From Adam and Missy Andrews, Center for Literature:
"Adam and Missy Andrews have long been searching for effective history curriculum materials with little success. They are happy to report that the search is over! In 2012, they discovered The Classical Historian, a Socratic method for teaching history that shares many of the same principles advocated in Teaching the Classics.
Like Teaching the Classics, the Classical Historian is a method for analysis that students can apply to any historical period. With a goal of teaching students to think historically, the Classical Historian shows teachers how to discuss a series of open-ended discussion questions about specific historical events. In answering these questions, students learn a step-by-step process for evaluating evidence, arranging historical data, developing arguments and writing effective essays.
The Classical Historian supplies reading guides, primary sources, textbooks and research and discussion questions for five specific periods: ancient, medieval, early American, modern world, and modern American history. Parents will find age-appropriate materials for students in grades 3 and up, with complete year-long courses for grades 6-12.
If you are searching for a Teaching the Classics style approach to history, look no further."
Hello! I saw you speak at the homeschool convention in Ohio, the first speech you gave about incorporating games into history study. We are studying ancients this year, so I bought both games for this period and they are a HUGE hit. Thanks so much!!
I was at the Homeschool seminar and loved your presentation. My husband and I have noticed that the subject of history is slowly being distorted in our text books. It seems that the subject of history, which is now labeled “social studies”, is being used as a political tool-in an attempt to influence our children into thinking a certain way. Here's one example, in the Houghton-Mifflin 3rd grade book, “President Roosevelt used price incentives to improve the economy. He allowed the dollar to become worth less, which made it less expensive to pay debts...By making it easier to borrow and pay back money, Roosevelt helped Americans who were in debt.” No mention of inflation. No mention of any downside in the act of devaluing the dollar.
It was a delight to hear someone speak that believed in the truth in history and having children understand both sides of the issues-critical thinking.
Suzzanne, Greenville, South Carolina
Read Ann Hibbard's review of the Ancient History Memory Game from
Home Educating Family Association:
Anything related to history sparks excitement around our household. If something as simple as a good book excites us, you can imagine how much we enjoy a fun history game. Our current delight is the Ancient History Memory Game from The Classical Historian. The Ancient History Memory Game contains thirty-two pairs of matching cards with full color pictures of various people, sites, and symbols from ancient history. The high-quality pictures vary in style from drawings and sketchings to photographs and copies of works of art depicting historical scenes. All of the cards fit into one of four location categories related to ancient history: The Fertile Crescent, Greece, Rome, and the Far East. Four additional pairs of cards list these categories so older players can enjoy an “Ancient History Categories” game of sorting the cards into categories.
We love the Ancient History Memory Game for several reasons:
As a mom and as a professional educator involved in the development of both local and state curricula as well as a developer of criteria for Major and Minor programs at the university level, it is with great pleasure that I recommend John De Gree as a speaker, presenter, and authority on education.
Mr. De Gree is unique as a developer of educational curriculum by virtue of having TESTED his pedagogy in the classroom with diverse groups of students and at home with his own children who are home schooled… While his ideas are “good” ideas, they are more than just good—they are tried, tested, and true. For those who are academically/scientifically inclined, his methodology has been tested in the scientific way and is replicable---with diverse student groups. As any teacher will tell you, curriculums must always be adapted for each class as well as for as the different class members. Mr. De Gree’s program has the flexibility needed to meet each learners modality and preference built into his program already. If you are a mom with multiple children, or even a mom with just one student who turns into different students during the course of one day (I had one of those!) this program’s flexibility and fun factor allows learning to occur through activities and errands. Since the key to learning is having an engaged mind, there are many ways and methods given to make learning unique and fun for all—yes, even mom!
In addition to quality material, a flexible framework, and a skeleton that may dressed in every subject, De Gree’s program allows mothers to learn and create the educational tools found in teacher education programs. Whether viewing the program form a developmental, intellectual, or pedagogical view, this program allows for the growth of the individual as a thinking, rational citizen responsible for him or herself.
Having examined the program in light of my experience, education, and personal research into what works in developing responsible, ethical, and well-informed students, I recommend it to all who are committed to growing students who will become life long learners.
