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Ancients Again--Mills Books versus Famous Men books

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    Ancients Again--Mills Books versus Famous Men books

    I have 4 kids close together and started with WTM, so I've tried to continue the same 4 year history cycle and keep them altogether to simplify things. But my oldest will be starting Great Books next year, and I'm left with an 8th, 6th and 4th grader, all of whom have done Ancients at least once before. I bought the Mills set this year for "anytime" reading (only used sporadically so far), but am considering it for the history for next year. I also noticed there are workbooks. I have several questions: should my 8th grader, who has already done the Famous men series, do something else?...I'm considering Susan Wise-Bauer's Ancient World text. I had him read Spielvogel this year as a Modern history overview--so doing the Mills books for Ancients seems like it may be a step down in terms of challenge, even thought it's listed as middle school.

    Then for the 6th grader--it seems Mills would be perfect. He's been good with doing workbooks so it will work. However, I've had him doing history with the 4th grader (these are all next year's grades) and the 4th grader still doesn't write well/fast (almost a dysgraphia) so workbooks are frustrating for him. But his reading ability is excellent so I just keep moving him along. We did SOTW IV this past year, basically just reading and doing the questions.

    I think my biggest questions are (1) whether I should just separate out my 4th grader and put him more on the "classical schedule" of doing a year of Romans, etc. and (2) whether I need to do both the Famous Men and Mills books together/in correlation somehow? That second question would apply to the 6th grader as well. And (3) if I do Mills, can I do Ancient world, Greeks and Romans all in a year? I have struggled with this every time I've done Ancients since I love using MP materials but they are really designed for use over individual years. Last time, I think my oldest 2 did FMOG and FMOR in one year.

    When I think about it all, I start making it all so convoluted, so I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts and/or experience, especially with grades so close together. My only other problem is finding the time to have discussion with all these folks *and* my oldest in Great Books. I'm hoping for a tutor for her.

    Thanks,
    Toni G.

    #2
    Hello.

    It is indeed going to be more difficult to keep your students together now. There is a big difference in the abilities of an 8th grader compared to a 4th grader. I think Bauer's Ancient World is a good text and would be a good fit for your 8th grader. But it also seems to me that it is time to read some primary authors. Our students do the Mills' Book of the Ancient Greeks one semester and then read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey the next. Then, the following year, they read Mills' Book of the Ancient Romans 1st semester and Virgil's Aeneid the 2nd semester. Then, you could do Mills' Book of the Middle Ages and read Dante after that. For students to actually read these ancient authors is exactly what you have prepared them to do by immersing them in ancient history study in grammar school. If you want to follow this course for your 8th grader, your 6th grader could also read Mills' Ancient Greece and do the study guide, but at a year-long pace. And that student could read The Trojan War too. This would keep these students in the same time period, but working at an age-appropriate level. And I do think your 4th grader would enjoy working with the Famous Men books right now. Rome is a great book of stories for a 4th grade student.

    I hope this helps a little!

    Tanya

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      #3
      Thanks

      Thanks, Tanya. You addressed my main concerns. I was already thinking of having the 8th grader read from his sister's Great Books list, but your suggestion sounds more manageable. And you echoed my thoughts almost exactly for the 6th and 4th grader, so I guess I was on the right track!. My only other question would be how much to cover and how fast? Since I've been in that 4 year cycle, I'm having trouble stepping outside the box to stretch out the Ancients over 2 years (though I certainly see the wisdom in it--having covered Ancients several times already). On the one hand, I realize how important history is and how many years[to cover] that means for Ancients, but I get worried that I'm going to "short" middle ages and then modern.

      Do you have any advice on stepping away from that 4 year cycle? I think I'm just worried they're going to be missing something by the time they get to high school.

      Thanks again,
      Toni G.

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        #4
        Hi, Toni.

        Our students have classical studies every year. In 7th-12th grades, they have 2 1/2 hrs. a week for classical studies. Then, in 9th-10th grades, they have 2 years of an American history course using a high school text, The Concise History of the American Republic. This class is also for 2 1/2 hrs. a week. In 11th-12th grades, they have European history, also using a high school text, for 2 1/2 hrs. a week. And they have Christian studies every year for 1 1/2 hrs. a week. So, we are constantly visiting all areas of history, every year, but in steady increments. We can cover a lot of information this way, and it keeps students immersed in ancient history as well as modern history and Christian studies. We also deal with history in the context of our literature. For example, our 8th grade literature is all medieval verse, and students read the Mills Middle Ages book in literature to remind them of the historical context of that literature.

        If you follow our model, your students will not be shorted in any aspect of their history education. In fact, they will be soaked through with it! My sons flew through all their history courses in college. I knew they were prepared, but I found myself a little shocked at how easily they succeeded in their college classes. I had to work a lot harder than they did when I was in college! I wasn't nearly so well-prepared. I'm still not as knowledgeable as they are, but I'm working on it.

        Regards,

        Tanya

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