What should my student use for literature when using World History for 11th grade?

Dear Carrie

What should my student use for literature if she is using the World History guide for 11th grade?

Dear Carrie,

I have always loved your book choices! However, my oldest will be a junior next year. Sadly, she won’t be able to finish all of the high school guides. She is using Heart of Dakota’s World Geography for 10th grade. Next year when she is a junior, she will be using World History. I am wondering if I should just follow the literature path you have laid out in World History? Since we’ve used Heart of Dakota since she’s been in 5th grade, she has obviously read tons of great books! I just don’t want to miss some of the classics that she should have. So, my question is, what are your thoughts on what she should use for literature if she is using World History for 11th grade?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Unsure About Literature When Using World History for 11th Grade”

Dear “Ms. Unsure About Literature When Using World History for 11th Grade,”

As far as the novels for the literature portion, I made a point to put novels I consider especially important in the opening guides of the high school program. The novels in the World Geography guide are classics that are a tremendous stepping stone to the more difficult reading and difficult themes found in the World History guide’s literature.

The novels in the World History literature plans are memorable and timeless.

I believe many of the novels in the literature portion of the World History guide are unmatched for their quality and their themes, while still being enjoyable to read. They are memorable and timeless, lingering in the mind long after the book is completed.  They have stood the test of time and remain classics today.

I had my oldest son read several of these books as a senior, as I didn’t have the rest of the high school guides written, and I felt these novels were not to be missed.

I felt these novels were so important that I had my oldest son read several on that list when he was a senior (as I didn’t have all of the high school guides written yet). This was simply because I did not want him to exit high school without experiencing those books. He read Ben-Hur, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Les Miserables (along with other novels I added for his final year of high school). They were some of his favorite books of that year. My husband read all 3 as well, simply because our son was so enthused about them. I cannot say enough about these titles. The life lessons to be learned as students read these books, the quotable lines of the characters, the rich language, and the allusions to the Bible in these books are amazing.

Thoughts on The Scarlet Pimpernel and Pearl Maiden

My oldest son also chose to read several sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel. This was simply because he loved the first one so much! In fact, my husband greatly enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel too. My older sister, who was a high school literature teacher and has homeschooled her 7 kiddos, said it was one of her favorites of all time.  This makes The Scarlet Pimpernel a winner here. Our son had read the other books on the World History literature list in previous years, with the exception of Pearl Maiden, which we included because of its terrific themes and because it is a great Haggard book (much preferred by me over Haggard’s classic King Solomon’s Mines, which I did not like due to its dark violence).

Thoughts on A Man for All Seasons

After watching the movie version of A Man for All Seasons, and having our pastor refer to it in a sermon, my husband and I discovered that play was such a picture into the time of Henry the VIII that it had to be included. What a classic I found it to be after I read it alongside the study of that time period! It brings up another side to Cranmer and Luther and another side to the conflict between the Church of England and the Catholic Church. This book too shows up on many classic book lists for a reason!

Thoughts on King Arthur

I believe reading about the legend of King Arthur, even with the character of Merlin, is important. This is because the legends of Arthur are a part of understanding medieval times. They show Britain at a time when the Christian religion was overtaking the religion of the Celtic Druids of the past. Known for his themes of bravery, honor, and love, Howard Pyle’s Arthur with his noble traits illustrates the selflessness a king should have for his people. It was for these traits that Arthur is remembered in legend, and those legends show up in so many ways everywhere! Please note that this is the only version of the Arthurian legends that we recommend!

Thoughts on Julius Caesar and Animal Farm

Julius Caesar is one of the “tamer” of Shakespeare’s plays innuendo-wise. It also omits the bawdy humor that is found in other Shakespeare plays. Exploring the issue of how the thirst for power affects those who desire it is a good life lesson that comes out in Julius Caesar. Furthermore, the play draws you in with the inner-workings of who is really able to be trusted as you see the conspiracy play out (and watch its aftermath). Animal Farm is a book that really shows socialism in a way that students will never forget. It is terrific to read along with the time period of WWII, which is where I included it.

