Mystery of History: Curriculum Spotlight
Did you know that this month marks the 950th anniversary of The Battle of Hastings? Do you remember who became King of England as a result? When I spotted an article about a Battle of Hastings re-enactment on Facebook, I asked my 10 year old if he had learned about it. He not only recognized the battle, he also told me about William the Conqueror and an interesting detail about his army trapped on a hill that he had studied in his Omnibus class at CC.
Are you curious about an approach to learning history that is different than the way you were taught in school? Keep reading for a glimpse into our program's approach.
Classical Consortium follows a chronological approach to history. This means that our students learn about world events in order from the beginning of civilization through the present day in a multi-year cycle. Because we follow the Trivium, the grammar stage is focused on memorization of the facts of history, giving students a context for later study in the Logic and Rhetoric Levels.
The Mystery of History is a Christian World History curriculum that follows a 4 year chronological cycle from Creation to the Present Day. We have used this curriculum in our Grammar Level (3rd-6th grade) history classes for many years. This year, we’re studying Volume 3: The Renaissance, Reformation and Growth of Nations (1455-1707), an exciting time in history!
Mrs. Schnell and her G2 (4th grade) Omnibus class next to their history timeline.
Why tell history as a chronological story?
Telling history from a chronological point of view links one event to another event so that you can see how they affected each other. When students learn history as a story, they understand the connections between significant people and events. In class and at home, they are taught a timeline of important people and events that have shaped our world over time. Being able to make those connections is a huge part of understanding our place in God’s world.
How does Mystery of History integrate the Bible?
Every lesson has a Christ-centered point of view, helping students to interpret historical events through a biblical viewpoint. Volume I starts with Creation, and events from the Bible and Church History are integrated with the rest of world history. For example, The Mystery of History shows students that Esther and Mordecai lived at the same time that Herodotus was writing his Histories in Greece during the 5th century BC.
What happens in Omnibus (History) Class on Mondays?
Our teachers spend time in class covering the material for the next week. This week students learned about Suleiman and the Ottoman Turks, Ulrich Zwingli, and the Anabaptist movement. During class our teachers guide students in a variety of activities to reach different learning styles as they teach the material.
For our annual Showcase, Omnibus students create the Wax Museum skit where they dress up as important historical figures and explain their significance to the audience. Last year their skit won the student vote for best (and funniest) presentation!
"Cosimo de Medici started the Italian Renaissance" - G3 Students (5th Grade)
Mrs. Braker's students review by drawing historical figures on white boards.
Studying the Artists of the Renaissance
A highlight this year was our study of the Renaissance artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michealangelo, and Raphael. "Hearing the stories of the artists makes it memorable for students. Did you know that Michelangelo was an introvert who didn’t like painting, yet he painted the masterpiece of the Sistine Chapel?! We’ve also studied key leaders in the Catholic Church and the Reformation from that time period,” said Mrs. Schnell.
What Do Our Teachers Say?
“As a teacher I feel like I’m learning a lot because what I was taught in public schools was nowhere near as encompassing. Mystery of History shows the consecutive order and patterns in history.” Mrs. Schnell (G1 & G2 Omnibus Teacher)
“I really like that The Mystery of History textbook is told as a story which makes it easy for students to follow.” Mrs. Braker (G3 & G4 Omnibus Teacher)
What Work Do Students Do During the Week?
Every week students read a section from The Mystery of History book covering three topics. Then they complete a worksheet, map or activity project related to the lessons. The curriculum offers a range of activities for each topic. When we studied Leonardo Da Vinci, students created frames for the Mona Lisa. Geography practice and timeline cards covering the key locations, events and people are also part of the course activity work.
G1 (3rd grade) geography assignment of central Europe. They labeled and colored key countries, cities, and bodies of water on the map.
Can students complete their work independently?
Working independently depends on the student. Younger ones often have their parent read the lesson aloud, or the child reads sections and tells it back to the parent. This helps students to pick out the main points of the lesson. If the child is an independent reader, then they can complete the lesson on their own and have a parent check it over. The worksheet and online work can be done independently or with parental help depending on your family.
What Do Parents Say about Mystery of History?
“At CC history is told as a story instead of just isolated facts. My kids get to see history in the context what’s happening around the globe at the same time period and the lives of individual historical people as they learn.” Stephanie L., CC Parent
“My kids know a bigger picture of history because they can put the Bible and history together, and see over a course of time how what happened then is so important today.” Christine H., CC Parent
Mystery of History Quick Facts
Age Range: Elementary and Middle School
Volumes: Volume I: Creation to the Resurrection, Volume II: The Early Church and the Middle Ages (A.D. 30-1460), Volume III: The Renaissance, Reformation, and the Growth of Nations (1455-1707), Volume IV: Wars of Independence to Modern Times (1708-the present)
Format: Textbook and supplemental materials (maps, worksheets, projects, etc…). Online geography practice and quizzes.
Average daily lesson time: 40 minutes
Classical Consortium Academy is located in Barrington and serves homeschooling families in Northern Illinois. We invite you to learn more about our program here: http://www.classicalconsortiumacademy.org