Thursday, May 24, 2012

Heritage History: Greece - A TOS Review

Have you heard of Heritage History? I think I had heard of them, like something on the bare edge of awareness, like something off in the periphery that had buzzed at the edges of my vision, but something I had never turned my head to focus on. Well, they've got my attention now! I mean, they get a "Wow!" from me! 

You are inundated all day long with emails, blogs, websites, and reading, so let me remind you about who I am and how we homeschool so that you will understand why I am suddently so excited about this product. FlyMama Di and little JD (not so little any more) are the members of our 22-year-old homeschool. The first two attendees are now graduates.

[Oh, a little patting on the back and kudos here, my second born graduated college three days ago! WTG, B - I love you!]

So, JD and I have been homeschooling using a curriculum called Ambleside Online. The plan itself is free online, but then you have to scurry to find the books to use to follow the plan. So, I've been using Ambleside Online 7 years now. (Before that I used Tapestry of Grace, another book-intensive program -- my house is buried in books!)

So, this spring I was selected to be among the blessed TOS Crew members who were given the opportunity to review products by Heritage History.  Available for us to choose from were the following CDs: Young Readers; Ancient Greece; Ancient Rome; British Middle Ages; and British Empire.



Being unfamiliar with the company and the product, I took a quick look at their website, and asked for Ancient Greece

When I opened the CD and popped it into my computer, I was amazed! The Heritage History library is a collection of materials organized into collections, cross-organized by genre, reading level, author, and topic. It is amazing. (Wait.... I already said that, didn't I?) Heritage History not only has its own curriculum plan, but has crossed over any boundaries to make it easy to use their materials if you are using other curriculum plans as well.

I feel inadequate to describe to you how wonderful the selection is on the Ancient Greece  disk is, and how wonderfully the titles link up with the titles called for in the Ambleside Online curriculum. Turns out that the folks who produce the Heritage History CDs are aware of Ambleside Online. They even created a link showing what books on their CDs are books required by Ambleside here: Ambleside --  they actually even missed a few AO titles. Their disk also contains: Aesop for Children by Milo Winter and Stories from Shakespeare    by    E. Nesbit, plus many other titles able to be used as substitutions and potential supplementation, if one wants or needs to.

There is a picture above of the printed Study Guide. I did not receive a paper copy of this as a reviewer, however, Heritage History provides pre-printed Study Guides to accompany each of its Classical Curriculum CD's. Each Study Guide includes historical maps, outline maps, timelines, era summaries, character lists, battle dictionaries, recommending reading lists and other study aids. The Study Guides were designed to provide reference materials that complement the reading program and to assure instructors that their students remember the basic facts associated with each historical era. . The Curriculum User Guide gives helpful guidance and information throughout. Every document, every link, everywhere I turn on this disk is interlinked with more links, more information -- there is just so much here! The CD and the website combined are like an onion; every time I think I've gotten deeper, I find there are more layers!

Heritage History's complete book texts and illustrations of over 400 classical narrative histories are available to view online (amazing!).  Their books can also be downloaded to any e-Reader or Tablet, for one low price.

I had already known some of the titles are available in the public domain. But the format on the Heritage History CD is much nicer. Also, sometimes books from the public domain have typos and sections that are skipped. And the titles on the Heritage History CDs are in PDF format and are able to be transferred to your Kindle or other e-reader. This is so cool!

When you are a user of living books, and a user of book-intensive curricula, sometimes when it is time to use a certain book, you go get your book, and it is lost, buried among all your other books. Using the Heritage History CD, it will always be easy to locate the digital copy. And any PDF document can be downloaded to a jump drive and taken to a printing shop to get a copy printed out and bound, if that's what you prefer.

They actually have a free PDF book you can download to see what a sample book looks like. Go HERE to download a copy of Sir Francis Drake, by Mrs. O. Elton.
Here's where I try to touch on specifics. Some of it I already covered:
  • Heritage History's Ancient Greece library CD is available for $24.95. It contains Includes 46 books, 50+ maps, teaching aids, and a Study Guide. 
  •  Format: CD, with printed Study Guide.
  • Purpose of the product: to enable students to study History and Literature; to make rich, quality material easily available to the parent and the student.
  • Topics covered: History, Literature, geography.
  • What do I like? Everything! I'm amazed!
  • What could be improved? I haven't found anything.
  • Would I recommend the product? Absolutely! To whom? Anyone studying Ancient Greece. Anyone using Ambleside Online, Tapestry of Grace, and many other living-book-based curricula.
  •  Have I been surprised by anything in the material? I've been surprised since I first opened the case.
I received a Heritage History: Greece CD in exchange for my honest opinion in my review; I did not receive any pay.
This has been a TOS Homeschool Review. To see more reviews of this product, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog Entry for Heritage History. I love comments! Tell me what you think!


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