Thursday, November 16, 2006

Review: Connecting with History Vol. I by Andrea Chen and Sonya Romens

copyright 2001/2006, RC History, 162 pages, comes in a three ring binder

A guide for implementing a very comprehensive history program for all ages from preschoolers through adults (yes, even mom!), Connecting with History also incorporates religion, literature, discussion, composition, scripture and poetry memorization, hands-on activities, and more. The stated goal of this program is to help families better understand the Catholic Faith through the study of history, and to better understand true history through the study of the Catholic Faith. Faith, facts and reason are intimately inter-connected in a way that is effective, easy, and interesting. It is designed as four separate volumes covering history from Creation to the present, to be covered in a sequential four-year cycle. Volume One is currently available. Volume Two is available in units and will be available in its entirety by winter 2007. Volumes Three and Four will be forthcoming shortly thereafter.

Unlike other family-based programs on the market, Connecting with History provides a detailed and thorough history education at all academic stages (even high school) that is specifically laid out, offering both options and structure at the same time. Because of its totally unique format, it is effective for virtually all teaching and learning styles, including those who prefer a Classical education (it is based on the trivium‘s stages of learning), theme units (it involves the whole family and many academic subjects), textbook approach (it utilizes core textbooks and fact-based books as its foundation, broken down into specific daily readings), Charlotte Mason (it is literature-based and offers narration, dictation, and notebook suggestions), or interest-driven (the students are encouraged to choose from various resources and activities). Visually appealing, its use of large subject headings and charts makes it easy on mom. Just a glance is needed to understand how to implement the program. Coordinated products such as timeline cards, notebook timeline pages, student report pages, and complete literature units further simplify its use and effectiveness.

On a personal note, Connecting with History has far and away done more for my family than any other purchase I have made in eight years of home schooling. Not only have we been brought closer together through this truly family-based approach to history, but never before has the truth of God’s Word and His Church, within the larger context of world history, been made so brilliantly clear to my children. The discussion prompts and supplemental books and activities bring out the deeper concepts in a way that engages their intellects and helps them to connect the facts of their studies with their day-to-day lives and spiritual growth. It has made home schooling enjoyable and interesting for the kids and myself in a way that nothing else has done (and I’ve tried the gamut of all the different educational approaches mentioned above, and countless products). Additionally, my four children range widely in ages and learning styles: two have ADD and additional unique learning needs, one is a more typical learner, and one is a kindergartner who wants to be included in school with the rest of the family. Connecting with History works for all of them equally well without overwhelming their pregnant mother who is plagued with health problems! And though we operate on a very tight budget, the multiple subjects and grade levels covered with this product help to put our money to very good use without waste. I cannot begin to recommend Connecting with History highly enough!

As we studied Volume One (ancient history and Old Testament), my children really understood Salvation History and the personal love of God as He continually reaches out in greater mercy and tenderness. They felt the newness of revelation when God called Abraham. They felt horrified at the slavery in Egypt. They felt the importance of obedience to God's Law when God gave the Ten Commandments and Moses proclaimed "I place before you today a choice: life or death. Choose life!" They felt frustrated as Israel fell over and over again. They suffered during the Exile. They rejoiced during the Return. They felt the anticipation as Israel waited for the coming Messiah. They understood the historical context of what was happening in the world at those times. They understood the political upheavals, the greatness of Greece and Rome, and how God was preparing the world for His Son. When we got to the New Testament, the study of the life of Jesus and the institution of the Church finally made sense in a way it never did before (even for me!). Nothing has affected us quite the way this product has!

For further information, please visit the following sites: and The Connecting with History Blog Also see Sample Pages from the Program

Reviewed by Cathi Horning (7-13-06)
Available from RC History

Cathi Horning has been homeschooling for 8 years. She has four children ranging in age from 5 to 13 (plus another on the way). She and her husband converted from Protestantism to the Catholic faith in the Jubilee Year (2000). Her goal in homeschooling is to give an integrated presentation of the Truth of the faith, supported by the various subjects (especially history and religion), and to develop the minds of my children so they can think critically in today's world.

No comments: