For the last few weeks, the kids and I have been using the Pathway to Liberty's History Curriculum from Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum in our homeschool.
The Pathway to Liberty curriculum is a complete history curriculum for grades K-12 that bring students through the different periods of history over four years of coursework. This curriculum is written by Jayme MacCullough, founder of Pathway to Liberty and is designed to present history in an engaging format using a Christian worldview.
Each year of coursework is also broken down into one of four levels, depending on the grade level of the student. Startling with Level 1 which encompasses K5-3rd grade, Level 2 for 4th-6th Grade, Level 3 for 7th-9th grade and finishing with Level 4 for 10th-12th Grade. To teach each level only requires the purchase of both the Teacher's Guide and the Student's Guide for that level. Lessons are designed so that multiple levels can be taught at the same time to multiple students.
How We Used It
Each Monday, I would simply print out the handouts needed for the week from the student's workbook. Each week, the teacher's manual would lay out what the lessons would be about as well as the scripture and main ideas that are stressed during the week. The weeks reading lessons are laid out and are completed over the course of 4 days. For the weeks that we have been using the curriculum, we used the book The Light & The Glory for Children by Peter Marshall and David Manual as well as Chain of Liberty, also written by Jayme MacCullough, the author of the Pathway to Liberty curriculum. Later lessons use the book From Sea to Shining Sea for Children, also written by Peter Marshall and David Manuel.
Both the Teacher's Guide as well as the Student's Guide are both very user friendly. The Student's Guide allows for super easy printing of all the necessary work for the week. With the Teacher's Guide, everything is planned out - what you will read, what questions you will ask, the answers to those questions. There is also suggested writing assignments, additional reading
The first day of the lesson, the kids and I would go over the Scripture, Principal and leading idea for the week together.
For this particular week, we read about the different hardships that the pilgrims faced, including running out of food. The one part that stuck out with the kids was that at one point, they only had 5 kernels of corn as a ration to eat each day. To really drive this home with the kids, we grabbed some corn kernels so they could put into perspective the exact amount they had to eat each day.
Some exercises included each week included map work and charts.
Most exercises were questions that required the kids to think about and apply what they read.
So, here's the hard part. What do I think of this curriculum. I REALLY wanted to like this curriculum and I was super excited when I was given this review. So far, part of me really likes it, and the other part of me doesn't like it much at all.
Let me explain...
Based on the first 7 weeks of these lessons - As far as as an actual US History curriculum, I don't like it. I just feel that there's not enough meat to this to really teach history itself. Granted, we're doing Level 2 studies, but Nine weeks into it and the kids have learned a few tidbits here and there in regards to the early settlers of America. However, those tidbits do not equate to a solid learning of the topic. I also questioned how much of the material covered within the stories were factual or if they were fictional fluff. There are stories that are read in this curriculum that I can't verify if they have any factual basis to them and that bothers me. I do not like to "rewrite" history to serve an agenda and I do feel that this curriculum might do that to some degree.
Another reason I don't necessarily like this curriculum is the amount of writing that is needed. Between copy work, word studies, and answering questions, I felt we were spending WAY too much time writing things that weren't really necessarily history related. Garrett absolutely hated the writing portions and I'll be honest and say I don't think the kids got much as far as educational value from these assignments. For example, while the reading mentioned where Plymouth, Cape Code, Roanoke and Jameston were located, these facts aren't asked for the kids to remember or recall, but instead questions focus on a more spiritual nature and answering questions in regards to how Biblical principles were showing by a figure in the reading. I don't necessarily mind a Christian worldview of history, but I want the main focus to be the actual history.
However, I did really like the video recommendations that were given for a few of the lessons, usually for the 4th day. I think the kids got much more of their learning each week from these. One video that was included with the lesson on Jamestown showed them excavating an old well and the kids really liked seeing what was brought up out of it. Another video was a virtual field trip to the Plimoth Plantation that had actors portraying people who lived in that time period, both settlers and Native Americans. Both of these videos were well received by the kids.
One thing we did have an issue with was that the reading plan for Chain of Liberty did not meet up with what the lesson plan suggested for the day. For example, for one lesson we were suppose to read a portion of the chapter entitled "The First Colonies" . We were told to read pages 78-82a. However, that particular chapter started on page 83 and we had no idea where to stop and just had to guess to the best of our knowledge.
With that said, I do think this particular course ranks better as maybe a character building curriculum that could be used in conjunction with a more solid U.S. history course. Much of the reading is about relying on God and how when one ground of people (the settles of Jamestown) had the wrong intentions (finding Gold instead of spreading God's Word), they failed yet when the Puritans came to spread the word, they found favor with God and were provided for. These types of lessons are great for character building and Bible study, and while I do appreciate the Christian based theme of the lessons, I personally want more when learning history. That's why I feel that this might work better in conjunction with another curriculum where the lessons could be used along side to provide a more spiritual look at what was going on.
One final thing that I really do appreciate about this company is that they offer a 20% discount to all Active Duty Military families.
Overall, I don't think this is a curriculum that I will continue as a sole US history course but will use as a supplement with my other US curriculum. I think together, they would create a really well rounded curriculum.
To find out more about Pathway to Liberty and their different history curriculum, be sure to visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media sites: