To keep you motivated, I’ve made you a FREE PRINTABLE! It is the famous quote from C.S.Lewis,
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” – C. S. Lewis
We spoke about this quote, and it’s relevance to us, in the video above. Now you can download this cute printable, set it as your screen-saver, pin to your fridge or keep in your planner to motivate, inspire and serve you.
As a Muslim homeschooling family, I wanted to create a curriculum that aligns with our values, and helps us to live a life together that we love and that I am passionate about..
Using the Charlotte Mason philosophy to guide my decisions, I have designed a homeschool curriculum that nurtures my children’s love for learning, ignites their innate curiosity, and empowers me as their teacher and mother to teach with confidence and joy.
Inspired by Charlotte Mason, I have tried to bring God to the heart of every subject, and connect everything with our creator.
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I needed a curriculum that made me excited to wake up in the morning! I needed a curriculum that would touch the hearts of my children! I needed a curriculum that I couldn’t wait to learn from myself!
But I couldn’t find one out there! So, with the help and inspiration of many other Charlotte Mason resources, I put a curriculum together myself.
And here it friends, for you all to enjoy and, I hope, benefit from! insha’Allah
My eldest son is 8 years-old, and my youngest son is 6 years-old. Please assume that the resources outlined below are used by both boys, unless indicated by a (8) or (6) in brackets. However, as the boys use most of the materials together, please consider this curriculum suitable for children in 1st-3rd grade, year 2-4 in the UK.
And I’ve made a little video to go along with this blogpost too. ENJOY!
If you’d like to see the curriculum we used last year, when the boys were 7 and 5,CLICK HERE!
Language Arts / English
Our study of English is based around reading, copying and narrating back high-quality literature and poetry. We have chosen, as recommended by Charlotte Mason, to delay the study of grammar and spelling until our children are at least 9 years-old.
We make out own handwriting sheets on Worksheet Works using excerpts from books we are reading, poetry or ahadith. It’s a wonderful free resource!
These are books that I plan to read-aloud to the children, in addition to other subjects. We may use Audible to listen to some of them in audiobook form.
We do not follow a specific reading curriculum. The children are not forced to read any particular book, but rather are given a choice and then are required to read aloud to me 2-3 times a week. They also have 20 minutes free-reading in the afternoon, where they can read whatever they want…even car magazines! I hope that this relaxed approach will encourage them to develop a love of reading, rather than it becoming a chore and only a “school subject”.
If any concepts requires further reinforcement I will use other online resources. A favourite of mine is Math Mammoth.
My boys attend Arabic, Quran and Seerah classes outside of the home. However, we also do incorporate many Islamic sciences into out homeschool schedule, as well as trying to refer back to our creator or deeper lessons whenever they arise in our school day.
We also look at Seerah, the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which I have included in our History curriculum. For seerah, we use Muhammad by Martin Lings
Nature study forms the foundation of our scientific learning. Through the study of nature I hope the children will learn to observe, records and question what they see around them. More formal science lessons will start when they are older insha’Allah.
Our focus this coming year will be Trees, and Star and Planets, although we will learn about other things things that interest them along the way too!
We are taking a very relaxed stance on artwork this year, allowing the children more freedom to draw and create in ways that excite them. For this, we will use Pinterest or Youtube for ideas or tutorials.
History is one of my favourite subjects to teach in our homeschool, especially Islamic history! I am very excited to share with you our Living History curriculum choices for the coming homeschool year!
Download our FREE Homeschool History Reading Plan, and you can read these beautiful books along with our family! (More information is at the end of this blog-post.)
Further research of the Charlotte Mason method of education has led me to many delightful discoveries; one of which is her method of teaching history through living books and biographies. This coming school year, I will be using this methodology to teach my two young boys, ages 6 and 8, more about later Medieval times in Britain and the Islamic world. Towards the middle of the year, we hope to start learning about the Tudors.
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If you’re interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching History: CLICK HERE
I have collected together an assortment of beautiful books that we will use this year; some we will read together as a family, and others are independent reading for my eight year-old. This curriculum also incorporates Islamic History.
If you would like to use this curriculum in your homeschool as well, please scroll down to the bottom of this blog post, and you can download our Homeschool History Reading Plan for FREE!
The topic of Columbus, an how to teach it, is a difficult dillema for many parents, as the horrific atrocities committed upon the native people of America are ignored by most historical accounts in children’s books. This is an excellent article to help you navigate this issue with your children.
Independent Reading/ Biographies (Ages 8+)
We hope that my son will read as many of these books as he can over the whole year, reading for only 10 minutes interdependently from them each school day.
Please note: I have not yet pre-read all of these books, but I plan too insha’Allah. I would always advise you to pre-read anything that your child will be reading independently.
So this is our plan for the coming year for History, insha’Allah.
