Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Hollow -- American History Homeschool Curriculum Review

This school year my son has been working through Guest Hollow's American History curriculum.  I was initially drawn to this curriculum for two reasons.  One it was free, and secondly it appeared to be secular in nature.  The author of Guest Hollow does not hide her faith, but I feel this curriculum is suitable for a family of any faith or none at all.

My son is a gifted fourth grader who easily could have been promoted to fifth grade this year (it doesn't really matter that much when you're homeschooling).  My son loves reading, and this curriculum contains lots of reading. The author's  son was the one she wrote it for, and he also was a strong reader.

When I mentally committed to this curriculum for the year, I had initially decided it would be for both the lego boy, and my butterfly who's in second grade this year.  She states the curriculum is appropriate for grades 2-6. About 8 weeks into the program I found it to be too much to her, so we switched to a different curriculum.  Not much to worry though, when her reading skills are up perhaps in another year or two she'll be going through this curriculum too.

I printed out the curriculum and put it in a binder.  A step that later on I found to be unnecessary.  She has a week by week section online and I refer to that more than I do the notebook.  Online she also has links to print outs and websites with extra reading.  Not all of the print outs work anymore, and I'd love it if she fixed broken links or found replacements.  It's hard to complain though since she's put it out there free.

As far as books or supplies, that's what brings the price back up. I think I spent around $200 in books.  In hindsight I should have checked with the library on many of these.  Kept my purchases limited to History Pockets, and other supplements.

I also have to admit, this is the most time consuming of my curriculums this year to prepare for each week.  For me, it's removing pockets from their books, scanning them in and printing them out. That's the purpose of these books is to reuse the material, and I plan to with my daughter when she's ready for this program.  I also have to look a week or two ahead each weekend and request the books he'll need from the library.  All in all, I likely spend one hour prepping each week.

The best part though is my son loves this curriculum.  He doesn't fight me to do history, and enjoys the hands on projects that happen on an almost weekly basis. The book choices that go along with each week are age appropriate. Between this and the 39 clues series, he's actually become quite the history buff.  He loves it.

I haven't taken a look at her American History 2 curricula just yet, but I hope it's put together similarly and is just as secular as this year's was.  

Guest Hollow

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