Mystery of History advertises itself to be "A Classical, Chronological, Complete Christian World History for All Ages." I want to start by addressing each of these.
This curriculum is definetly Classical. It allows for much information to be heard and absorbed by the Grammar stage student through the written text and many recommended additional books that can be read. It also has recommended hands-on activities that help reinforce ideas learned and related ideas. I find that my middle son is highly kinestetic and this is a great tool! It also taught to the Logic Stage student by offering additional activities in helping them to find the "why?" of many different events in history. I loved how characters were linked to different stories and time periods to help us really feel like we were living along with them! And while we aren't to the Rhetoric Stage yet, each lesson gave ample opportunity for the student to research and write about what has been larned.
The curriculum is amazingly chronological! I LOVE this. I love learning about how Biblical history ties in with other things in history and it really helped us to understand some things from the Bible. The curriculum also recommends you keep a timeline. We made ours using a craft board and we made a figure for each lesson based on the instructions in the curriculum. My kids loved having a chance to draw the figures and be creative with them. It really helped to reinforce the learning and they enjoy looking back at it!
Linda writes this curriculum from a totally Christian perspective. She talks about God's hand throughout history and helps to make connections between Biblical history and other important people and events of world history. This has probably been my favorite part. I desire for my kids to learn and really know that God has a plan for them and by learning that God has had a plan for all of history I think it helps them to see that it's true for them, too! This has been my favorite part of this curriculum!
We purchased this curriculum in January (as I was unhappy with what we had been doing from up until them) so we completed this in half the recommended time. I am looking forward to next year when we can move through it at a more "normal" pace. Needless to say, we will be using Mystery of History volume II for this upcoming school year. I am looking forward to doing it at the recommended pace. We will be completing more of the activities and definetly doing lots more notebooking. My kids have enjoyed having their notebooking pages to look back at now that we have finished.
So this is definetly a 5 star rating coming from this homeschooling mom!
Even if you aren't a homeschool family, this would make an excellent book to read through as a family. You could simply read through 1 lesson a day. It will take less than 5 minutes to read each lesson and you can supplement with the extra books based on your children's interest.
My recommendations for using this curriculum:
1. Notebooking pages. My children love looking back at the things they did. I wish we would have done more notebooking pages. For 2 of the quarters we used the lapbooks and while they are great, I don't know what to do with them now that we are done. I wish I would have attached all the pieces to cardstock instead of file folders so they could be incorporated with the other things into a keepsake book (using my new GBC Proclick tool!). I got lots of notebooking pages from http://www.notebookingpages.com/ and http://www.notebookingnook.blogspot.com/ has lots of free ones for the Bible characters that are covered in Volume I and she offeres many other sets through currclick which are just fabulous. I will be making notebooking pages for volume II for the ones that I can't find from these two sources.
2. Timeline. This is a MUST in my mind! The best way to take full advantage of this curriculum is to use the timeline! It can be a notebook, a big sheet of long computer paper or a display board but it really helps to cement all that has been learned in your student's mind!
3. Activities. Pick 1 or 2 for each week. Do them. Take pictures. Put the pictures on your corresponding pages. My kids always remember the things that we did activities for!
4. Books. You can not possibly read every book recommended for every lesson. See which ones your library has and fill in from there. We gained a lot of knowledge from pictures in books and fun read alouds from the time period! But don't feel that you have to read everything, because you can't and it will drive you crazy.