For those considering CTG for next year, I just wanted to share what a great year is in store for you!
I love that CTG is based on the most ancient of history -- the Bible. You start with the days of creation. You read about how dinosaurs could fit into the Bible. As the people of the Bible travel, you widen your circle of study. You map out where Noah's descendents are said to have gone. When Abraham (& Joseph) goes over to Egypt, you start looking at who's over there. When Israel is captured by Assyria (& Jonah is sent to Ninevah - in Assyria), of course you are learning about what this Assyrian empire is, anyways?!
Previously when homeschooling my high schooler, I realized that reading thru the Old Testament was my favorite way to get to know my Father. To see Him in action. The further I read into the Old Testament (past the really ancient stories that are so short), the more I saw God's steadfast, tender care. And I saw humans just like me - failing and falling down. Yet God does not give up on us. As my pastor once said, if you want to read lovely thoughts, read one of the other religions' books; if you want to read about real folks you know, read the Bible!
And after trying to bring all this to my daughter in high school, I am thrilled to find it all planned out for me this year, so I could spend all my time teaching my children instead of painstakingly preparing lessons!
A bonus this year was seeing how closely aligned Christ was with the OT feasts and prophecies. It has really all come together as we end our year seeing God's plan all connects...
(1) Original Passover lamb
Leaving Egypt/40 days in the desert
Receiving the Law
(2) Passover Feast commemorating the event
Counting the Omer 7 weeks
Feast of Shavuoth
(3) Christ's Passover/Last Supper
Easter/Resurrected Christ on earth 40 days
Apostles celebrate Shavuoth & receive the Holy Spirit during Pentacost
(which means "50th Day")
Now I for one was very intimidated by the feasts at first. However, I have had a complete change of heart. I have learned that there is as much variety in celebrating the Jewish feasts as there is in Christian worship. Our Feast of Booths inside our family room during a cold MN fall was just as special & holy as a formal affair - and it was the photo ds chose to put on the cover of his history notebook. We were welcomed at Messianic Jewish churches & talked with someone who had lived in Israel. The CTG instructions are an easy jump start, and then your family's possibilities are endless.
You do some great projects in CTG, like building your own model holy tabernacle - and the teacher's guide has detailed instructions & allows you a full week with no other history assigned, so you don't have to squeeze it in. Also I've always wanted to "dramatize" history with the kids but never had the energy or creative genius. Yet dramatizing just one or two events in CTG was something even I could accomplish (and was very effectual & appreciated by ds).
The memory verses were very special - Psalm 23 in the KJV especially, but all of them. Posting them on cardstock (& my son added little Google images to remind him of the meanings) was a good memory aid. And the 10 commandments - wow, I had never kept these straight myself, & here my ds has them memorized :o)
I have said before that I had used English From the Roots Up but never knew what to do with it after we made the cards - until we did CTG! The daily work with the cards was just what we needed to make this a true vocabulary program (and no worksheets!). And don't overlook that around week 17, you are given are some fun games to use for review!
After the low-key science of ECC, ds was enthused about the tons of experiments in CTG. He enjoyed & understood the conversational tone of Genesis for Kids. He really learned a lot of relevant science principles in the Pyramids book. He loved exploring how the dinosaurs fit with the Bible. And he feels like a budding science genius with all he's learning in the very readable biography of Archimedes!
And finally, this year I enjoyed bringing my son a step towards listening to better literature. We very much enjoyed languishing in picture books thru 3rd grade, and delving into easy chapter books in 4th grade. However, the Children's Homer (and Archimedes as well) was just the step up I was hoping for as we head towards 5th grade. Using words like "wooers" <LOL> my son was challenged just enough. We stopped & discussed the language a lot, since this was a big change for him. And the questions in the CTG guide were just what we needed to keep ds's attention and comprehension. And as a bonus, this book was a painless way to introduce the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aenid - all at once!
The Children's Homer was also a great opportunity to discuss the values of the world (Greek appearance, heroism), vs. the values of a Christian. I remember one particular discussion about whether the Greek concern for welcoming strangers was the same as Christ's concern for loving our neighbors. On the surface it appeared so, but upon exploring further, the Greeks were not really loving the poor & destitute - they were merely welcoming the stranger who looked poor but "just might" be a hero or goddess or something! It was a very selfish type of welcoming.
I must point out that ECC was exactly the preparation needed for CTG. Ds came into CTG already praying for the world & wanting them to find the Truth, which put the events and false beliefs of history (including those described in the Bible) right in their proper perspective. I believe ECC was exactly what was missing when I tried teaching the history cycle to my older dd. That and the careful examination of creation & the fall of man as the driving force behind history - which CTG so carefully begins with.
One more thing - probably our greatest blessing this year was following the suggestion in CTG to do the Bible reading as a family in the evenings. We are at all different places in our Bible experience at this house, and this brought us all onto the same page. It took some major effort in this family with 23 years of accumulated busy-ness. And we seemed never to catch up, sometimes doubling up or reading during the holidays. But we are now actually ahead of the CTG manual and reading extra chapters :o) What a blessing it has been for our family!
Have fun in our father's world!
P.S. Just to reassure you that plenty of general history is covered--- I received a catalog this week for an adult course on world history by the Teaching Co., and all of the people and civilizations mentioned B.C. were ones we have already "met & visited" in CTG!