Homeschool.com’s Product Reviews

Pre-K – Adult
Many products to choose from, with varying prices

 

A Superb Classical Education
Student Directed – Mentor, Teacher, or Parent Guided
Teaching Students How to Think, Not Just What to Think!

A complete, integrated, research-based curriculum for Middle School through High School
(excludes math and lab sciences)

READING THROUGH THE AGES (also reviewed below) is a great resource for ALL AGES – Pre-K through adult

 

Regarding TRISMS, it is:

  • Research-based – Rather than requiring the purchase of certain books with questionnaire answers, TRISMS teaches your student to find answers on his/her own with whatever resources your student can find. This is very cool. And with the Internet, there is no shortage of resources!
  • Coursebook-free – TRISMS students create their own textbooks/coursebooks.  These books allow students to add creativity to their research, dig deeper, and develop more organization skills. This also allows students to “own” their education, to become more invested—another plus!
  • Student Directed – The lesson/unit plans are laid out for your student.  Your student learns to take responsibility for his/her assignments, learn time management and organization skills. This is a very important life-skill.
  • Thought-provoking –TRISMS does not teach a particular worldview, but rather guides students through research to enhance or develop their own worldview with the assistance of their parents/teachers/mentors, etc. I really like this!
  • Open to religious studies– TRISMS believes that teaching faith to your children is the responsibility of the parent, rather than the TRISMS curriculum (I appreciate this!). The curriculum is designed to help students, through their research, understand how religion plays a role in the development and life of every civilization and asks questions that lead students in understanding their own worldview. Parents are then free to discuss ideas/values and more, with their students.
  • More than Western Civilization – While most history-based curriculums focus on Western Civilization, TRISMS teaches a broader perspective, and does so from 3,500 B.C to the present.
  • Humanities heavy – Students learn a lot about art, music, and architecture and how they influenced and continue to influence society today. Again—I like this—gives kids a rich viewpoint—and one they’ll use throughout their lives.
  • IEW (The Institute for Excellence in Writing) heavy
  • Easily adaptable for all ages of students, but designed for middle through high school

 

The TRISMS Series includes the following:

History’s Masterminds
3500 B.C. – Present
5th-8th grade, Middle School
A sample lesson walk through can be seen
here.

Discovering the Ancient World
3500 B.C. – 500 B.C
8th – High School
Discovering the Ancient World begins with Creation (the beginning of recorded history) and covers the earliest civilizations known up to 500 B.C., both Eastern and Western. A sample week can be seen
here.

Expansion of Civilization
500 B.C. through the Middle Ages
High School
Expansion of Civilization–Eastern and Western civilizations are studied chronologically and geographically. The topics of human rights, religion, philosophy, government and laws, economics, and scientific advancements are covered. A sample lesson plan can be seen
here. Rise of Nations
Renaissance – 1860
High School
Rise of Nations focuses on the study of the Renaissance to 1860. Specific artist, musicians, and pieces of architecture are studied in the context of the nation from which the greatest artists and musicians of all time originated. A sample lesson plan can be seen
here.

Age of Revolution
1850 A.D. — 2005
High School
Age of Revolution emphasizes U.S. and World History and includes the study of American, British, Asian, European, and African literature, music, art, and architecture. A sample week can be seen
here. I reviewed the Mastermind series–the TRISMS History Masterminds curriculum is very thorough, complete with a student book, a student pack, and a teacher’s key. The lesson plans include daily assignments in science, language and IEW, and the provided timelines play an integral role in each lesson. As an example, Lesson 19 covers the time frame of 1830-1850 and includes—

  • Timeline information and other areas of interest (Queen Victoria’s reign, the California Gold Rush, the potato famine in Ireland, the American Civil War and more)
  • Historical fiction, biography, and other research book options—students are to read one per lesson
  • Language Arts assignments (such as key word outlines on three topics, a mini book report, etc.)
  • Scientist, inventor and explorer info (see below)

 

The World History Survey Student Pack contains research questionnaires, worksheets, maps and more.

I especially like the Inventions Questionnaire—as it makes you think—makes you want to learn more. The questionnaire includes the following questions —

 

  • What invention?
  • When?
  • Who is the inventor?
  • What was his/her motivation?
  • How did this invention change life as it was then?
  • What have been the ethical consequences, in any?
  • Diagram or draw the invention.

 

The questionnaires for explorers and scientists are equally thought-provoking. They excite me—I want to answer them! Sprinkle in vocabulary (such as alchemist, circumnavigate, fission, etc.), with info about the Dewey Decimal System, maps, and more—and you have a WONDERFUL, eclectic, interesting curriculum.

The Teacher’s Key gives info on how to use the lesson plans, make a timeline, build coursebooks, and tie everything together. Worksheets, quizzes and tests are also included.

A treasure trove of information!

I also reviewed Reading Through the Ages, which includes 191 pages and over 1,700 pieces of literature from 4000 BC to the present – it’s an AMAZING chronological compilation of biography and fiction works! 191 pages of information! 191 pages of inspiration! It would take you years to compile this info on your own! I was very impressed—almost bowled over with the compilation!

The reading list includes

 

  • Biography and historical fiction listed chronologically
  • Literature from around the world
  • Each time period lists books by reading level (from picture books to adult level—and even adults like picture books!)
  • Listings give type, reading level, number of pages, a short synopsis of the work (where, when, main characters, etc.), and ISBN number
  • All listings have been read by TRISMS and checked for historical accuracy and for quality of writing. Wow—this is REALLY a plus! How many times have you checked out a book at the library that turned out to be a dud. This list is dud-proof!

 

I’m particularly interested in World War II and I found many books that are of personal interest, books that I wouldn’t have been aware of without this list. Again–a treasure trove of information! This is truly a great resource!

I reviewed one additional study option — the TRISMS Overview of Catholic History. Katie Torrey originally created this guide for use alongside the TRISMS curriculum, but it can be used alongside almost any non-Catholic curriculum–unit study or textbook–to provide a Catholic dimension. It’s a research guide to saints, popes, martyres, religious orders and more, from the crucifixion to 2005 AD.

I have to admit, I didn’t know a lot about Catholic history, so I enjoyed learning more—especially since the Catholic Church has had a huge impact on history as we know it. It would certainly be worth teaching, regardless of individual religious beliefs.

After reviewing these three separate products, I believe TRISMS offers a student-directed, Classical education—and a truly thought-provoking education!