In my previous home schooling post I referenced a methodology that I thought I was favoring. I have researched (at least on a minimal level), a lot of curriculum and methodology. I have reviewed A Beka, Sonlight, Christian Light, Tapestry of Grace, Father’s World, Konos, and many more. When I stumbled across HOW, I was immediately attracted to it. HOW only offers one year of curriculum but their goal was to teach an approach more than provide teaching material. I spent hours purusing through their website and I ordered the HOW Approach book. Since I haven’t read the book yet, nor finished my exploration, I am not absolute about HOW but so far it’s by far my favorite approach. If you read my previous posts on my home schooling objectives and likes/dislikes, I think it will be easy to see why HOW is probably one of if not THE best approach for me to use.
Bible Centered Core
Instead of adding bible teaching as part of the curriculum, HOW uses the bible as the core of the curriculum. The bible is the first book opened of the day. The children will read through the entire bible every year. The first bible they suggest is a One Year Bible for Children called “The Day by Day Bible”. It seems a tad advanced for 1st grade but I think I could tailor it a bit if I choose to use this one.
Uses a Hebrew Education Model
The education models that we have had handed down to us over the last two thousand years have been primarily Greek influenced – with Greek philosophy. The Greeks were concerned about education with the purpose of serve state and self. The Hebrew approach centered on religion and serving others. Their education was primarily religious and then extended outward from there. Greeks taught in reverse manner. I believe that my first obligation to my children is to train them in the way they should go so that even when they are old they shall not depart from it (Proverbs). I believe scripture defends that healthy education begins with spiritual teaching and all other learning is secondary to that first goal. The ancient Hebrews taught this way and they were the one’s that God entrusted with His Word. If you are interested in more information and resources on Greek versus Hebrew Education Models click HERE .
The HOW teaching approach is a combination of several teaching methods organized around a two sided curriculum base: God’s Word and God’s World. This method is specifically designed for multilevel teaching. This approach includes a four-year suggested course of study designed to be repeated every four years through three cycles.
GOD’S WORD – Direct Studies using the Bible and study tools. Half the school day is occupied with Bible studies. The family reads through the Bible each year utilizing Bible study aids while incorporating language skills through writing assignments (narration, summary writing, composition etc) and adding to a Bible portfolio.
GOD’S WORLD – Derived Studies using thematic unit studies, living books, and the internet. History, science, and arts are filtered through divine truth. History is studied chronologically and science is studied in Creation order. All studies incorporate God’s Word. The unit studies incorporate language skills through writing assignments (narration, summaries, composition etc.) and adding to unit portfolios and a time line book.
Therefore writing, reading, and language skills are integrated into all studies.
Students spend half the day studying God’s Word and half studying God’s World. A primary reason why I am gravitating to the HOW approach.
There are several methods that HOW uses to teach:
A Return to Biblical Hebraic Education – reasons for this were stated above.
Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy – Students should develop a love of learning by reading real books – classical literature as opposed to “dumbed down” literature. These are called “Living Books”.
The Four Step Lessons – Excite, Exam, Expand, Excel – This method allows for both freedom and flexibility AND structure.
Unit Study – The term “unit” refers to the idea of studying a topic as a whole instead of several separate subjects. A unit study takes a topic and lives with it for a while integrating science, social studies, language arts, and fine arts as they apply.
Lifestyle of Learning – Lifestyle learning approach is a way of watching your children’s interests and passions and helping to expand upon them.
Delight Directed Learning – Students acquire basic concepts of learning during the process of examining the topic they are interested in.
Writing to Learn – Students think on paper.
Scrapbooking to Learn – Students create scrapbooking pages, timelines, and portfolios as they work through unit studies.
Above information take from HERE.
All the above methods need more of my research time but so far, this seems right up my alley!
Unit Studies were an exciting discovery for me. This approach allows you to teach multi grade children at the same time by using the same core resources but varying the exercises as appropriate for each child. They also allow you to dive into topics and study them more thoroughly. Instead of purchasing curriculum for every subject, the Unit study encompasses most every study except for science and mathmatics (and there is a separate science unit). Here is an example: Unit History Study – Adam through the Messiah – Week 1 Creation: HISTORY Segment – Teach on Creation READING Segment – Read books related to Creation - HANDWRITING – Copy verses related to Creation – Small children could color pictures, make a creation related craft, retell the story and color pictures in short sentences to work on handwriting and grammar – Older children could write an essay pertaining to Creation, or choose a debate topic like long days versus short days to give orally, scrapbook and journal on creation days. etc. In this way, you have covered the majority of your core curriculum without ever leaving the topic. Why have separate reading/writing/handwriting/vocabulary/grammar/spelling exercises when they can all be applied to your unit history or science study of the day? That just makes sense to me. I also think they retain more of what they learn by exercising it on so many different levels. You also have the opportunity to use the bible reading of the day as your core unit from which the other segments get developed that day as opposed to your History unit. I visualize doing both (branching outward from God’s Word or God’s World). Maybe handwriting for the day will be copying our verse of the week but our sentence writing will come from our unit study? Just thinking out loud.
