Sunday, July 27, 2014

A chart comparison of how some programs handle history eras

Note: Some updates below.

I'm making a chart comparing how a few non-classical programs approach their history eras by rough grade level. Why non-classical? Well because the classical cycle is a fairly standard 4-year rotation.

I did this to help me visualize other approaches. For instance, Heart of Dakota does two big sweeps of history, and they do American history early on. My Father's World has a year of cultural studies and geography before they get into a history cycle. Each program listed has differences (of course).

I sorta color-coded eras but it's not perfect (but let me know if there's a mistake). The programs break up time periods differently. Within the chart currently are My Father's World, Heart of Dakota, Sonlight, Simply Charlotte Mason, and Ambleside Online.

I did:

  • light red: ancients
  • blue: US history/modern
  • green: more of a cultural/geographical approach vs. strict historical period
  • yellow: middle ages
  • purple: sweep of everything, or a really broad period of history tackled in a year
I linked to the scope & sequence or page that I grabbed the info from, below each column.

(shown as an image but the link to the chart is here)

Important to note: 

With Heart of Dakota, I called their "Little Hearts for His Glory" program their kindergarten program, but you can do that for 1st (they say ages 5-7). 

With Sonlight, the grade levels mentioned are minimums. Many people use P4/5 as their kindergarten, and do Core A with an older kid and so on. Also, they have years where they do a B+C combo, or a C+D combo if you wanted to hit that content in one year instead of two. 

I stopped at roughly 8th grade rather than compare it all the way through 12th. 

I am really not sure how to group some of Ambleside's. May need some revisions. 

P.S. I don't like Ambleside's approach at all, nor SCM's.  OK Actually, after reading more about SCM's approach and actually downloading a sample (instead of just looking at the page where they describe the materials used) I think I do like it a little more. The 6-year cycle is kind of throwing me but I need to look into it more. Some people say the 4-year is too short. My main concern is I don't want to wait thaaat long to get to American lit, but perhaps there is an easy workaround.

P.P.S. I actually have been unaware of the Sonlight drama that went down like a year ago. Maybe it's ongoing. I dunno. Apparently Sonlight has made a bunch of changes to cores and people are mad. For me, Sonlight isn't a good fit (I identify with several of the "reason's not to buy this program" that they have on their site). But I just wanted to include how they do their progression...which apparently has changed and it's not a set in stone thing. So. Ok then.

P.P.P.S: I was woken up a lot last night. And each time I was thinking about some history-related thing. Apparently I'm dreaming about this and a baby is interrupting me.

Are there other programs I should include here? Should I throw in classical programs? Any color-coding errors I should fix?


  1. LOL. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has restless sleep and dreams when I'm over-analyzing curriculum. This was a really helpful way to compare the programs, I thought. I think it totally makes sense to omit classical from this comparison, fwiw, as they all do a chronological look, and really it's just a matter of comparing whether it takes 3, 4, or 5 years for them to do it before repeating. Not worth complicating the graphic :-).
    As for other programs. . . what does FIAR do? I know FIAR is lit-based, like Sonlight, but really don't know many ins-and-outs of it.

  2. I will be writing about FIAR here soon! We are "rowing" our first book this week because why not?

    So there is no progression with the FIAR stories or volumes. I could choose a book from vol 1. this week, one from vol 3. the next and it would not matter. Also, I can bounce around the volume based on book availability at the library/etc.

    You *could* coordinate it somewhat if you wanted to group books by geography or rough time period, but I think part of the method of FIAR is to let topics and info sort of simmer in a child's brain.

    Like for instance: we can row Madeline and do some activities/learn some things about France, and a few months later read another title (something about giraffes, I forget) which is also set in France. And we'll say oh hey this is in France, just like Madeline. Remember that? And sorta build on that.

    I think.

    So not chronological order. Not geographic-based. That might make your classically minded brain ache, hehe!

    Anyway yeah I will write more about how we are doing FIAR soon.

    Also now on my radar is TruthQuest and again the Simply Charlotte Mason history modules.

  3. I think we're alike here! I love making comparison charts. A couple classical ones that aren't 4 year cycles you might look at to compare would be Logos Press, Easy Classical, and Veritas Press. Another Charlotte Mason to compare is Living Books Curriculum.


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