Perhaps most importantly of all, it works. When you get down to it, all the educational buzz words, psychological tips and hints are meaningless if it does not work for the teacher/mom or for the student. Learning is in interactive, coactice experience. I have tried it with my home schoolers and I can say with no hesitation, it works. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Dear Mr. De Gree,
Grace had an excellent time using your program. It was a terrific way to have her delve deep into history. I very much appreciated that she learned the skills of the Socratic discussion while learning about history. Also, Grace has learned how early civilizations can have a great impact on other civilizations. I'm glad that she is strengthening her knowledge of how the various events of history affect each other. Your prompts for every essay brought my daughter to think critically. On top of all this, your videos were a great aid. Thank you very much.
Los Angeles, California
Grace and I have watched DVD 2 and worked on lessons 1-6 so far. We love your program! I really enjoyed reading and listening on DVD about your past experiences. What a journey! And you are so blessed with your beautiful family. What is so special about your DVD is that we can see how you interact with your students ( I assume they are your beautiful daughters). My girls can relate to them and I'm also learning how I should respond to their answers. You are an amazing teacher! (That's a fact) ;-) I will update how we are doing with our study from time to time. Thank you!
Mrs. Ayako, Distance Learning Parent
Los Angeles, California
Andrew Seeley, Ph.D., Tutor at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Ojai, California
I have reviewed the DVDs you sent me. Overall, I think they should be a great help for homeschoolers and classroom teachers who wish to use your books in a discussion format. The Tools of the Historian is particularly helpful for understanding the importance of giving and critiquing evidence offered for historical interpretations, using primary and secondary sources, preparing for curricular discussions and writing research papers. Your own extensive classroom experience is evident in the concrete directions you offer that will help students and teachers.
My only criticism concerns your treatment of fact and opinion. You identify opinions as claims about which disagreement arises. This is clearer than what is usually found in elementary texts. But then a question arises about such claims as the heliocentric theory. When Copernicus and Galileo proposed this, there was much disagreement, but nowadays everyone thinks the earth moves around the sun. Has the heliocentric theory become fact when before it was opinion? Perhaps it is better to say that opinions have to be argued for, whereas facts don’t. I think it also important to distinguish opinions having to do with good and bad which are based merely on taste (Rocky Road is the best ice cream) from those which can be argued for (lying to your friend is bad).
The DVDs that model discussions in Ancient and Medieval History should also be valuable for teachers and students. In general, these DVDs show good student preparation for answering questions with supporting reasons; the written work has prepared them to articulate their ideas rather than just read their notes. I like the way in which you encourage them and ask follow-up informational questions to draw out more of their ideas. You also bring disagreements to their attention, and ask them to defend their ideas or change their minds. This is crucial to building the habit of listening to what others hold and why, along with instilling an expectation that we might be persuaded by reasons to change our minds.
Two improvements came to mind. 1) Rather than letting each student finish their presentation completely before engaging each other, you could ask whether the other students have anything to add to what another student has presented, or whether they have any questions for the student who presented. That would encourage them to pay closer attention to each other and foster conversation earlier. 2) You as the teacher should feel free to make your own “presentation” after the students have, in which you offer your own opinions with supporting facts. Some people think that teachers in Socratic classes should never express their own views. Especially with younger students, I think it is good for students to hear what teachers think about the questions they have studied, as long as it is clear that you have to give supporting evidence just like they do, and that they can criticize your reasons just as they would another student.
Overall, the DVDs should be very helpful to teachers and students. As I was reviewing them, my own children were engaged by the discussions, and began agreeing or disagreeing with what your students were saying. For homeschool students, in particular, the DVDs present a great opportunity for hearing how other students have thought about the questions they have worked on themselves.
"This is the perfect adjunct for those wishing to use either a classical or a "real books" approach to history."
I have been searching and searching for a government curriculum for my rising 9th grader and was thrilled to find a review of American Democracy and Economics at Cathy Duffy's website. I have used Critical Thinking in US History in the past and wanted to find a similar approach. So happy to find your work!!
Like us on Facebook!
"I absolutely LOVE the critical thinking aspects of the curriculum. Implementing critical thinking into the reading and discussion of history is a powerful tool to help our children understand what they are reading as well as form an opinion and knowledge that they will be able to use in many situations in life." Dina, California