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BiblioPlan - Remember the Days, Book Three: Early Modern Days Middles Bundle Review by Linda Rose

Rob and Julia Nalle

BiblioPlan is a unique and well-written history and literature curriculum. There are four years of study to choose from: Ancients, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern. Within each year of study, there are four different age groups to choose from: Littles (kindergarten through second grade), Middles (second through sixth grades), Upper Middles (sixth through eighth grades), and Advanced (eighth through twelfth grades). This makes it very convenient to use one program to teach all your students in all grades. For this review, I will be focusing on the materials in the Early Modern time period for middle students (roughly grades two through six). This includes Remember the Days, Book Three: Early Modern Days, The BiblioPlan Family Guide for Early Modern History, Cool History for Middles, Grades 2-6, Hands-On Maps for Middles, Grades K-8, BiblioPlan Timeline, and the BiblioPlan Craft Book for Early Modern History.

With BiblioPlan, the Early Modern time period covers US and World History from the years 1600 through 1850. We have enjoyed learning about this time period and look forward to continuing the study throughout the rest of the year. BiblioPlan is scheduled to be used three days per week. Of course, it could be spread out to be used all five days if you prefer that. For us, working on history three days per week leaves us the other two days to work in other subject areas or to use as a make-up day if we need to. The amount of work involved is appropriate for the age level and still leaves time for the student to complete work in other subject areas.

The BiblioPlan Family Guide for Early Modern History

The foundation of the program is the BiblioPlan Family Guide for Early Modern History. This is the book that will help you schedule all the necessary components for every student in your family. The beginning of the Family Guide includes very thorough instructions including tips for getting started and, more importantly, book lists for the entire year. It also includes brief descriptions of each of the supplemental books that can be purchased from BiblioPlan. The most helpful resource in the Family Guide is the weekly schedules. I appreciate that, as the teacher, there is a wealth of information included, but I only need to choose what fits with our current schedule. The book lists are great, but if you expect to read every single title, then you will definitely be overwhelmed! Pick and choose what works for your family. Since I am using this guide with my twelve-year-old, I chose titles that he would be interested in. I really appreciate the variety of suggestions that are not just books—movies and audio books are included as well. If there is a title that I don’t have access to, either in my personal library or in the public library, I feel comfortable to simply substitute a title from the same time period. The Family Guide schedules all history readings, literature readings, missionary readings, supplement, Bible reading, writing ideas, hands-on activities, and additional resource suggestions. 

The Family Guide is broken down into units. There are 34 weeks of study broken down into six units. Each unit focuses on a certain time period within the Early Modern historical time period. The six units for this era are as follows: Unit One, The New World; Unit Two, Western Europe; Unit Three, Asia and Eastern Europe; Unit Four, The American Revolution; Unit Five, The Age of Napoleon; Unit Six, Rebellion and Repression. This gives you an idea of the historical events happening in both America and the world. Church history is also woven into these units. The church history sections flow very well with whatever world events are being studied at the time. Also woven into these units is geography. The geography sections are taught naturally as they are encountered through the lessons. At the beginning of each unit is a thorough book list, broken down by age levels, and memory work suggestions for the students to work on.

Writing assignments are also included in the Family Guide for all ages of students. These are excellent ways to get your students writing about history. The assignments are not overly long, and really you could choose from any grade level if you thought that an older or younger assignment would be good for your student. I don’t think these writing assignments are meant to be a replacement to a language arts curriculum. Instead, I think they are meant to enhance the history learning that is happening. A writing assignment example from week four for the Grammar age is as follows: “Describe a day in your life as an Iroquois child, including what you ate, what you did, what your parents did, where you slept, and so on.”

I could absolutely use this resource to schedule history lessons for my entire family, but I am choosing to use this only for my son, who is age twelve, at this point. I think it will be really good for him as my main goal for him during this year is to gain independence in his education. I am marking up the guide with assignments that I want him to complete. This way he can grab the guide and the necessary components and get right to work. Of course, I check in on him and definitely follow up with what he is learning by checking his work and discussing some of the reading assignments. I am able to still stay connected to what he is learning in this way. I also do like to read aloud to all my kids. Read-aloud titles usually come from our history studies, and there are some really fascinating ones scheduled in this particular guide. 

