Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update: Quest for the Middle Ages

Just a little update on how things are going with WinterPromise's Quest for the Middle Ages this year with E13...

This has been a fabulous program for learning the history of the early church which he is thoroughly enjoying. I'm enjoying it along with him since we read together a lot of it and he narrates to me what is going on in the things I do not read directly with him.

Although WinterPromise provides a lot of great reading, I find that I am modifying the other assignments and expectations for the program. I'm not sure if it's because E13 is not all that jazzed about projects or because we aren't immersed in this as a family.

In addition to small daily written assignments, he's been doing projects and cultural investigations. Above is one of the projects where he mapped the missionary journeys of Paul and had some trivia questions with it. The assignment was to make an interactive map of Paul's missionary journeys.

I find E13 really prefers pencil and paper assignments over messy and involved projects. So, I try to encourage him to stretch a little sometimes, but in the end the paper pencil always wins out.

I've had E13 doing some of his own notebooking pages, so the one above was an assignment to write a newspaper telling about Nero the Roman Emperor and his poor behavior. I was pretty happy with the results of his creativity there.

Some assignments are just out of Mystery of History and ask for summaries on what he's read. Other times he has to take a quiz or answer a set of questions.

I am not at all impressed with the science portion yet- speaking from the point of view of a certified biology teacher. I keep hanging in there because the course is Human Body and Forensics and we are just about to start the Forensic portion. I think the first half of the year is all about getting the backstory on the human body so when things turn to forensics, the student will have some prior knowledge. Unfortunately, reading and coloring pages is not my idea of a great biology program. So, I've changed things up there as well in hopes of doing some more assignments with it.

The strength of this program is in the reading selections and resource books. It breaks down all these materials into daily assignments with other week long or three week long choices. There is opportunity for the whole family to work together on the Quest from 4th grade up, but since we are FIAR core users, I prefer to let those graduated from FIAR head off on their own. It has taken some shuffling on my part to do this, but I think it better meets the needs of each student.

It's a great choice for a unit study family as they transition from tidy units to a more traditional program. I'm guessing that someone like E13 would love to just read and not worry about tidy increments, but with other kids the break down might be very helpful.

So, we keep trudging along being faithful to the structure as best we can. The content is fabulous and the resources are top notch. We've been doing a lot of historical fiction reading with this and that's been a lot of fun for us. It's easy to get behind though because it requires a stiff pace!

More updates as we get further along!


Dana said...

Thanks for the review! I'm thinking about using Quest for the Middle Ages with my daughter next year for 7th grade and I enjoyed reading your review. She LOVES projects and I think this would be a good fit. I had kind of decided against the science curriculum, but am interested in what you think about the forensics part when you get there!

Nancy said...

I am interested in the forensics part of the science as well. I have thought of doing the WP human body science instead of the Sonlight human body because the forensics part seems so interesting.

Anonymous said...

As a non-science teacher, I think there science is very weak. I was not impressed with that science we snagged and used. There is a LOT of hands on projects. I have one who loves that & one who doesn't so it worked for us. I'm looking forward to our curriculum switch where the project lover can add to it & the non project lover can stick with your notebooking pages.