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Heritage History: Review, Our Plan, and a Giveaway

As both a classical homeschooler and a Charlotte Mason influenced lover of living books, I am always on the look out for ways to provide quality literature to my family at a reasonable price and organized in a way that is easy to use. This is our first year of using any of Heritage History’s products and I can say without hesitation that they live up to my high expectations.

We are currently using some of the fifty-five selections from the British Middle Ages Classical Curriculum CD as context material for our literature study. What an enjoyable way to surround our formal literature with a rich immersion into the people of that time period! The selections on this particular CD are a perfect complement to our Tapestry of Grace plans and our Excellence in Literature – British Literature plans.

Would you like to see a short introductory video for this collection of electronic books?
British Middle Ages from Heritage History

I wish we would have had access to these public domain ebooks when we were working through Tapestry of Grace Years 1-2 when the boys would have gobbled them all up. You can see a list of books that TOG uses in their curriculum that are also covered with Heritage History on this page on their website: Tapestry of Grace.

The curriculum CDs contain much more than the ebooks with printable maps, background information and timelines, and a study guide. The ebooks also have beautiful images that enhance the reading experience and would make great illustrations for homemade notebook pages and timelines. You can also search their online image library HERE. Jimmie wrote on her blog more about using Historical Images and Maps in Your Notebook

I appreciate the ability to load the books on my Kindle and take them on the go. Mr. B is growing up in the age where he is capable of loading his own reading material to the Kindle so it couldn’t be easier. Although some of the selections on the British Middle Ages CD are ones we have read before, it is still beneficial for him to review and remind himself of the stories of the major players and events of the time. There are also selections we haven’t read in the past and this will be an easy way to catch up on some of the living books we missed.

Our Particulars
Our formal literature includes Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Shakespeare’s Richard III. All heavy duty classics with difficult language for even my very capable high schooler. I am excited to supplement these selections with selections for the Heritage History British Middle Ages Curriculum.

Here is how we navigated our way through the ebook selections. 
1. Fire up the CD and click on the Study Guide.
We are using the suggestions in the Study Guide provided with the curriculum CD to plan out our selections. They make this easy by grouping the ebooks by time period and by reading level. I could easily scroll to the Advanced Core Selections and the Supplemental Reading Selections to find what would fit Mr. B’s needs. 

I was really happy to see that there were three ebooks that will fit perfectly with his Shakespeare selection as background material: Richard I, Richard II, and Richard III. He also can follow the recommended readings for the Plantegenet Kings section including Chaucer Story Book, King Arthur and Knights, and parts of English Literature by H.E. Marshall. These are all outlined in the the Study Guide and very nicely aligned for me so I didn’t have to do all the background work. 

2. Print out the lists of books from both the Advanced Core Selections, the Supplemental Reading Selections, and the Recommended Reading selections by the time period we are interested in (Early Britain and Wars-Plantegenet Kings). 

3. Decide which ebooks to load on the Kindle and get started. I hole punched the printed charts and lists for Mr. B to put into his literature binder and he will just check off the ebooks he reads as he fits them in. There are printable record keeping pages for you to use with the curriculum if you wish (sample here). 

4. I will encourage Mr. B to take notes for further reference because he will be writing formal essays after reading his actual literature assignments. This is exactly the way the Institute for Excellence in Writing program Excellence in Literature recommends that advanced students prepare for reading the classics. Susan Wise Bauer in her book The Well-Trained Mind also recommends reading classics in chronological order and with an emphasis on context not only for the time period of the literature read by the time period during which the piece was written. 

I love it when things all come together and build a solid foundation for making connections…it is real learning. Heritage History is one program that makes it affordable and convenient for homeschooling families to ratchet up the learning without a lot of fuss. I only wish we would have had access to this sort of quality curriculum and library of ebooks when we started homeschooling sixteen years ago. There are many selections that are appropriate for young readers and you can see a complete list of the books that Heritage History has available on their Book Lists page. On this page you can sort by author, title, civilization, or genre.

Heritage History is a curriculum spine or supplement that will truly offer something for everyone.

Heritage History Homeschool Curriculum

Get the Spanish Empire library free (50 books, $19.99 value) with any purchase of a curriculum CD** if you purchase any other curriculum. Put both items in your cart, apply the my discount code. Discount Code: Barbhope.  
**Curriculum choices are: Young Readers, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, British Middle Ages, British Empire.

Choose Your Prize!
As an affiliate for Heritage History, I am happy to announce that I have three CDs to giveaway at this time. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget for your chance at winning one of Heritage History’s curriculum or library CDs (value $19.99-24.99). These CDs can be such a breath of fresh air for your homeschool! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

High School Literature: 12th Grade Using Tapestry of Grace and IEW

As promised, here are the literature books we are going to use this year. I am still adjusting our poetry study for the year so I will share those selections in an up-coming entry.

