Monday, January 10, 2011

Homeschool Review: Easy Classical

As part of the TOS Crew, I was asked to review the Early Modern History Schedule from Easy Classical.

This is one year of their history schedules for the Primary grades. It's abit different from most of our reviews in that it's just the schedule. There was no expectation that we purchase all the resources to actually USE this schedule, just review it and give our thoughts on it. So I'm going to do this in abit more of an "outline" format than I typically use for reviews. I'd also like to point out that many other people will also be reviewing this product today. Their reviews, along with mine, will be linked to the TOS Crew blog. Some of these people have used some of the suggested resources in this schedule and will be able to give a different perspective on it than I can.

  • What it is:  A schedule for one year of history.
  • What's included:  A weekly schedule for 36 weeks, including recommended books to read, quiz questions, writing assignments, projects, etc. Also included are "drawing lessons" of sorts that are used throughout the schedule.
  • The schedule is available either as a download ($29.95) for a notebook ($35.95). We received the download version to review.
  • What else you need: This is just the schedule, all teaching supplies (textbooks, etc.) must be purchased (or perhaps borrowed from the library?) separately. A list of recommended supplies is on the website, here. Note that they suggest choosing the resources that work best for your family, so you may not need ALL of these.
  • How to use it: This is a schedule to take all the guesswork out of lesson planning. For each week it lists specifically what reading, writing, projects, etc. to do which day, Monday through Friday.
  • Age range: This is for K-6, my understanding is, with this approach, world history would be re-visited again in grades 7-12. I would assume younger children would enjoy some of the read alouds and perhaps easier versions of the projects. For older children, I assume there is a similar resource (if not from this vendor, somewhere out there) for the second time through world history, but if not, they could participate in this, with additional, more in-depth information added.
  • Learning/Teaching Style:  This is specifically designed for the classical style, as indicated by the name of the company, hee hee. I think other styles could adapt it. For example, since I have it, next time we're studying this period in history (explorers through 1815) I will likely refer to it for ideas. My kids would enjoy the drawing, we would pick and choose from the read alouds, etc. 
  • Teacher preparation required: This is just the schedule, the teacher/parent is still going to need to purchase or borrow the books, etc. However, having it laid out WHEN you need each thing and WHAT you need is going to cut down on the time needed in planning/prep. Also each week includes a "shopping list" for the next week, so you know ahead of time what you need to get together.
  • What do I think about this product?  Obviously, it's not designed for our learning/teaching style. We're about as far from classical homeschoolers as you can get LOL. That said, we actually used a similar schedule a couple years ago for history. It was a US History schedule designed for around 3rd grade, so required alot of tweaking, but it was nice to have the basic timeline laid out for me and have suggested books and activities for each week. I can see this schedule working well for us the same way, as a rough guide. I haven't looked at the books, etc. but just reading over the schedule, I can say that people who use this schedule as it stands spend a LOT more time each day doing "school" than we do. I'd venture to guess that following this schedule, as it stands, we'd spend significantly longer doing history than we currently doing all of our school. Is that good or bad? I don't know, it's just a different style, it wouldn't work well for us, I'm sure it works beautifully for those who follow the classical model for homeschooling. For ME, it seems expensive for what it is. Yes, it's a lovely convenience to have everything laid out for you, but for the price, I can do my own planning/scheduling. For a new homeschooler feeling overwhelmed, the cost is probably completely worth it! 
  • Other products from this vendor: Other schedules (history, science, main, and complete), writing guides, geography curriculum, and copybooks.   

Disclaimer: I received a download of this schedule in exchange for writing this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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