History Curriculum: Islamic and European History
If you would like to read along with us, I have planned out the first term (12 weeks) of family reading, which you can DOWNLOAD HERE: Homeschool History Reading Plan.
As I mentioned above, this is a continuation of last year’s study of the medieval times, and so the British history component begins with Henry V (1413).
I do not plan out my son’s independent reading, but instead allow him to select a book from the list above, and read from it for 10 minutes daily. This approach could also work for your family.
To use the reading schedule, simply reading down the list the in order; beginning from the top and working your way down to the bottom. Each square correlates with the number of readings/sittings it will take to complete the chapter; e.g. 2 squares indicates that it will probably take 2 sittings to read through that particular chapter. You can even use this as a checklist if you like, and tick off each reading as you complete it.
The chapter names are written in the left-hand column, and the colour of the box indicates the which book it is from. There is a “key” to help make this clearer. If you need any further help with this reading schedule, please leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to help insha’Allah.
Are you struggling to choose a Homeschool History curriculum? There are so many different curricula and living books available, that choosing the right “fit” can become quickly overwhelming!
In this blog-post I’ll be reviewing three of the most popular Homeschool History curricula, that we have personal experience with, to help you decide what would be best for your children. I’ll also be discussing why the study of History is so important in a child’s education.
This blog-post contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.
Why Study History
In this modern educational culture, we have come to view History as a supplemental subject; a subject that is done merely to enrich the more “important” disciplines. However I would argue, as Charlotte Mason did over a hundred years ago, that history is “vital part of education.” (Vol. 6, p.169).
Understanding the events and people of the past, can help us to understand our own reality, and place in this world. The study of history exposes our children to worthy ideas, foreign worlds, people of noble character, and can act as an antithesis to the misguidance and trappings of modernity. It helps children to see what virtue looks like, through their imagination, and begins to train their powers of reasoning.
“…a subject which should be to the child an inexhaustible storehouse of ideas, should enrich the chambers of his House Beautiful with a thousand tableaux, pathetic and heroic, and should form in him, insensibly, principles where by he will hereafter judge of the behavior of nations, and will rule his own conduct as one of a nation.”
-Vol. 1 p.279
History, when taught by the principles set out by Charlotte Mason, enocurages children to relate to those unlike them; to humanize people from other nations and distant times.
“If he comes to think…that the people of some other land were, at one tome, at any rate, better than we, why, so much the better for him.”
History has far more to offer our children that just the memorization of facts and dates. It can help to shape they character and guide the way they think.
Like many, I was taught history using a dry textbook followed by comprehension questions. These questions tested my ability to pick facts out of the text, but did not develop my person in any way. I consider the many years I spent sitting in those history lessons time wasted; little information was retained, no ideas imbued, and any interest I once had for history quashed. The great thoughts and personalities of history remained hidden from me until I began to learn alongside my children using the Charlotte Mason method.
Charlotte Mason History
Charlotte Mason advised us to take our time with history; to dwell on those time and people who inspire our children, instead of rushing through in the effrot to cover “everything”.
“Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period.” -Vol. 1, p.280
She also recommend the use of living books to teach history, specifically mentioning “Our Island Story” by H. E. Marshall (Vol. 6, p.169) as the main text in the first two years (Form 1B and 1A), as well as reading well-written biographies of historical figures from Form 1A onwards.
Alternatively, many homeschooling families choose to use The Story of the World, by Susan Wise-Bauer as their main text or sole history curriculum. Another option is A Child’s History of the World by V. M. Hillyer.
Homeschool History Options
The Story of the World, Our Island Story and A Child’s History of the World are the three most popular choices of homeschool history curriculum.
This blog post aims to compare these three popular homeschool history texts, and highlight their strengths, weakness, and differences.
To help you further, I’ve made this Youtube video showing the books themselves, and discussing some of this details further. WATCH THIS VIDEO:
The Story of the World, by Susan Wise-Bauer is one of the most popular homeschool history curricula on the market. It was written to follow the classical educational model, however many CM families also use it.
The complete series consists of four volumes, which cover history chronologically from Ancient times through to the Modern age.
In previous years we have worked through Volume 1 (Ancient times), which covers world history from 7000B.C. to the Fall of Rome. However, for reasons I will explain later, we chose not to move onto Volume 2 – Medieval Times.
Each chapter is 3-4 pages long (A5), with plentiful black-and-white illusatrations and maps throughout. It is written in a conversational style, which appeals to many children, as it is easy to understand and is generally very entertaining.
The books do include Biblical stories and mythology. There has also been some concern voiced about the portrayal of Prophet Muhammad in Volume 2. I have not read this volume myself, so I cannot comment on the specifics.
Although the author makes a concerted effort to cover the history of many nations, it is still very much euro-centric world view, and so many families may feel the need to supplement this curriculum.