Mr. B’s 12th Grade Literature

Tapestry of Grace Year 4 Selections:

Excellence in Literature: British Literature

Succeeding on the AP Literature Exam (IEW)

We are actually using the No Fear Shakespeare version of Richard III but I can’t find it on Amazon. I really like the No Fear editions of the classics and Mr. B gleans so much more out of the material when he can see the side by side comparison of language and text.

Curr Choice Button
You can read my complete review of the No Fear Shakespeare series on The Curriculum Choice.

Charlotte Mason Helps Me Keep It Simple and Alive: High School Courses

Charlotte Mason High School Grade 12 Button


Charlotte Mason Principle #11
Instead, we believe that children’s minds are capable of digesting real knowledge, so we provide a rich, generous curriculum that exposes children to many interesting, living ideas and concepts.
Ambleside Online

This principle has been foremost in my mind as we picked the very last courses Mr. B will have in our homeschool. We have less than a year to go and he is anxious to get started. I have anxiety for different reasons but that is all the more reason to stick to the principles that have worked so well in our high school years.

Note: Mr. B has taken two years to complete his senior year of high school. These have been modified “gap years” where he has explored lots of learning opportunities in real life. We are very happy with the results of slowing down his academic studies to allow time before he officially graduates to grow and mature an extra year.  Our efforts have not been wasted. (Read this entry for more of our thoughts on this topic: SAT Preparation, Transcripts, and College.)

Keep it simple, remember your goals, 
and keep the curriculum living and interesting.

Here is a snapshot of what we will be doing this year for twelfth grade.

Pre-Calculus Teaching Textbook
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Calculus:
Mr. B chose this program as an elective for this year. He actually started at the very end of last year and has been completing a few lessons even over the summer break. This program allows him to work independently and to self-check his work.

Human Anatomy:
We are moving away from the Simple Schooling’s Anatomy plans to a more traditional college level text for Mr. B (shown above). He has had the desire to go deeper and farther than the previous curriculum allowed. I think he has just matured over the past year and is seeing that he ready for a more detailed text with interactive links. We added in the DVD course from Great Courses: Human Anatomy at the end of last year as well and he will be finishing that series. He is going to be using notebook pages to record his studies as a way of written narration. I love it when he includes diagrams or sketches in his anatomy notebook so those will be encouraged this year as he reads and tells back what he is learning. ( has a complete set now for Anatomy! Thanks Debra.)

Modern History and Geography:
We are continuing to use Tapestry of Grace Year 4 as the spine of our history study of the 20th Century. I am keeping the study fairly open-ended so Mr. B has time to research topics of interest and read extra material from the internet and the library as the questions arise. He is using a notebooking approach to keeping track of his narrations. Geography is an interest of his as well so we are using lots of maps from WonderMaps and from Trail Guide to World Geography to supplement his reading.

This has been the hardest component of his year to pull together. We ended up pulling from Tapestry of Grace Year 4, Excellence in Literature-British Lit, Succeeding on the AP Literature Exam from IEW, my own poetry selections, and one Shakespeare play. We are not completing all parts of all curriculum but only those that support the books we selected.

This is going to be a tough year as far as reading level and themes but Mr. B is ready for it. He gave final approval on all books I selected. His formal writing instruction will be included as part of his literature with the help of Tapestry of Grace suggestions and the two books from Institute for Excellence in Writing. Watch for an up-coming post with our literature selections listed with the corresponding resources noted.You can read my review of the Excellence in Literature plans on The Curriculum Choice.

Update 8/16/12: Here is the post which lists all Mr. B’s 12th Grade Literature Choices.

Notebooking Publisher Modern Art Cover
Fine Arts (Note: We finished HFA Grade 12 plans last year so this is a bonus year!)
Art: Custom plans that will include a variety of artists and media. I am hoping to pull it together and offer it as a free download at the end of the year for any families that want to give it a try. It is rich and full and we are going to use this as our last formal opportunity to create art together.

Music: Mr. B has requested a potpourri of composers. He has been through the list forwards and backwards as my little guinea pig for Harmony Fine Arts. He knows his composers but is not ready to let go of his formal study yet. I am going to make this a year to remember for him and hopefully we will be able to attend some live performances together to give our study more richness.

We will continue our morning routine of Bible reading and scripture memorization. Our nature study will follow the Outdoor Hour Challenge in a more informal way than last year, and he will be taking computer and fitness classes at the community college. He completed his government, economics, and shop classes last year.

You can follow along with our year by reading our Weekly Wrap-Up posts that I usually post on Fridays.

Please visit and share with us at the CM blog carnival! We'd love to have you!I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: [email protected].

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