The HOW approach to cycling through curriculum really impressed me. I have seen a few other curriculum cycles posted (like Tapestry of Grace) and HOW’s has been my favorite. This is a 12 year plan!
Their approach is to teach History in chronological order from ancient history through modern times over a 4 year cycle. This 4 year cycle then gets repeated 3 times so that each student has the opportunity to learn about all the historical eras three different times learning at different levels of maturity. The first year is ancient history and begins with the history of the Israelites and then branches out towards the other world figures after that. I love this approach because I want my children to understand world history as “His Story”. I want them to have a very strong understanding of Hebrew culture, manners and customs because this will give them better tools in understanding scripture as a whole. When I then advance into ancient Egypt and Rome, I will enjoy pointing out which biblical characters were on the scene during those times. I love history and am most excited to teach this subject!
Science is also taught in 4 year long cycles that will repeat 3 times. Science though is taught in creation order.
Here is the HOW suggested curriculum plan:
Year 1: Ancient History – Physical Science – Life Skills for Upper Grades
Year 2: World History – Earth Science and Botany – Life Skills for Upper Grades
Year 3: American History 1 – The Animal World – Life Skills for Upper Grades
Year 4: American History 2 – Anatomy – Life Skills for Upper Grades
Detailed Plan By Year
God’s Plan – Ancient History – Adam to Abraham, Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, The Messiah
God’s World – Physical Science – Creation, Light, Energy, Matter, Motion, Electricity
God’s Kingdom – Life Skill Studies for Upper Grades – Wisdom, Diligence, Personal Economics, College/Apprenticeship, Specific elective courses in child’s interest and foreign language
God’s Plan – World History – Early Church, Vikings, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation
God’s World – Earth Science and Botany – Weather, Oceanography, Botany, Geology, Astronomy
God’s Kingdom – Life Skill Studies for Upper Grades, Driving/Vehicles, A Virtuous Woman/A Godly Man, An Effective Citizen, other electives and foreign language
God’s Plan – American History 1 – Age of Exploration, Thirteen Colonies, Colonies to Country, New Nation, Civil War, Reconstruction, American West
God’s World – The Animal World – Marine Zoology, Ornithology (Birds), Entomology (Insects), Earth Zoology
God’s Kingdom – Life Skill Studies for Upper Grades – Courtship, Marriage, Homemaking, Interior/Exterior Design, other electives and foreign language
God’s Plan – Industrial Era, World War I, Depression, World War II, Holocaust, 1950 to Today
God’s World – Anatomy – Cell Design, Brain/Nervous, Skeletal/Muscular, Respiratory/Digestive, Heart/Circulatory, Reproductive
God’s Kingdom – Life Skill Studies for Upper Grades – Home Education, Spiritual Fruit, other electives, and foreign language
The author of HOW did write the units for the first year but due to illness was not able to complete years 2 through 4. I may or may not use her units anyhow. What I wanted was an orderly process for cycling through my children’s education and I really LOVE this plan. I may adapt the first year units for Tanner and then after I get the hang of the unit study, use her suggested schedule to gather my own resources through “living” books, videos, the internet, and other sources for the following years.
I also love the idea of keeping biblical and unit scrapbooks and timelines. I prefer video scrapbooks so I have already been thinking through this for the boys. Possibly letting them arrange their pictures and ideas on a page without tacking them down, then taking pictures of their finished product to put in a DVD album for them for the year. I could have a whole treasure box full of “props” they could arrange. REAL crafts are fun too so I could let them truly “build” and still take pictures of their work for their DVD album. Just thinking out loud !
Some of the other unit curriculum studies are similar to this but I think I like the arrangement and methodology of HOW the best.
If I choose this method, I will need to choose a math curriculum and decide how to expand on my phonics curriculum the first few years. I’ll need age appropriate grammar reference books so that I can direct their writing through their unit study exercises.
So that’s a bit about why I am in love with HOW. I’ll tell you if I fall “out of love” after I read the book (which is in the mail). I really think I have found what suits me though and I am EXCITED!
P.S. I think I am going to add a separate blog for Home Schooling. I have a lot to say about it and I want it organized for easy reference for ME as I go through this journey. Not to mention the fact that this would bore 90% of the population in a major way !