We LOVE TruthQuest History Curriculum
(Fort Worth, Texas, USA)
We started using TruthQuest American History for Young Students 1 last year (Kindergarten). We go through the book, I read the commentary to my daughter, then we read some picture books or a chapter from one of the spines. We have had a chance to "taste" a lot of good books and authors this past year while learning from beautiful library books; a few we loved so much we had to purchase them. As my daughter is a good reader, I now give her some of the picture books to read on her own, while I read other, longer books to her. We have been covering the Revolutionary War for the past month, and have so much to read, we're going to carry it throughout September.
The lure to do chronological history led me astray twice this past year. We did the 4 week trial of TOG, Year 1 and most of Story of the World 1 with the Activity Guide. TOG was lovely, but much more that we could ever use, and it would not fit in my budget (we are using different things for different subjects and have found things that work, so we would not use much more than history from TOG). SOTW - my daughter loved the maps, but that was it. We both disliked all the reading about pagans and much prefered reading it from the Bible instead with a quick read of SOTW, which is what we did.
Throughout this past year, we have read fabulous books from the library, made a pilgrim dress-up outfit, purchased a doll from Vision Forum and clothes and books to match the time period we studied, and immersed ourselves in children's literature, picture books, easy readers, biographies, poetry and art from the time period we studied. It has been a rich, fun year. My daughter learned all her states from a USA floor puzzle and some misc. geography resources, then read about the history of the 13 colonies as they were becoming colonies and the events that occured. We've seen a few movies related to the time period also that our public library carries.
It's not school "work"... just lovely reading that we learn by and enjoy. We also tried a worktext on American history, but we were both bored with it and prefer real books to text. Looking at the contents of the text, I see that we've learned far more by reading 'real' books from the TruthQuest lists and the commentary in the TQ guide than what she would have learned by the worktext alone.
Have I told you how much my daughter has enjoyed our study and all the pretend-play that goes along with the learning? Whatever we're learning about, she wants to know what the people wore, ate, did... later in the day, she pretends she's from that time period.
Planning... I peruse the next few sections of the book, look at the grade recommendations for the books and check it against my library's online catalog. I make a list of what to pull from the shelves on my next visit and request books for the next few weeks. We go to the library once a week, pick up our books on hold and pull a few for the next week's study.
This curriculum is easier than others we've tried because if we have things come up one week, such as (1) sickness; (2) last-minute vacation; (3) can't get resources for the chapter we're supposed to be doing, we don't get "behind" because we're not using a standard 'get it done in 36 weeks' curriculum. We just 'do what's next'. When I know we'll be home a lot on certain weeks, we will go through quite a few sections that week. I can keep my library books for 3 weeks at a time, so I can request a bunch at once... that way, we can move through as quick as we want to. (We read a lot.)