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Before studying history in depth in TRISMS for the high school level, you can take a one or two-year tour of the entire scope of world history in upper elementary or middle school. History's Masterminds
covers world history up to the year 2010 in a similar format as the high school TRISMS, though there are some differences. In the high school level, more time is spent on each period in history, and students spend more time analyzing each civilization in depth, including the art, music, architecture, and literature of each culture. In History's Masterminds
, the emphasis is on chronological developments throughout history, including new inventions, geographical explorations, and science discoveries. In fact, students will be compiling information on these three topics into a course book throughout the program. Children will also read and research their way through history via historical fiction, biographies, and other resource books. History, geography, writing, language, literature, and science are all covered through this program. Math history
is covered, but math itself is not; so you will need to supplement with a complete math curriculum (Saxon Math is recommended). The set is composed of a teacher's manual, student book, and a loose-leaf pack of student worksheets, research questionnaires, quizzes, and quarterly tests. The teacher's manual contains all of the lessons, assignments, teaching information, reading lists, and answer keys while the other two packs contain the forms and worksheets the student will need to complete the ssignments.
The author recommends completing this course over a 2-year period. There are 38 weeks of lessons included, and each week's activities are listed on a lesson plan grid, similar to what is used in the upper-level TRISMS books but with a few differences. The assignments are divided between science, inventions, explorers, and language. A separate grid for each week lists recommended historical fiction, biographies and resource books while major historical events, suggested topics for research, and math history developments are also included. Each weekly lesson focuses on a different chronological span of time and covers all of these topics during that time period. For each week, students will be reading historical fiction and other books and completing questionnaires for scientists, inventions, and explorers. Questionnaires include a series of questions about the topic that the student answers through researching the topic, using the library, and other available resources. Inventions questionnaires also ask the student to draw and/or diagram the invention, while Explorers questionnaires ask the student to mark the explorer's journey on a map and create a map key. The reading lists in the teacher's guide offer suggestions for resources, organized by lesson, which may help when researching. There are separate science assignments for most weeks, which include experiments and research projects. Language assignments are more extensive and incorporate a wide variety of topics including poetry, book reports, letter writing, reports, public speaking, word roots, grammar, outlining, interviewing, bibliographies, and much more. Because the emphasis is on exploring history in a very chronological way, creating a timeline is essential to the course. Famous inventors, scientists, explorers, other major historical figures and events will all be added to the timeline as they are studied each week. Quizzes and tests are also included for reinforcement; quizzes are given every three lessons while tests are given four times throughout the year.
Overall, this course is not only a great way to try the TRISMS approach, but it offers great practice in researching and a terrific scope of our entire history as well. Its open-ended approach makes it useable with students of different grades, and it would be easy (and fun!) to use with multiple children. Because it is so heavily book and research-based, this would be a good fit for you especially if you have pretty easy access to a library and if your students are fairly motivated and independent. – Jess