There are also optional Activity books available to go along with the main text. For every chapter in the main text, the activity book contains cross-references in encyclopedias, additional reading, extensive recommendations for audio-books and literature. The activity books also contain reproducible maps and coloring pages, as well as lists of crafts projects.
Our experience of using The Story of the World Vol. 1 was mixed. The children seemed to enjoy it, and found it fun and easy to understand, which was perfect for our first year homeschooling. It also gave me an idea of how to teach history in a home-setting, which was a very valuable lesson.
Unfortunately, the conversational, modern writing style did not encourage those “juicy” conversations that other living books can encourage.
I also found that the children had retained very little from the text a few days after the lesson. I also found the fast-paced nature of the book very frustrating, as the author has tried to cover so much history in just one book. Whilst I understand the thought-process behind that, I found that my children and I were not given the chance to form connections and relations with the material.
In hind-sight I could have slowed our progress down, and taken two years over the book, instead of one, adding in additional reading and other living books. However, as a new homeschool mum, I lacked the confidence to step away from the authors recommendations.
However, having spoken to many other homeschooling families, it seems that this is exactly what others have done; using The Story of the World as their “spine” and supplementing with their own resources and literature.
I feel that The Story of the World is a fantastic resource for teaching homeschool history. It is ideal for those who are uncomfortable teaching the subject and need some guidance, those new to home-education, or families who feel more confident reading modern English.
Personally, I would not class The Story of the World as a living book, as it did not inspire my children to great ideas, or spark interesting conversations. It is also not a book that I would pick up and read for fun, unlike other some other history books, that I will discuss later in this series.
The Story of the World is the perfect “middle-ground” for those interested in stepping away from the “textbook-workbook model” of teaching, but who are not yet comfortable or interested in using living books.
Our Island Story the primary history text recommended by Charlotte Mason in Volume 1 for forms 1B and 1A (children under 9 years-old).
This beautifully written book tells the story of Britain in chronological order from pre-history through to Queen Victoria. Each chapter is approximately 3-4 pages long and focuses on a historical figure, their story, moral character and contribution to the history of Britain.
The book also contains some poetry and Shakespeare quotes which could be used for further study and memorisation. There are also a few beautifully hand-painted illustrations in some chapters for the reader to enjoy. There is also list of Kings ad Queens at the beginning of the book, which could be useful when constructing your timeline or Book of the Centuries.
Unlike The Story of the World, there are no maps, and no accompanying activity books. If your children enjoys crafts and hands-on activities, you may choose to find these activities yourself.
The book is written in an older English, with richer language than most modern history books. It may take some time for children to get used to this language if the are not already accustomed to it.
It is written from an English (not British) Christian world view, and this should be born in mind when discussing the Crusades and other such conquests within and around the UK.
Due to its world-view, and the fact it only covers the history of Britain, you may wish to supplement this book with additional reading.
We stopped using this book after six months as my son was finding the language difficult to understand and narrate from. However, I feel this book has a lot to offer and I hope to re-introduce it into their homeschool history curriculum sometime in the future.
Overall, I found this book excited the children’s imagination and filled their young minds with worthy ideas and beautiful stories. I would happily read this book myself for enjoyment and my own self-education!
A Child’s History of the World was written by V. M. Hillyer, the late Head Master of the Calvert School, Baltimore. Focusing on the stories of historical figures, it covers World History from pre-history all the way through to the Cold War. Although written in conversational, modern English, the language is rich and engaging.
There are black-and-white illustrations and maps scattered throughout the book. The chapters are approximately 4-5 pages long. There is no accompanying activity book, and so parents may wish to supplement with other material.
We primarily used the Audiobook version from Audible. The narrator was very entertaining and read the book beautifully. I would highly recommend it!
Although the author writes from a Western worldview, I felt that he was respectful to other faiths and people, a fact that may have been noted by the people behind the Ambleside online and Bookshark curriculum who have included it in their elementary years history curricula.
Through his writing, the author also highlights and raising questions about good character and morals throughout.
Please note, this book does contain Biblical stories and mythology. Also, as it is attempting to cover a large period of time in one volume, many important historical events are not included or are skimmed over. As the parent, you may wish to add in additional reading.
The book itself is paperback, self-published and not as attractive as the other homeschool history curricula mentioned. Despite this, A Child’s History of the World is an engaging introduction to world history for children aged 5-9 years old and well worth your consideration.
These are the main three homeschool history curricula that you will see mentioned in literature-based, Classical and Charlotte Mason homeschools.
However, as I have hinted towards, there are many more options! In the next blog post and Youtube video, I will be discussing some alternative books and methods that we use to teach history in our homeschool.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you found these reviews helpful.
Don’t forget to WATCH THE VIDEO, and if you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments below.