More than just history and geography, this series covers civics, United States and world governments, social studies, commerce and economics, etc. This is a workbook course—kids read brief text and fill in written assignments on their own, with as much teacher involvement as the instructor deems necessary. The self-guided approach allows students to move at their own pace.
How Do These Work?
Like all LIFEPAC subjects, History & Geography covers grades 1-12, with a single teacher guide and ten student workbooks per grade (first grade has two teacher guides). The teacher guide includes answers to all written assignments and tests, suggestions for further discussion and ideas for extra projects. Material is intended for a year, though some students finish early.
The first two levels deal with community/social studies. Grades 3 and 4 cover U. S. and world geography, grade 5 is U. S. history, and grade 6 is world history and geography. In grade 7, a philosophy of history is developed to define history and defend its study. Grades 8 and 9 are a hodge-podge of U. S. history, geography, government, civics, etc. Grade 10 covers world history, grade 11 is more U. S. history/government, and grade 12 ends in international policy and economics.
Students read the text and answer questions. This can be entirely self-guided or teacher directed. Many families use the LIFEPACs as a base, supplementing with other material. Others use them for remedial work—students who are behind can catch up quickly with the workbooks. The workbook method means all subjects are taught as surveys (broad overview rather than detailed or specific accounts), so there are a lot of holes to fill.
Our Honest Opinion:
The layout seems haphazard, with no clear progression in individual books. There's surprisingly little history, and what is there tends to be incomplete. For instance, in the tenth grade study of World War II, there's no mention of Hitler's "Final Solution," Nazi death camps, or the Holocaust; a brief sentence mentioning the Nuremberg war crimes trials is the closest they get.
There's a lot of social studies material. While civics and community-oriented instruction are useful for young children, in a history and geography course they should probably study primarily history and geography. The geography is selective, and while the intent in third grade is to study representative areas of the United States, the focus is individual states rather than regions.
On the upside, the scattershot approach introduces kids to a wide variety of topics, events and figures they can study more in-depth on their own. This is intended as a stand-alone course, but we wouldn't recommend using it without supplementary resources. After all, high school students should be familiar with something as recent and important as Hitler's Holocaust.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviewshere.
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