I must confess, I am a notebooker at heart, so these products grabbed my attention immediately! My ideal day of homeschool would be to read biographies of interesting people and books about interesting places and times. We would read and discuss things, and occasionally one of my kids would find something really cool. I could say "hold that thought!" and run and find something to use to pull together a page to put in our notebooks. At the end of the year, we would have a really cool survey of all the things we had read, and people and places we had learned about. For me, this is the ideal, not the reality. The reality for us is actually cramming in some worksheet answers that we have to search for, and if we have time after filling out all this 'busy work' then we might get time to do some read alouds that we enjoy. Well, I can now have my ideal school day thanks to the Hold that Thought people!
These folks have prepared CD's for the computer that are absolutely chock full of any kind of outline form or sheet you could imagine. Want to study ancient Greece? No problem, just print out the sheets on any part of Greece you may want to study such as the Trojan War, The Odyssey, Aesop, Alexander the Great... you name it, it's on here. Then use whatever living books you choose to research that topic, and use the sheets as a place to put the information you come across. The sheets are generally blank lined papers with the title at the top. There are draft sheets as well, that give you questions to answer as you read, then you take the good copy and transfer your answers into paragraph format.
There are also cool covers to color in and use as a cover page for your topic. Each of the pages has a picture in the corner that you can color as a visual to your written work. These are so excellent, I just wish I had known about them sooner! There are maps, and charts, and everything is printable right off the CD! You can do reports on any number of topics using these forms and sheets. There are topics such as all of the periods of history, as well as the British Empire, the European Explorers, the Muslim empires... well, you name a topic, and I can pretty much guarantee that these folks have a sheet that corresponds to it!
The two history CD's I have are called History Vol. I and History Vol. II. They are appropriate for about 3rd to 4th grade and up, but the company also has younger grade level CD's available as well. Our homeschool has now changed from boring fill in the blank busy work to delight driven, interest driven studies. Our family education will never be the same again!
These are such a bonus to busy moms like me. I work outside the home as well, so I really have to cram a lot into a little time. I was having a hard time and found myself sacrificing quantity for quality. Now I can read all the good books I choose, because the hard part of writing the forms and making them appealing is already done for me! It's a proven fact that kids retain and can recall much more information if they create and personalize their work. Well, I'm sure that's true, as my kids don't groan when I pull out a book anymore, since they know we are going to be creating a notebook page, not just filling in the blanks on a worksheet. I can't say enough about these helps!
To further enrich your studies, the Hold that Thought people also have Church History worksheets, so you can study the whole picture of HIS story, not just the typical world history studies. There are charts and maps on the history of the church from the beginning, and also on the different denominations as well as on the cults so you can compare and contrast Christianity and the Truth with other religions that claim different things. This is invaluable help, especially for junior high and up as this is the age most kids are interested in other beliefs and in solidifying what they believe themselves.
The format of the CD is extremely easy to use and follow. There are directions for student's use, as well as parents. There are ideas for formatting your notebook, and several different notebook covers to choose from, or you can design your own. Then there is the meat of the CD, the actual notebook pages themselves. There are architecture sheets, so if you want to study, for example, the acropolis or the coliseum, you click on either name, and a sheet pops up with a beautiful black and white picture, and a space for writing about the architecture piece itself. The same goes for art, and biography, and religions, and literature, and events. You name any area you want to study, and there is a notebook page for it! There are even pages set up to look like a newspaper page, so you can get creative and write a story as if you were a reporter there at the time.
The biography sheets are in alphabetical order, but the events are in chronological order, so you can add the biography sheets whenever you come to a period of time that you want to add an important person into. There are maps for virtually every area you can imagine, including the journeys of every explorer you would ever want to cover.
I could go on and on about what's in these CD's, but for me the real gold is the time they save. No more rooting around the internet for just the right map or worksheet. It's all there at your fingertips. Our homeschool will never ever be without these valuable CD's. They are very affordably priced, especially given all that is in them. To provide your 3rd grader and up with every thing they'll need to make notebooks, you would need the Volume I and II of World History, as well as the Church History CD. If you have little ones as well, you may want to grab a CD for the 1st and second graders. I haven't seen these, but if what I have in my hand is any indication, then they will be just as excellent. You could very easily study the same things for all age groups together, making unit studies a breeze....
I wish I had these a few years ago... I'd probably have a few less gray hairs than I do now! I give these sheets a ten out of ten for the invaluable help they provide! I guess one thing I should mention is that these are just what they say, helps. There is no "curriculum" or suggested paths of study, or listed books evens. These are sheets that you can use with absolutely any course of study, or any boxed curriculum, or with anybody just desiring a hands on personalized history study. You won't be disappointed with the end result, and neither will anybody who looks at them! The kids will justifiably be proud of what they've created, and if my kids are any indication, the grumbling will cease when it comes to History!
Have fun, and enjoy your journey!