For the past several weeks we have been working with the Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum. We received Pathway to Liberty’s The Middle Ages Level 2/Year 2 from Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum for our review. This is just one of four options in this program. The others are Pathway to Liberty’s Universal History, Pathway to Liberty’s US History, and Pathway to Liberty’s World History. Each of these programs can be used to teach a variety of grades and ages at the same time so are quite flexible and user-friendly for families, particularly those with large families.
About Pathway to Liberty
Created by homeschool mom Jayme MacCullough, this program is designed to be used by homeschooling families who are looking for a complete history curriculum that they can use to teach their children together, understanding that each is at their own level of understanding and ability. Does that make sense? Basically, the course is laid out in four one-year terms, each with a different overall subject and then each is broken up into four levels. You can see in one of our folders in the photo below that our weekly overview for Week 1 is charted out into four levels. They each have their own assignments but all of them use basically the same information but at a level each child can understand.
I have to tell you I was quite happy to see how well laid out the teacher plans were in this program. It is totally turn-key for the parent aside from finding the books that are used for studying. (As it turned out we already had some of them on our bookshelf.)
When I was first looking at this program I found this video with Mrs. MacCullough explaining how the program works. It really helped me to understand how it all works.
How We Used the Program
We received the digital version of The Middle Ages from Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum so will be able to use the same program for Little Monster when he gets older. I appreciate when curriculum companies provide this option to homeschooling families since budgets are always a concern.
In our electronic package, we found the digital downloads of both the Student and Teacher Guide for Year 2/Level 2 of The Middle Ages plus The Chain of Liberty and The Chain of Liberty Study Guide. This package is packed full of resources for studying this period of history. This is all done with a Biblical worldview and includes Christian history.
We began at the beginning and were happy to see how well the Teacher and Students guides work together. EJ said his guide was easy to understand and clear to see what work he was to do each day he had history assigned.
I liked the way the questions for each section asked him to think about his response. They not only asked about simple facts they also had him thinking about what things meant or would mean to him in today’s world. (One example was about the centralization of government, it lead to a great discussion on how this would affect the world today were we to have only one level of government ruling the entire country. He didn’t think this would work well since our country is so diverse with different concerns in different regions.)
We also liked that there were various ways of providing information including text, books, Bible passages, videos, and maps. This really helps make these stories come alive in a child’s mind.
We moved on to reading sections of The Story of the World where we learned about Julis Caesar and the Roman Empire. EJ was happy with the book choice and couldn’t wait to read each chapter as it was assigned. We have used this book as a read-aloud in the past but since he is 12 now he likes to read it on his own and use it as a reference when he is responding to questions and writing a paragraph about him. (There was also a video on Caesar, EJ really liked that there were books and videos mixed together in the assignments.)
Since we were not able to work through the entire 26-week curriculum during the review period, we decided to look through the package a bit and work on some areas out of order. One of these areas was Saint Patrick in Chapter 13. Being Irish Catholic this topic jumped out to us so we found the video that goes along with the lesson and dug right in.
The course is broken into six areas, The Noble Stream of Liberty, Roman Republic and the Heroic Age of the Church, Canon and Conversion, Transforming Nations, Blood and Ink, and Age of Exploration. Chapter 13 is in the Transforming Nations section and also includes a book study on American Book Award Winner Miss Rumphius for levels 1 and 2 and a different video activity for levels 3 and 4. In this way all students can work on the same theme and message together but at their own level.
I liked that a picture book was used in this section and that it was inspired by the real “Lupine Lady,” Hilda Hamlin who scattered lupine seeds all along the Maine coast. This shows that folks can create transformations whether they are “casting snakes” from Ireland or planting beauty closer to home.
We were also generously provided with The Chain of Liberty book and study guide but found that it was used more in levels 3 and 4 with selections from it provided in the student guide for level 2 where it was needed. That said, we did read through it and found a well-written book that explains the foundations of liberty beginning from the time of slavery to today. Of course, this is a very simplified description since there are inclusions from the founding fathers to what is happening in the United States today with explanations of how the links in the chain of liberty connect them all together. I can see how this book and study guide would be very helpful when studying each of the history courses.
Overall we were pleased with this program and are looking at the other levels to add into our history studies. My reasons for this are the ease of use, the teacher and student guide layouts, and the mix of reading and videos that are used throughout. If the boys were closer in age I can also see them studying together and that being a big plus (Little Monster is only 2 so it will be a while yet before he is studying history).
But don’t just take my word for it. There were a number of crew families who reviewed various levels of this program. To hear what they had to say about their experience with this program please click on the image below.