Pandia Press: All You Want to Know About This High School Homeschool History Curriculum
Thank you for joining me today for this homeschool history curriculum review! I really appreciate you spending your time here.
Once your children are too old for Story of the World, it can be hard to find what’s next. I found it in Pandia Press’s history curriculum.
Pandia Press offers many different history curricula, all different time periods and levels. This review is specifically going to be about their History Odyssey, Modern Times, Level 2. This is in the age range of 7th-9th grade with the target being 8th grade.
I put my kids in this immediately after SOTW, usually around 7th grade. They have always done fine with it. I did have one child do it in 10th grade and I had my 6th grader start on it a few months ago, so the age range really is large, depending on the child.
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How this homeschool history curriculum is laid out
HOw the website is organized
Let’s talk about the website first. It can be a little confusing, so let me lay that out and then we’ll move on to the specific curriculum.
When you first land on their site, you’ll see their offerings along the top in their menu section. They have a science program and two history programs.
History Quest is for elementary age children and they offer Ancient time period and the Middle Ages only. ( I am not familiar with this program at all.)
The History Odyssey is their junior high/high school program and they offer all time periods, Ancient through Modern Times.
Within the History Odyssey section they offer three levels: Level 1, 2, and 3.
It looks like in Level 1 they are combining their Quest and Odyssey programs for younger children. Level 2 is grades 6-10 and Level 3 is grades 9-12.
Within each level are all the curricula, Ancient through Modern times.
So you just pick which age group you want, which time period you want and you’re all set!
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m going to talk about the History Odyssey, Modern Times, Level 2.
HOw the curriculum is organized
Now, let’s jump into the actual curriculum!
When you first open the book, you’ll see a table of contents and required resources list. There is also a supply list.
The resource list is the books you’ll need to complete this curriculum. They are mostly literature books. Go to this post and you’ll find my list of how you can get some of these for free.
Pandia Press uses the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia as it’s spine or textbook. I highly recommend getting this. You will not be able to do the curriculum without it.
If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a very engaging encyclopedia of sorts. It has bright pictures, not walls of text and all of my kids have been happy with this book.
They put a lot of information in a small amount of space, making it accessible to kids who may not like to read, but also it helps them from getting overwhelmed. Usually they only look at 2 pages or so, which is also nice.
There are 99 lessons in the curriculum, perfect for getting it done in a school year. A school year is typically 180 days, so you could do history only a few times each week and still finish this easily.
Or you could do it daily, get done early and finish with something else.
If you do year round school like we do, you could just pick up where you left off after your breaks and it won’t be a burden to keep up.
I also like having smaller number of lessons, as it allows for life to happen. Often, life gets in the way of homeschool, whether it’s a new baby, a death in the family, a financial crisis or other life event.
These times cause us to put the books away and focus on family, rightly so. However, the stress of getting “behind” can causes panic, too. But with this homeschool history curriculum, you could take off 81 days of school and not be behind in history! I think that’s wonderful!
Other than the literature books and the spine, everything else is included.
The front section of the book has the lessons, there is a middle section with primary resources and other extra readings, such as poems, paintings and speeches.
The next section is all of the maps you will need for the map work and the final section has the worksheets you will need. These include charts, graphic organizers, and such.
I opted for the print at home version, so I just use my tab stickers to organize the sections, making it easy to find everything quickly.
The lessons are written to the child.
I like this feature for a homeschool history curriculum, because it holds the children accountable to someone other than me.
It’s the curriculum telling them what to do, setting the expectations and that’s a nice ally to have.
The lessons are short, but jam packed. In almost every lesson, they will look at the Kingfisher Encyclopedia and answer questions or fill out a worksheet based on what they learned.
There are many literature books to read, and the lessons will tell them which chapters to read each day. The lessons also offer links to extra resources, which you can also find updated here.
Every 2 or 3 lessons, there is map work and timeline work. There are also projects, presentations and research papers to write. Yes, this is for grades 6-10! Very rigorous and wonderful, in my opinion!
