Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The Notgrass Company
The Notgrass Company is the home school ministry and curriculum offered by Ray and Charlene Notgrass and family. I have been reading their articles for years and have appreciated their strong Christian worldview and heart of ministry to the home school community. Their specialty is history and government for middle school and high school, but these courses include Bible and literature as well.
They also offer an economics course and more. Check out their website and materials at the link above and you can request a catalog.
FROM THEIR WEBSITE:
Exploring World History is a one-year high school course that teaches students to understand history from the perspective of faith in God and respect for His Word. In addition to reading the history narrative about events, issues, and people from around the world and across the centuries, students read the words of people who made history in original documents, speeches, poems, and stories. They also read classic literature that helps bring to life the time periods they are studying. A variety of writing assignments and hands-on project ideas help students engage in what they are learning. The updated 2014 edition features hundreds of color illustrations and photographs. In addition to a thorough survey of Western Civilization, it offers expanded coverage of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
One thing that sets this curriculum apart for the high school option is that world history is covered in one year. Many popular curriculum options spend several years/volumes getting through world history. And while I love some of those materials, sometimes there just isn’t enough time left to spend doing that. Since my dd is doing “10th grade” this year, I am very interested in this one year World History course. I started doing the math and realized that if I take another 3 years to finish world history, we won’t get to the other subjects that are important to me.
Another element that caught my attention is that this course is actually 3 courses in 1. It contains a complete book list (which happens to contain many books I already have listed on my must read list) along with literary analysis and writing assignments. I struggle to find worthy writing assignments, and after looking through this book, I appreciated the assignments in this curriculum. A lot. And by having the reading list incorporated into the curriculum, I believe we will have more accountability for completing the reading. I like that too. (Note: They include one title in particular (The Giver) that I would skip and supplement something different.) If you keep track of things like “credits”, this course is worth 3 credits… history, literature and Bible. That’s because the third component to the course is a Bible study.
I also like the fact that I can follow up this world history course with their American history course (also covered in one year… and also has an excellent book list and literary analysis and Bible component), followed finally by government and economics which are one semester courses.
Finally, something that I really appreciate about this course, is that it was just updated in 2014, so it addresses world and American history up through our current administration. So much has happened in the last 6 years, both at home and abroad, that I like the fact that current events will be addressed in our curriculum from a Christian worldview.
The one pause is that it’s a bit pricey at first glance - $99.00. But when you see that it is two beautiful volumes, as well as a few other supplemental books of original writings, student book and answer keys, includes built in literature guides, and the content is so full that it is really 3 subjects in 1, the cost is quite justifiable.
So to summarize, I have been very pleased with our decision to use this course this year because it covers world history in one year, it is actually more than one course, it incorporates a book list that I like, it has writing assignments and literature guides that I think are worthy, it contains a lot of Bible and Christian worldview, and it is up to date politically and historically. Cathy Duffy offers her review here .
Quick mention... they also offer resources for middle school that look great as well.