Wednesday, 7 August 2013

And so the quest is finished

I've been on a quest that seems to have gone on for an awfully long time, a bit like Tom and Elenna in housemate's son's favourite series, Beast Quest.  Unlike the children in the stories, my quest has not been in search of beasties and dragons, but in search of a history curriculum that makes sense.

I've never quite understood why in state schools that follow the National Curriculum, history appears to be such a hotch-potch that jumps around and makes no chronological sense.  So far, housemate's son has covered Florence Nightingale, the Romans, the Aztecs, the Great Fire of London, and a few other things, and next year I believe it's Ancient Egypt.  While I can't quite fathom why history frightens the living daylights out of him, it's certainly no wonder he gets confused over what happened when.  They jump around in time more than Dr Who!

My philosophy with Small has been to start at the beginning - we're doing dinosaurs at the moment - and work forward chronologically from the first people and the stone age, to the more recent past.  We probably won't do anything too serious with history until he's a couple of years older, but that hasn't stopped me hunting for something suitable to use as a starting point to guide us through it.

At last, I have stumbled onto Galore Park, whose junior history curriculum is aimed at kids from 7-11 (KS2), and it starts at the beginning.  In a series of three books, it works its way from dinosaurs up to the Battle of Hastings.  Anything post 1066 is in their secondary curriculum.  The books btw, are those commonly used in independent schools and are, apparently, a bit more challenging.

So if you too want a more structured approach to history and are looking for sensible history, do check out the Galore Park publications.  The books are available cheaper via Amazon than from the publisher, but if you want a preview of some sample chapters, these can be downloaded from Galore Park -  Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3.  There are answer books as well, but most home schoolers probably won't want these.


From the reviews and testimonials I read, it would appear the course is, to quote Ian Hislop, " a bold decision not to dumb down but to wise up."  That'll do me.

Until next time. x

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