Thoughts on The Celestial Railroad

The Celestial Railroad is a wonderful book to read after reading Pilgrim’s Progress. This is because Hawthorne’s version of travel to the Celestial City has been updated to reflect modern times. Travelers no longer have to walk to the city but can instead travel by train. Their burdens are no longer carried on their backs but instead are stowed in the luggage compartment! When Celestial Railroad is read as students are completing Pilgrim’s Progress, it has a huge impact! I chose to end the year with Celestial Railroad for this reason.

In Closing

As you can see, I wouldn’t want your student to miss the books on the World History literature list. I feel they are amazing classics that all students should read. In closing, I would recommend having your daughter use the World History literature this year. Truly, I hope she enjoys it as much as our sons did!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Alexander the Great: Brilliance and Brutality

History with Heart of Dakota

Who was Alexander the Great? 

Conqueror, explorer, leader, and visionary. These are just a few of the words that describe Alexander the Great. Born the son of legendary warrior-king Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander went on to outshine his father.  Philip transformed Macedonia from an unremarkable country to a ruling power in Greece; Alexander made Macedonia the ruling power in the entire known world. His conquests would stretch the Macedonian empire from the mountains of his homeland, to the sands of Egypt, to the expanses of Persia, all the way to the banks of the River Beas in India.

Personality of a Genius 

Alexander was a genius in more ways than one. First, his grasp of military tactics was unequaled in his day. He perfected the use of the phalanx – a tactic which his father had introduced. The phalanx was an infantry formation where soldiers grouped tightly together with each man’s shield protecting himself and his neighbor. In addition to this, each man also carried an 18-20 foot pike which he would thrust outwards from the shield wall. (Wasson) In a time where armies usually fought in a haphazard manner depending on sheer force of numbers to win, the phalanx gave Alexander’s soldiers a huge advantage. Oftentimes, enemy soldiers would simply break off his phalanxes like water off a rock. In addition to this, Alexander had distinct knack for sensing his enemy’s weakest position and massing his men to exploit it. Therefore, when his phalanxes came crashing through there was usually no stopping them.

Second, Alexander was a genius when it came to leading his men. He routinely made a point of leading the charge in battle rather than staying back in safety. Initially, he also insisted on sharing his men’s hardships. For instance, while marching his troops through the desert, according to biographer Peter Green, “…when a helmetful [sic] of muddy water had been found for him in some nearby gully – but no more was to be had – he laughed, thanked the donor, and then tipped the water out into the sand. So extraordinary was the effect of this action that the water wasted by Alexander was as good as a drink from every man in the army.” (434) Alexander lead by example, as all great leaders do. When his men saw him facing and overcoming the same challenges they faced, it inspired greatness in them as well.

Fatal Flaws

Nonetheless, Alexander was far from perfect. “Like many brilliant men,” historian John Gunther writes, “he was unstable…he ran from one extreme to another…” (46) While he could be caring and understanding, he also could be irrational and violent. He had a burning temper which resulted in him murdering some of his most faithful soldiers, such as Clitus and Parmenion. Also, during his final years he firmly believed himself to be descended from the Greek god Zeus. Those who did not acknowledge this were executed. (Gunther 138-139) Sadly, with no god to serve except himself, Alexander – once great – ended his life in drunkenness and confusion.

Lasting Impressions

Even though Alexander’s life was dramatically short (he only lived to be 32!) what he accomplished in that time has had repercussions that affect us to this day. His use of soldiers as disciplined units formed the gold standard in military tactics for hundreds of years afterward. In addition, by bringing many different countries under one empire, he spread the use of a universal language – Greek. Many scholars believe this was instrumental in spreading the Gospel 400 years later. He also founded many different cities – some of which remain to this day. (Many of these he named Alexandria, after himself.) Ultimately, much like God had used prior civilizations and kings to carry out His purpose in history, God used Alexander the Great to mold the world according to His own plan.

Which HOD guides can you find Alexander the Great in? 

