should receive grades for his or her completed activities.  (This is not the case for Younger or Middle Students.)  The author suggests a grade scale of 1-100 for projects and papers where students can be rewarded points for presentation, neatness, timeliness, content, etc.  These “grades” can be factored along with the accumulation of quiz, exercise, worksheet, and semester test grades as given in the texts.

In summary, by the time a student has completed the Basic Layout of the book and the Supplemental Layout, he or she should have accumulated 4-5 hours of work per week thus satisfying a credit.  Please note that students who work fast on the Basic Layout, will need to choose more reading or activities to fill up 4-5 hours per week.  Slower students will need to pace themselves in choosing supplemental work that does not overload them and greatly exceed their 4-5 hours per week of required work.  It may take some experimenting to find just how much extra reading and activities are needed for each student.  Enjoy the flexibility of tailor making a course that is meaningful and challenging to your student.  Because of varying interests, no two courses will look the exact same.

Q: What kind of activities are there for Older Students?

A: Examples found in Volume I 

  1. The Sumerians: research the archaeological discoveries of Sir C. Leonard Woolley
  2. Homer: read the classics Iliad and/or Odyssey
  3. India: compare/contrast Hinduism to Christianity
  4. Plato and Aristotle: read original works
  5. The Qin Dynasty: sketch facial features of terra cotta soldiers of Shi Huang Ti
  6. Cleopatra: discover the recently excavated underwater palace of Cleopatra

Examples found in Volume II

  1. Paul’s Missionary Journeys: define Stoics and Epicureans
  2. Dead Sea Scrolls: visit authentic documents via the Internet
  3. Golden Age of India: try your hand at Hindu algebra
  4. Eric the Red: research the frozen mummies of Greenland
  5. The Magna Carta: re-enact a courtroom drama with a trial by jury
  6. Dante: read and analyze Divine Comedy with what the bible says about heaven and hell

Examples found in Volume III

  1. Leonardo da Vinci: dissect and draw the muscle tissue of chicken
  2. Martin Luther and the Spread of the Protestant Reformation: Greek word study on metanoia
  3. Sir Thomas More: critique “A Man For All Seasons” (film or book)
  4. Elizabeth I: memorize and recite “A Prayer by Queen Elizabeth I”
  5. Jeanne d’Albret: complete a family tree of Protestant Reformers
  6. Sir Isaac Newton: build a sundial

Examples found in Volume IV

  1. The American Revolution: memorize and/or recite Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty” speech
  2. The Continuing Controversy Over the Theory of Evolution: build a twisting DNA strand
  3. The French Rule of Mexico under Maximilian and Carlota: host a Cinco de Mayo party
  4. Albert Einstein: research “The Manhattan Project”
  5. World War II (Part 4): write a “Who, What, Where, When” report on the Nuremberg Trials
  6. The Assassination of Anwar Sadat: complete the “Name Game of Wars” paper project

Co-ops & Classrooms

If you are a Co-Op leader, Classroom teacher, or the principal of a private school, welcome to The Mystery of History!

We realize that as a large group or a small group, you want to find the best curriculum prices available for your school or co-op. With this in mind, I want to direct you to my publisher, Bright Ideas Press (they handle all group sales and product licensing). The following is a video and a policy page from their website that explain their group rates and rules of licensing.


A letter from Tyler Hogan:

“We get many calls in the office asking if we allow customers to copy pages from our books for a whole co-op or classroom. First, I’d like to say that we really appreciate the fact that y’all are trying to work within copyright law and that if you have questions, you ASK us. That’s really encouraging! A lot of our material would probably be pretty easy to pirate if you wanted to, and it speaks well of your character that you don’t.”

Here’s the gist of our permissions. If you still have questions after reading this (or watching the video), please feel free to call or email Bright Ideas Press for clarification. Thanks!

Single-Family Licenses

You can photocopy (or in the case of CDs or Downloads like Illuminations, print) anything you want for your own family.  You may load your digital downloads onto more than one family computer and you may keep a back up file. With the exception of The Mystery of History CD-Rom of Reproducibles, you  may NOT sell or give-away these digital products. You have purchased a license to use them. These are not for resale. (This includes programs like WonderMaps and Illuminations.)

Co-ops & Classrooms

If it comes on a CD or you can download it from our website, you can purchase a co-op license by calling the Bright Ideas office at (877) 492-8081. The price is 2.5 times the retail price and it may then be used for up to 25 students. For example, A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers CD retails for $29.95, so the co-op version would be $74.88. If you have three or more families in your co-op, this will save you money. If you have 25 students in your class, each student is only paying $3.00 instead of the $30.00 they would if they each bought their own copy!

If your classroom or large co-op has more than 25 students, you’ll need to purchase a second license, which is good for another 25 students. (If you have less than 25, you may still use it for that many students. Then, if you teach the same class to a different group of kids later, you can apply those unused slots at that time.)

With The Mystery of History textbooks, you can either get a license to reproduce the pages (using the same guidelines as above) or you can place a bulk order. It really depends on if you want to utilize option A or B.

  • A. Teacher reads selections aloud in class and passes out a few photocopied pages.
  • B. Each student has his or her own book to read.

If you want Option B, call Bright Ideas Press office. We offer a nifty 30% discount to co-ops and classrooms that are purchasing 6 or more of a title. Important notes: there needs to be a single contact person who can give us one Visa or MasterCard for the entire order. The order must ship to a single address. Shipping (within the U.S.) will probably be around $2.00 per book, depending on weight of the book.

I (Tyler Hogan) hope this has been helpful to you. We want to make sure that our products are affordable— which is why we keep our prices low, offer bulk or missionary discounts, and provide group licenses. We really appreciate the great attitudes of the co-op leaders we’ve talked to who want to make sure they’re following copyright laws.

I hope this has been helpful to you. We want to make sure that our products are affordable— which is why we keep our prices low, offer bulk or missionary discounts, and provide group licenses. (Also, if you’re interested, we often have scratch-and-dent books in stock which we sell for less. It never hurts to ask!) We really appreciate the great attitudes of the co-op leaders we’ve talked to who want to make sure they’re following copyright laws.

Blessings,

Tyler Hogan and The Bright Ideas Press

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