While the lessons are laid out nicely, it looks different than other teacher guides that use a grid layout. These lessons are written like a checklist, with boxes and everything. Some of us love to check the boxes!
They are very easy to follow and not overwhelming, especially if you’re giving it to your children and having them work independently.
How I plan
With this homeschool history curriculum, it’s not much different than how I do SOTW or other subjects.
By the time my kids are in this curriculum, they tend to be more independent and less reliant on me. I do check in with them and make sure they are learning and getting the work done.
I also modify this a bit and add in other books, such as SOTW. I will also have them skip sections or do activities orally with me instead of writing. It depends on the age of the child and what they excel at or need more practice with.
We also do another research paper writing program, so I don’t usually have them write the research papers.
Usually we’ll do history 2-4 times per week, depending on what season of life we’re in.
By the time they’re older, they are choosing what order they want to do their school in and what times they are starting.
I give my teens a lot of freedom so they can learn the aspects of time management, scheduling, perseverance while still under my roof and the consequences are lighter.
I also don’t like arguing with them or nagging them. If they don’t get enough credits in to graduate, they don’t graduate.
If they sleep until noon and are doing school until 9pm, they won’t do that very often. I had one daughter who was so motivated to finish early, she was getting up at 5am to start school. She did this for an entire school year! She was also working almost full time hours.
Anyway, because of this, I don’t have a strict schedule for my teens the way I do for my littles.
How to track homeschool high school credits
At one time, I remember seeing a section in this homeschool history curriculum explaining how to assign credits to your highschool child using this curriculum.
They will earn more than a history credit. They can also earn literature, writing, language arts, English, and reading credits with this program.
I have looked for this information for the purposes of this article, and I cannot find it anymore. I will keep looking and update here if/when I find it.
In the meantime, I will explain quickly how I would assign credits for this curriculum. If you would like a more detailed explanation of assigning high school credits, please go read my post here.
We track hours at our house and in some cases, I will assign one credit per course finished.
For example, if they complete an entire math course/curriculum for that school year, I might just assign one credit for that year in math. Since math is mostly just math, it’s an easy way to assign the credit.
For curricula that is like Pandia Press, where you have more going on, we track hours.
For example, let’s use Lesson 29 in this curriculum.
Your child would track their history time for items 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. So however long it took them to complete those tasks, maybe 30 minutes total, they would color in half a section on the tracker (since they are 60 minutes sections).
Then for items 2, 5 and 6, they would get writing/English/language arts credit, since it involves writing and summarizing. And yes, I double counted them.
So if it took them 45 minutes to complete those, they would color in ¾ of the section on the tracker.
I am going to include a video of me explaining this, in case you would like to watch that instead. Check back for an update!
It may sound confusing, but it’s pretty simple and an easy, nice way for your kids to watch over time how their efforts are paying off. It also makes them more independent and responsible for their education.
What Pandia Press says about themselves
To be completely honest, there are not many drawbacks to this homeschool history curriculum. It is wonderful and after 15 years or more of using it, I have yet to find major flaws in it.
I have had 3 children go through it and my 4th just started on it. It works with all different learning styles and personalities.
One negative I did notice, is that they are phasing out their Level 3 American History curriculum with nothing to replace it and no dates of when they will have anything new.
They are offering a clearance on this curriculum until supplies are gone. Here is the link for that if you want to check it out.
a few fun extras
Pandia Press offers 3 weeks of try before you buy! You can download and print 3 entire weeks of their curriculum before you buy it! I think that it amazing!
And it’s the entire curriculum, not just parts of it, like some other companies do.
After 3 weeks, you can decide if you want to buy it or not. I love the flexibility this affords us and almost a month of use is a great way to get a feel for this and for your kids to know if they’ll like it, too.
I am going to look into their science curriculum since I loved their history curriculum so much. I will do a review on that later.
That about wraps up this review! Thank you for being here and I hope it was helpful in some way!