Alexander the Great can be encountered in several of Heart of Dakota’s guides! You can find him in Little Hearts, Preparing Hearts, Creation to Christ, World Geography, and World History. You can also find a more in-depth study of him in John Gunther’s book Alexander the Great, which students can read in the extension package for Creation to Christ.

Bibliography 

Green, P. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C. (University of California Press, 2013).

Gunther, J. Alexander the Great. (Sterling Publishing, 2007).

Wasson, D.L. The Army of Alexander the Great. (Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2014). 

Reading Through the Entire Bible in High School

Dear Carrie

Reading Through the Entire Bible in High School

I’m really looking forward to The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study in Heart of Dakota! I think it looks wonderful. It is a very important goal for me to have my kids read through the entire Bible during their high school years. I read the entire Bible through on my own twice when I was growing up, and I think it has made a profound impact on my life. My own kids have had a lot more exposure to the Bible than I did, since I went to public school and my parents didn’t do a “Bible Time.” But, I still really have a strong desire for them to read it cover to cover.

I see that only “highlights” of the Old Testament are read in World History. Could you please let me know how much of the Old Testament these highlights are? If I had my children read the whole thing, would they be doubling or tripling their reading – or more? I don’t want them to have too much to process at one time. Could I spread the book out over two years and have the kids read it in smaller chunks? I have thought about reading through the whole Bible in our family Bible Time. However, I think I would rather have my kids tackle it solo during high school, so they can concentrate more. We are currently reading the Book of Isaiah aloud, and the younger kids get squirmy at times. I think Leviticus might be tough! What do you suggest, Carrie?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Plan for My Kids to Read the Entire Bible”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Plan for My Kids to Read the Entire Bible,”

I agree that reading the entire Bible is a wonderful goal! The Bible curriculum that we schedule for the World History and the US1 years is called The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study by Starr Meade. It has the option of reading through the entire Bible along with the curriculum. So, you could definitely follow that option as you go through those two years.

Perhaps, your students could do the extra reading at a separate time outside of their school day? It could be as easy as doing it before bedtime. We have added a scheduled half-hour reading time for our family at night after supper clean-up. Our family gathers together to read silently for 30 minutes in our living room. Each family member reads a book of his/her choice. We actually set a timer, and it is completely silent (as we finally have kiddos old enough for it to be quiet). It has really encouraged a love of reading in our house! Our older kiddos sometimes read their “Living Library” books or their “Literature” books for school during this time. Sometimes our boys read their Bibles or devotional books during this time too. Anyway, just a thought!

Blessings,

Carrie

Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year

Teaching Tip

Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year.

You may be beginning to turn your thoughts toward school. One of the best ways to prepare for the upcoming year is to read through your HOD guide’s “Introduction.” There is such a wealth of information in the “Introduction” that we should truly title it something else!

How does reading the “Introduction” help prepare you for the year?

The “Introduction” will give you a feel for how each area is handled in the guide and the goals for each subject. It will let you know what notebooks, binders, etc. are needed for each subject area. Reading the “Introduction” provides a great summary of what to expect for the coming year. The “Introduction” is the last part of the guide we write. In this way, we can be sure that it truly summarizes needed information for you in one place!

If you have students in different HOD guides, read only one guide’s “Introduction” each day.

If you will be teaching more than one Heart of Dakota guide, read the “Introduction” for different guides on different days. This will help you focus on one guide at a time and will keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Can you use the guide without reading the “Introduction?”

Of course you can skip reading the “Introduction” and just jump right in and teach. However, often when families do this they miss the big picture of the guide. They also miss out on some gems that are referred to in the “Introduction” and included in the Appendix.

So, let’s get started!

After more than 15 years of homeschooling my boys with HOD, I still read the “Introduction” at the start of my school year! So, grab a cup of tea or coffee, cuddle up with your highlighter, and read away. Just reading the “Introduction” will make you feel more prepared!

Blessings,
Carrie

Top Ten Tips for Teaching Multiple Guides