Why Aren’t You Finishing the Four Year Cycle of History in High School?

Four Year History Cycle in High School @HarmonyArtMom

“The logical way to tell a story is to begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end. Any story makes less sense when learned in bits and pieces.” The Well-Trained Mind, page 105 (2004 edition)

I embraced the four year cycle of history years ago when we started with The Well-Trained Mind format of homeschooling. I liked the tidy way it kept us going forward through time and it gave a shape to our history, literature, art, and music appreciation.

In case you are not familiar with the four year cycles:

Ancients 6000 BC – AD 400
Medieval/Early Renaissance 400-1600
Late Renaissance/Early Modern 1600-1850
Modern 1850-present

My sons were in the 4th and 5th grades at that time we started the cycle and we started off with them working together using resources suggested in The Well-Trained Mind, including the Story of the World. This worked well for our family for a couple of years. At that point I was introduced to Tapestry of Grace and I thought it would be helpful in organizing classical resources at different levels of study for my two boys. (I was tired of pulling it all together on my own.)

Now, we are definitely a mix of both classical homeschooling ideas and Charlotte Mason’s ideas as far as how our day to day homeschooling looks. I don’t stick strictly to any one way of homeschooling and at this point I couldn’t tell you which way I lean farther……..Charlotte Mason mornings and Project based afternoons would be the best description of what we look like at this point.

Below is more information that you probably need, but it shows how we year by year have used TWTM and TOG and their different levels for our homeschooling.

Our History Sequence
(Another reason this may be helpful is for you to see how I shaped our homeschooling over the years. I am not one that started with one method or curricula and stuck with it for many, many years. I use what seems to work at the time. I know there are moms that feel like jumping around is going to be harmful to their children, but in our case it has worked out just fine.)

Mr. A:

  • 5th: Year 1 Sonlight Core 6: World History Part 1 (with TWTM Logic Level resources and The Story of the World)
  • 6th: Year 2 TWTM Logic Level resources
  • 7th: Year 3 Started TOG D Level
  • 8th: Year 4 TOG D Level
  • 9th: Year 1 TOG R Level (see the details of this year: Well-Trained Mind Grade 9)
  • 10th: Year 2 TOG R Level (see the details of this year: Well-Trained Mind Grade 10)
  • 11th: World Geography (Year 3 TOG R Level and TWTM R Level for literature, highly customized) Details: Grade 11
  • 12th: Govt and Econ (Year 4 TOG R Level and TWTM R Level for literature)

Mr B:

  • 4th: Year 1 Sonlight Core 6: World History Part 1 (with TWTM Logic Level resources and The Story of the World)
  • 5th: Year 2 TWTM Logic Level resources
  • 6th: Year 3 TOG D Level
  • 7th: Year 4 TOG D Level
  • 8th: American History using HEO 9 (My history buff wanted to take a year to focus on this period of history and there was room in his overall school schedule to allow it.)
  • 9th: Year 2 TOG R Level
  • 10th: World Geography (Year 3 TOG R Level and TWTM R Level using literature, research, and writing instead of full-blown study of history)
  • 11th: Year 1 TOG R Level (This is also his choice since I was ready to skip it and hop right into Year 4 in the cycle. He wants to spend some more time in the Ancient time period to get his Bible chronology more firmly established.)
  • 12th: Govt and Econ (Year 4 TOG R Level and TWTM R Level using literature, research, and writing instead of full-blown study of history)

As you can see, we will have worked through the four-year history cycle two times since we started way back in 5th/4th grades. I have adapted the cycle for my youngest because of maturity level and interests since he is a young schooler….he is 14 and in 10th grade. Academically it has worked well for him to stick with his brother most of the time in his history and literature.

Hopefully this clears up the questions about “taking a year off” for World Geography in high school. We really haven’t taken much of a year off from history but rather rearranged our years to allow time for an additional study of geography. We are still covering the history time period with our literature, research, and writing assignments. It was and excellent decision for our family.

Just a note: Prior to starting with TWTM and TOG, we used Sonlight curriculum: Core 2, 3, and 4.

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