A History-Based Writing Program Using Charlotte Mason's Methods (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Over the years of my homeschooling, there have been certain curricula and publishers that I’ve looked at time and time again to try to determine if I should try them. I’ll think how great they seem and wonder if they would be a good fit. Sometimes I’ve taken the leap, and sometimes I’ve waited  and waited. One of those curricula that I’ve looked at time and time again is the Writing Through History curriculum from Brookdale House. So I was extremely excited when this curriculum came up as a Schoolhouse Crew review.

We received Writing Through Early Modern History Level 2 Manuscript for review. I received this curriculum as a digital file and used it for Ashlyne (grade 6) and Rachel (grade 5).

Review of Brookdale House Writing Through History Homeschool Writing Curriculum

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I began learning about Charlotte Mason and her techniques a couple of years into my homeschooling journey. I had begun homeschooling my oldest two children using a very structured, textbook-based curriculum. And I had quickly begun to find that it wasn’t working well for us. Charlotte Mason’s gentle methods of reading good books, narrating, copywork, and dictation were a much better fit. I struggled with finding a good writing curriculum, however, because I wanted to have some structure, but I still wanted to be able to incorporate Charlotte Mason’s methods. Enter the Writing Through History curriculum from Brookdale House.

How it works…

The Writing Through History curriculum is history-based. There are lessons that are based in ancient history, medieval history, early modern history and modern history. The history lessons include readings of history lessons from the time period as well as readings of primary sources, oral and written narration, copywork, and dictation.

What we received…

I chose the Writing Through Early Modern History Level 2 Manuscript curriculum. Ashlyne and Rachel and I are studying American history this year, and this curriculum covers the exploration and development of America as part of early modern history. I chose the level based on samples I could view on this page. This page provides samples of all of the curriculum so that you can pick the level your children need. (There are also samples there for the other curriculum products that Brookdale House publishes.) I chose manuscript because that is the writing style that we prefer, but there is also a cursive version available. We received our curriculum in ebook format. You can also purchase a printed book.

Using the curriculum…

I chose not to print the entire ebook. Some of the book just contains the readings of history, so I chose to read the history readings aloud off of my computer and just print the writing pages as the girls needed them. There are some basic instructions at the beginning of the book, but there are not really “lesson plans” for each day included. It was a little difficult for me to figure out how to begin and how to best use the curriculum. I had to read over things a few times before I could get a good grasp of what to do.

Suggested Schedule for Writing Through History Curriculum

The basic format of a week involved choosing a history reading and reading it aloud to the girls. Then they would give a written narration of what I had read. We’ve done oral narrations quite frequently but haven’t done written narrations as often, so I took some time to teach them how to summarize and write down that information. The next lesson would involve copywork that came from a portion of the history reading we had done. With the copywork, we also looked at some grammar, mainly identifying parts of speech. Then there was dictation from the history reading. Then I would choose a primary source passage to read to the girls- from a different section of the book. There would be a discussion of the primary source passage. Then there was copywork and dictation from the primary source passage.

Elements of the Writing Through History Curriculum From Brookdale House

Our thoughts…

I love that the curriculum is based on real readings that teach history. It was so neat to be reading in our writing lesson about the same characters we had learned about in history. And I love the use of primary source documents (documents that were written at the time period) as well.

I liked the incorporation of Charlotte Mason’s methods into this writing practice. Because we already use narration, copywork, and dictation, the girls quickly got the idea of what was expected and were able to do it well. I like the inclusion of grammar with the copywork selections also. I think learning grammar- especially parts of speech- in the context of a paragraph instead of just stand alone sentences out of a workbook makes so much sense.

I did have a hard time figuring out exactly how the curriculum worked. There were great instructions at the beginning, but I think I was looking more for a laid out lesson plan. I’m sure that this was designed to give more flexibility- which I love as a homeschool mom- but when I was reading to choose a passage from this chapter and then choose a passage from a different chapter, I was a little confused. And the student pages aren’t really labeled either. In hind site, I think that if I had a print copy of the book, it would probably be easier- especially finding passages from different chapters and flipping back and forth.

The girls did well with the curriculum. They jumped right in, already familiar with the methods. Ashlyne- who loves to write- enjoyed the written narrations the best, and my task was to keep her focused on a giving a summary and not retelling the entire story.

Using the Write Through History Curriculum From Brookdale House

All in all, I like the curriculum. Is it one we’ll continue to use long term? I’m not sure. Although there are things I really like about it, I think the girls are ready for a little more independent writing, not mainly copywork and dictation. (Although I know those are excellent techniques for building good writing skills.) I do think that the Writing Through History curriculum is a great one for using Charlotte Mason’s methods to begin to develop good writing skills.

The facts…

Company: Brookdale House
Product: Writing Through Early Modern History Level 2 Manuscript
Age recommendation: Check out the samples here to see what level your child needs.
Price: $22.95 for the ebook (currently on the site)
Connect with Brookdale House on social media:
Twitter –https://twitter.com/BrookdaleHouse

Crew Disclaimer

Other Review Crew members used this and other products from Brookdale House. You can see what they thought by clicking below.

 Brookdale House Review

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