Thursday, April 22, 2010

Secular Thursday: History at our House

For this week's Secular Thursday post, I'd like to showcase one of our favorite parts of how we do homeschooling around here: History at our House!

Ryan is about to finish up Ancient History for Lower Elementary students. We listen to recorded lectures for now. We hope to do a live class one of these years, probably when everyone is a little older, since I have a hard time imagining what I'd do with Sean to keep him quiet during a live class. The recorded lecture plan (Tier 1) fits our family very well.

Ryan is a very enthusiastic HAOH fan. We are planning to do European History for Lower El next year, and then we'll move on to American History (his favorite). I asked Ryan if he had things to say about HAOH if anyone is thinking about taking it. Here's our interview (captured as best I could):

What's your favorite part of HAOH?

My favorite part is just that there's a lot of neat stuff you can learn and you don't have to go to school or college. I also like History Through Art because mostly there's battle scenes and stuff that's pretty interesting. History's pretty interesting--stuff that REALLY happened is really interesting. History's one of my favorite things in the world. I'm going to go wild with history!

What neat stuff have you learned?

Mostly, the neat stuff comes from Egypt and Greece and Rome and a lot of neat stuff from Mesopotamia, but mostly Greece. The Hoplites and phalanxes and battles.

What's your favorite period of Ancient History?

The Athenian Golden Age


It feels so golden because there wasn't much war and they had a big triangle of walls to protect them. Mr. Powell's favorite time was Athenian Golden Age, too. And there was a lot of democracy and freedom but then the Spartans got mad and attacked then that was the Peloponnesian Wars.

What do you think of Mr. Powell?

I'd say he's great and he mostly makes jokes about history and mostly makes sense. He's a nice guy and goes with nice [art] scenes, not having heads rolling around the battlefields and stuff like that and that's good manners. So I'd say he's great.

How's that for an endorsement? :o) And for a more direct look at what Mr. Powell has to say about his own program, check out his new promotional video:

I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about this program. It's been fun, educational, a great value. And it's not just for homeschoolers--anyone can use the program, so if you want to supplement the history your child is getting at school, HAOH would be a great way to go.

A few of MY favorite HAOH things:

  • It's a secular program, which is important to me.
  • I love the way Mr. Powell interacts with the kids (we hear this listening to the recordings). He keeps the class on track but usually has time for a quick joke or a "how's your weekend?" kind of discussion. It's clear he has a nice rapport with his classes. Ryan thinks Mr. Powell is HILARIOUS. :o)
  • The way he presents history (at least to the Lower El class) is kind of a story, and he always builds upon the facts they previously learned, so they can see some connections. I am not sure Ryan always understands the timeline, but he is learning how to read it so he can understand that certain things happening in Persia took place at the same time other things were happening in Greece, etc.

As I've listened along with Ryan, which I generally do in order to help him grasp some of the trickier ideas and to keep up with what he's learning so I can supplement/enhance it (we're reading Greek Myths, for example), I have learned a few things about Ancient History that I never knew, too. And my five year old has even picked up some historical knowledge here and there. Very cool.

So check it out if you haven't already!

Note: I have not been paid anything to write this. Just a satisfied customer trying to get the word out. :o)


Principled Parent said...

I loved reading Ryan's perspective. I'm looking forward to exploring history with Charlie when he gets older . . . and it is great to know that there is a wonderful secular program for him to participate in. Thanks to you and Ryan for the review!

JILL O. MILES said...

“stuff that REALLY happened is really interesting.” Love this. I may be quoting Ryan!

Stephanie Ozenne said...

We've been doing Lower El Ancient History at my house, too, and my son and I love it for all of the reasons you've mentioned. I'm a math/science person and have no real knowledge of history, so I'm learning along with my son which is kind of fun. I really appreciate the connections that Mr. Powell draws.

I've also started to notice connections between history and other learning. We're reading The Mystery of the Periodic Table, which is about the discovery of elements and how they fit them into the table ( It mentions civilizations in Egypt and Sumer, and I could see him light up when he realized that he knew something about them already!

I also feel like I'm learning something about teaching from Mr. Powell, who is very good at what he does. I appreciate his pacing, the amount of repetition, and his interaction with the students. I think I'll be better at teaching the subjects I'm strong in because of his example in this course.

Ryan said...

"...not having heads rolling around the battlefields and stuff like that and that's good manners."

I have had Firefly on the brain lately, and this line makes me think of something that a young Malcolm Reynolds might say.

Kid interviews are priceless! Thanks for sharing.

FGM said...

I want to thank you for bringing this resource to my attention. After checking out the website and a call to Mr. Powell, I enrolled my son in HAOH.