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How to Use the SCM History Modules

Planning season is upon us, and many people are using our free SCM Curriculum Guide to help make those decisions easier. We’ve been getting some questions on how our History, Bible, and Geography modules work, so let’s take a moment to walk through that flexible part of our curriculum guide.

I’m a firm believer in combining the children for as many subjects as possible, so the History, Bible, and Geography modules are set up that way.

The six modules cover six time periods through history.

  1. Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt
  2. Joshua through Malachi & Ancient Greece
  3. Matthew through Acts & Ancient Rome
  4. Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, & Epistles
  5. Early Modern Times & Epistles
  6. Modern Times & Epistles, Revelation

It is best to cover history in chronological order, but you can start with any module you want to. Which module you start with might depend on what history time periods your children have already studied. For example, if they have already studied the Ancients, you may want to start with Module 4.

Moving Through the Modules

Each module is designed to provide one year of study. We suggest which books to read altogether as a family and which books to assign to your older children as independent reading. Of course, you may choose to read those additional books along with your children. Use the suggestions in a way that works best for your family.

Once you complete Module 6, you can start over again at Module 1. As your children progress through the modules, they will also progress through the graded book suggestions. So if your child is reading the books suggested for grades 1–3 during his first time through Module 1, when you finish all six modules and start over, that child will be six years older and reading the books suggested for grades 7–9 on his second time through Module 1.

If you have younger children, once they are school age they can join in on whatever module you are studying. Most likely they have been listening all along anyway. And if you keep a Book of Centuries, they won’t get confused when you swing back around and start over at Module 1. (Here’s more information on a Book of Centuries and how you can download a free one.)

Use Our Suggestions or Daily Plans

The book suggestions are listed on our free SCM Curriculum Guide so you can put together your own plan for the year. If you prefer a ready-made plan, handbooks are available with daily lesson plans for Module 1, Module 2, Module 3, and Module 4. The lesson plans show how to combine the books, when to start each one throughout the year, how much to read each day, narration ideas, map drill ideas, additional assignments for the older children, end-of-term exam questions, and optional hands-on project ideas.

In fact, the hands-on project ideas are listed on our site with links to see samples and get detailed instructions. Feel free to use them even if you aren’t using the handbooks of daily lesson plans. Just click on that handy “Links, Updates & Tips” link at the top of each handbook’s page on our site. Here are quick links to

We hope the History, Geography, Bible modules are helpful to you as you walk with your children through living history.

Quick Points about Our History, Geography, Bible Modules

If you’re curious why we use a six-year rotation for history, here are some quick points about the thinking behind the modules.

  • The emphasis is on Bible history for the first three modules. So we take three years to go through the Ancients, fitting them where they correspond with Bible history.
  • At the end of Acts, we run out of Bible history; so the focus changes to world history but we continue to read through the rest of the Bible during the final three modules.
  • We study American history as it fits chronologically, in the Early Modern Times and Modern Times modules. We realize that Charlotte Mason studied English history along with world history from the beginning; however, English history dates back to ancient times; American history does not.
  • We try to focus on each of the six main continents as we work through the modules in Geography, with some kind of tie-in to the History events. For example, while we’re studying Ancient Egypt, we focus on Africa for map drill since Egypt is in Africa.
  • Currently, handbooks with daily lesson plans are available for Modules 1–4. The Early Modern Times and Modern Times handbooks are planned for publication in spring 2011 and 2012.

New Series Next Week

Next week we will begin a new series: Getting Started. If you are considering homeschooling, or if you have a friend who is wanting to homeschool, this series will give you the tools you need to get started with confidence. Look for the first part of this new series next time.

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7 Responses to “How to Use the SCM History Modules”

  1. Marcia March 24, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    “…English history dates back to ancient times; American history does not.” I feel this is not completely accurate. Technically, “American” history does have a definite beginning, but what about North American Native history? I am Native American and am seeking resources to include this part of history in my school. Do you have any ideas, tips, etc.? That would be greatly appreciated.

    • Sonya Shafer March 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

      The best overview book about Native Americans that I’ve seen is unfortunately out of print. It was written by Holling C. Holling for younger children (though still interesting to all ages) and is simply called The Book of Indians. I’m hoping Beautiful Feet will republish it, since they have brought many of his other titles back into print.

      Two others worth noting, for older children, are Russell Freedman’s biography on Crazy Horse, The Life and Death of Crazy Horse, and Albert Marrin’s book Sitting Bull and His World.

      • Sarah L October 1, 2011 at 1:54 am #

        There are multiple copies of the HCH book available on amazon.com for very reasonable prices. Thanks for the heads-up. I’m going to pick up a copy for our library.

  2. jrs5kids April 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    I have found the holling c Holling book of Indians at our library so you may want to check there.

  3. Janessa August 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    I know every family uses things a bit different, but could you give me an aproximate idea of how much time would be needed each day? I’m suddenly looking at adding my niece to the mix (bringing us to 4 under 9 and one on the way) and trying to figure out where and how to schedule things is tricky when you haven’t used something yet! The roughest of estimates is fine. Thanks, I’m really looking forward to doing this this year!

    • Sonya Shafer August 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      The Family reading assignments should take no longer than 20 or 25 minutes. The individual grade level assignments will vary, depending on the level. My guess would be anywhere from 15 minutes for younger students to 30 minutes for high school students. Feel free to break up the two reading times by doing some other subject in the middle. You might do the Family reading one time during the day, then schedule the Individual readings for later in the day.

      • Janessa August 2, 2013 at 12:09 am #

        Thank you so much for the quick reply! It will help a lot in trying to figure this all out.

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