Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Great History Dilemma

Ok, since the clock is ticking and I really need to stop obsessing over this and make a decision, I'm going to talk through my thought processes with history, and maybe someone can give me some advice! Or maybe just talking it through will make the decision become obvious!

What I Like About SOTW/WTM way of history:
  1. I can use it from 1st-8th grades, adding in the extra reading and outlining, the timeline, and the advanced mapwork. They didn't get much out of SOTW the first time through anyway, so it won't be a big deal to do it again!
  2. It is inexpensive!
  3. It's chronological!

What I Don't Like About SOTW/WTM way of history:

  1. There is not any emphasis on American History, which my history buff husband feels is essential for American children!
  2. I'm not sure about using the same resource solely for our history study. I don't know enough about history to know if the way SOTW presents everything is accurate. Regardless, it doesn't hurt to have different viewpoints, esp. in the Logic Stage (5th-8th grades for you non-WTMers).
  3. There is no formal schedule tying readers and read-aloud books together! I'd have to find them all myself, and read them myself too!

What I like about the Sonlight way of history:

  1. Everything is all laid out. They have done the hard work of coordinating the readers, read-alouds, and history books.
  2. We started out with Sonlight when we first started homeschooling (this was before I found WTM) and I have such a special feeling towards them and their book selections! There are many books I never would have known about had it not been for Sonlight!
  3. They use a variety of books in their different years of study, and most of them are books I want to utilize (Hillyer's Child's History of the World, Landmark History of the American People, Hakim's History of US, and yes, even SOTW -- but they go through them twice as fast for older children).

What I don't like about the Sonlight way of history:

  1. It is very expensive!
  2. There is no writing involved in the history curriculum (writing narrations, outlining, etc).
  3. Scheduling all of the kids would get messy, because of the wide age difference. This mostly affects Reece, because Austin and Riley are academically performing at a similar level.

OK, now here is what I am afraid of missing if I choose one or the other:

  • If I use WTM and not Sonlight, I will miss out on the American History years and the studies of the history of Christianity and the Eastern Hemisphere.
  • If I use Sonlight and not WTM, I will miss out on the outlining process that I feel is very important for learning to organize information.
  • If I use WTM and not Sonlight, I will miss out on all of the great books that Sonlight schedules, as well as the Instructor's Notes that will help me sort through the information we're reading, as to accuracy.
  • If I use Sonlight and not WTM, I won't have the handy coloring pages that Riley enjoys so well while we're listening to our history lesson. Reece will like them too, I can already tell.
  • Not history exactly but: the Sonlight way of approaching Language Arts has ALWAYS appealed to me, but I can't seem to let go of the 'school' way that seems to be a safe way to make sure they know all of those grammar things!

OK, so there you have it! I can't seem to find a way to reconcile all of these issues in my little brain! I only have until Thursday to figure it out! Sooner would be better... so I can make a decent spreadsheet before convention! ;)


Stephanie in TX said...

What I like about the WTM/SOTW method is that I can tweak it any way I want to. I can go through chapters quickly, or I can draw them out, for as long as I like. In fact, this is really the way Susan *meant* for history to be done.

When we got to important chapters about American history in SOTW we'd stop, sometimes for a long time, and dive into the American history. My kids got a great deal of American history.

If your dh doesn't like the fact that the kids don't get any FORMAL American history until year 3, you can always do some along the way. Take a little break every American holiday, and study the history behind it. Read bios of great Americans. Throw in little stories of American history here and there. It really is *not* important that they have formal American history in particular years. They'll get a lot of it from life. Then, you make SOTW/WTM work for *you*.


Niffercoo said...

Thank you, Stephanie! Dh is most concerned that they won't get a good picture of why things were happening in America, because our focus would be what is happening in the world. He did tell me that it doesn't have to happen right away, but that he wants them to have strictly American History at some point.

Let me see if I'm understanding how you're working things... for example, the next chapter of SOTW 3 that we're working on is Japan. I'm planning to cover that in one day, and the next chapter is Plymouth. I was planning 2 weeks on just Plymouth. I have most of the recommended reading selections from the AG, and we'll spend more time reading through those. Is that sort of how you handle those chapters?

One more thing... how do you know which books to add for the Logic Stage? I see in the Vol. 3 AG that there are some harder books listed, but I don't remember that in the earlier books. I was thinking I could use the Veritas Press catalog for that information, and also Sonlight. It just seems like alot of work! ACK!

Thanks for taking time to reply! I appreciate it!