Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Week In History

Charlotte Mason. Classical Education. Principle Approach. Delight-directed Learning. Eclectic Education. Unschooling. Unit Studies. Thomas Jefferson Education.

Diverse methods of home education, yet, they all have something in common: a respect for developing self-directed, lifelong learners who love to read REAL books. Each style might have a different opinion about what the best sort of book or method of learning information is, but they all benefit from the common belief that learning is both a priviledge and a responsibility; an important part of a vibrant, whole lifestyle.

Another thing each of these methods of home education have in common is that they all would benefit from A Thomas Jefferson Education's service This Week In History, an online weekly publication that comes either straight to your mailbox or can be accessed directly from the archives on the site as needed.
Here is an example of the day New York became a state...each of the listed topics at the bottom is a link to a page of further information to explore with your students, or they can do it independently.

This Week In History is a well-rounded collection of interesting events that occured throughout history in the week ahead. Ranging from important historical events such as statehood and pivotal battles in war, to trivial celebrations such as National Lasagna Day, you will find something for every one of your learners. Other possible feature topics include science, geography, art, music, literature, pop culture, world cultures, sports and more.  

One thing I really loved about this service is that Rachel DeMille brought in suggestions for many classic living books. I truly believe that our children's educations are best enriched by the addition of many quality books and it is obvious that she feels the same way.

An event is spotlighted on a particular day, and a brief introduction is given to each topic. Then links for further investigation into the topic are given. For example, the above picture shows the feature on National Lasagna Day with an amusing quote from Garfield the Cat. Links lead you to some excellent recipes and might spur a student on to explorations in the kitchen, which in our house gets called "Home Ec" class.

The thing I particularly enjoyed about receiving This Week In History is that all the preparation for the various topics was done for me (finding the event, researching good sites, choosing supplemental activities). At the same time, I did not feel that I needed to do each day's activities...I could pick and choose the ones that interested my children, or only use the service when I needed to fill up some time on a day when my own preparations might have fallen a bit short.

Ladybug loves horses, so when Pony Penning Week came up, we had to stop and follow some of these links, then read a book we had on Chincoteague. We also found our copy of the Misty of Chincoteague movie and watched it, as well as drew pictures of horses. A mini-impromptu unit study!

I also liked that TWIH was so diverse, so that by choosing at least one topic each week to pursue, I know that by the end of the year, my kids will have been exposed to quite a few new ideas and deeper discussions than they would have without us using the service.

I remember liking Weekly Reader Magazine as a kid. The diversity of what was in there was interesting and intriguing to me as a child. I feel that TWIH offers a similar, but more detailed and intellectual experience, without being tedious and overbearing...not to mention the convenience and ease of all of the links you can follow...now that adds a whole new dimension to the experience. I also liked that you can go as deep or stay as surface as suits you and the ages/intellectual development of your individual students.

Here is a particularly helpful example of a topic: A study on the "father of Emergency Medicine" and students are encouraged to put together an emergency medical kit. Great idea!

My children, ages 3-8, enjoyed exploring the different topics with me on our "Fun Fridays." There were also cultural/musical/artistic selections in TWIH that allowed us to explore these areas on "Musical Monday" or "Talented Tuesday." We did not use TJEDs service every day, and there were a few weeks we got busy and did not explore the week's offerings at all, but since each week's collection is maintained in an archive, if I ever wish to go back and explore what we missed, I can do that with no problem.

This shows how Rachel DeMille brings in music studies to TWIH.
An excellent idea. The links were well-researched and carefully chosen.

You can check out some sample weeks of This Week in History to see if it suits your family's needs. I think you will find it to be very intersting.

This resource is available as a monthly service for $9.99 per month. You can sign up for This Week in History at the Thomas Jefferson Education website.

No matter what your homeschooling style, if you are looking for something to add a little variety to your weeks without a lot of preparation on your part, and want something that will add to your students' overall cultural literacy, this might be just what you've been looking for.


To see what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about This Week in History, check out the TOS Review Crew Blog.


Disclaimer: I received a subscription to This Week in History in order to complete this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

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