Remember the Days, Book Three: Early Modern Days

Remember the Days is a hard-cover textbook-style spine for the time period and is appropriate for kindergarten through sixth graders. This would be appropriate for students outside the age range as well. You could opt to have older or younger students read this book, or you could choose to read it out loud to everyone. This book is the main reason why I chose to review this level with my son. He doesn’t love to read, so this book gives him the information he needs in a delightful and story-based way without overwhelming him. 

The pages are glossy and printed in full color, which helps capture the student’s attention. I feel good about sending my son off to read this on his own and then discussing it later, but really he likes to have me read it to him. He is an auditory learner, so he would rather listen to a book be read to him, than to read it on his own. 

The reading assignments in this book rotate between U.S. History, World History, Church History, and Geography. Each of these major themes is shown by a specific badge. The book is separated into chapters (one chapter per lesson). Each chapter is segmented into smaller reading assignments and scheduled in the Family Guide. This title is available as a hardback book, an e-book, and an audio book. We were blessed to be able to use the hardback copy of the book, and that is the version that I highly recommend. 

Cool History for Middles, Grades 2-6

The Cool History pages are a review type of activity for the student to complete each week. These are similar to notebook pages for each chapter of study. Each weekly assignment includes selections which rotate through each of the following components: questions from the readings, giants/missionaries/presidents/states, and bonus questions/activities. The bonus question or activity does require the student to do some research outside of the text. I received this e-book as a download. I was able to print all of the pages ahead of time, which allows us to get right to work without having to pause and find the file in order to print the correct page. The questions in this level are short answer or fill-in-the-blank-type answers. These could be done orally or together depending on the age of the child. Since I am wanting to teach my son independence and the amount of writing is so minimal, I just have my son go ahead and do this on his own. 

Hands-On Maps for Middles, Grades K-8

Hands-On Maps for Middles is another e-book/PDF download that I was able to print ahead of time. It’s not a lot to print, about one map per week. Since this resource is the same for quite a large age range, instructions are given in the front of the book for how to adjust it for the different age groups. You can expect that if you have a younger student, they would need more guidance than an older child. A good reader should be able to understand the instructions and complete the map and the review pages mostly independently. The Hands-On Maps activities guide the students step by step through map work that is related to the readings for the week. Many of these maps need to be printed in color, but there is usually only one map per week, so it isn’t a lot of color printing.

BiblioPlan Timeline

As with most history curriculum, you will want to keep a timeline. Surprisingly, I haven’t spent much time making an official timeline with my son. We have enjoyed the Timeline e-book that was included in the Early Modern bundle for Middles. I printed the timeline pages on card stock so they would be

sturdier. Then I printed the timeline figures on regular paper. Each timeline page has a marking for where each figure should be placed. I have been frustrated by timelines in the past because there would not be enough room for figures. That is not the case with this timeline. Every figure has its own place, which makes it really easy to accomplish getting it done. Another aspect I like about this timeline is that the student can see what was happening in America and the rest of the world side by side. Each two-page spread has the same time period, but one of the pages is for America and the second page is for Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. 

BiblioPlan Craft Book for Early Modern History

Hands-on activities are fun for many kids of all ages. The included Craft Book offers plenty of interesting suggestions. This is an area that you could get hung up on trying to do everything. This resource is meant for you to pick and choose from. Have your students read through and choose a couple that appeal to them. Most of the suggestions are pretty simple and use materials that you can find easily. It is a very nice resource to have so that you don’t waste your precious time searching to find a project to match the time period you are studying. This resource is divided into different regions or people groups. In total, there are 161 hands-on suggestions for crafts, activities, and recipes. My son doesn’t particularly enjoy these kinds of things, but I’m sure we will be able to enjoy a few of them throughout the year. Of course, if you have a child that learns best in this way, then there will be plenty of options for you to try!

We have really enjoyed learning history and reading great literature in this way. I love that it is able to be customized easily so that if I wanted to use it with my entire family, I could. I also love how flexible this curriculum is. I can pick and choose which resources my son is interested in. I thought I would be tempted to try and do everything that is suggested, but that actually isn’t the case. I feel great about using only the resources that fit with my son’s learning style and interests.

The BiblioPlan website gives a very generous three-week sample of each of these mentioned resources. All the introductory book lists and suggestions are also included in the sample. The Early Modern Bundle for Middles costs $118.47 for a digital package, $166.92 for a hardcopy package, or $134.62 for a blended package of the titles discussed in this review. I love that this company includes options for every family.

-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2017