The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Take a Stand Curriculum Review by Hillary Moore

John De Gree
Take a Stand Publications
The Classical Historian
1019 Domador
San Clemente, CA 92673

There are two types of products available from the Classical Historian: games and the Take a Stand! Curriculum.  The games are available for Ancient History, Medieval History and American History.  Two types of games for each time period are available. The first is the Memory Game, comprised of 64 tiles with beautiful images of important people, places, and things.  The youngest learners (3+) will enjoy this classic game. There are also tiles included for four different categories, in order to play an additional game sorting the tiles. This takes the simple matching game to a new level for the upper elementary ages. The other game is Go Fish.  The deck of 50 cards contains much more than the picture or graphic on each card.  You will also find clues on each card, in order for another player to figure out what the card is. Each card also notes the other cards in its category. The cards are color-coded by the 12 categories. There are additional instructions for playing two other games with the same deck of cards. 

The Take a Stand! books will lead children 12 and older to think for themselves.  There are six different volumes.  A volume consists of a consumable student edition and a teacher's edition.  The topics covered are Ancient Civilizations, Medieval Civilizations, American History (Revolution to 1914), Modern World History, Modern American History, and American Democracy and Economics.  Each volume in this curriculum is intended to go along with your own history texts, be they living books, primary source documents, text books, or a combination of these. The tools and methods give instruction on how to analyze and share through writing, and discussion of what has been read. For the novice to classical education and Socratic discussion, there is a DVD program for the parent. This includes 7 hours of instruction and a printed guide.

The games, in addition to living books, would make great history instruction for younger learners. Everyone in our family enjoyed both games and the variations. We have just wrapped up our study of the middle ages and enjoyed seeing familiar sites and reviewing facts. Even the 2 ½ year old was helping out with the matching game. What a great way to expose young children to history! When there are so many ages of students in a family homeschool, games are a great way to include everyone in the learning and reviewing.

Each volume in Take a Stand! has two parts: Social Studies Curriculum and Social Studies Literacy Curriculum. The first part goes through the same steps of pre-writing activities, discussion, and reflection. The discussion is obviously best suited to small groups, making this curriculum great to use in a co-op setting. It is easy enough to use with an individual family, with another family member’s involvement, such as siblings and/or parents. The second part goes through writing skills, from a single paragraph essay through a multi-page essay.

In our children's early years, we have a relaxed feel to our homeschool. We spend more time as a family just discovering together, in order to instill a love of learning. As our children mature, we are working towards independence, not just in the work done, but in their thought and analysis as well. These materials from the Classical Historian fit right in with that philosophy. Our youngest learners can be exposed to the important people and places throughout history, while the middle learners are diving deeper into their knowledge of the events. We can use the Take a Stand! books to guide our older learners towards independent thought, and still enjoy using the games for review. The instructional DVDs and guide book have helped me not to feel intimidated by the classical model of education. I highly recommend Take a Stand! Curriculum, and games from the Classical Historian.

Product Review by Hillary Moore, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2012