Posted in Homeschool

History Odyssey vs. BookShark

Most of my homeschool curriculum revolves around a four-year system. So in science for example, the order is biology, earth science, chemistry, and then physics. In history it goes ancients, middle ages, early modern, and modern history. But I also have to complete a year of national history. My writing and literature studies naturally correlate to this four-year cycle.

So far in history I’ve used three different systems. For two years I studied with History Odyssey curriculum and for another year I worked with Bookshark: Reading with History. Currently I use a program that my mom and I put together ourselves that draws on features that I found most appealing from both of these curricula.

History Odyssey

I liked History Odyssey  a lot. I think it is well put together and extensive. I appreciate how it gave me outlining practice and provided loads of writing opportunities. Plus the mapping assignments, which I really enjoyed, helped my geography knowledge immensely.

The study guides are well laid out with in a checklist format that is addressed to the student. I had fun reading most of the literature selections and the spine, The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, is one that I continue reading today.  Their timeline though wasn’t my number one pick because of the cramped layout.

After two years of using History Odyssey I felt like it had become redundant so I tried something new. But it is still a great curriculum and I recommend it if you’re just beginning homeschooling or want something that is already fully prepared.

BookShark: Reading with History

I loved almost everything about BookShark: Reading with History. First of all after doing a curriculum that required lots of writing, it was a nice change to do what I love most: Read many, many books!

This course mainly revolves around different types of reading books, discussion questions, and mapping activities. I liked that there were books for me to read myself and ones I had to read aloud with my mom. The reading picks are amazing and I would’ve read them on my own accord. The mapping activities are completed on a large wet erase wall map and the timeline dates are recorded in a neat timeline book.

I had a lot of fun reading the books and doing the map activities. BookShark: Reading with History is a superb curriculum and you can tell a lot of research went into preparing it.

Which History?

Both programs are well made, have good formats, and utilize exceptional books. But they differ greatly too.

  • History Odyssey is more student oriented, while BookShark: Reading with History requires the presence of the instructor.
  • History Odyssey goes lesson by lesson and is divided by subject matter and BookShark: Reading with History has weekly guides.
  • It’s true that both have mapping activities, but History Odyssey’s is more in depth. BookShark: Reading with History’s is just labeling work.

What course you choose all boils down to what you want to focus on and how comprehensive you wish your curriculum to be, not to mention the level of parent involvement.


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