Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Our Big History Project

We've decided to try our hand at The Big History Project with my son next year. He'll be completing his tenth grade and whilst we want to cover history, so far we are yet to find any one program that we have absolutely loved and have absolutely wanted to continue to work our way through.

I have begun working on the teacher training (9 hours in length) so that I am well prepared for the complexities of this course. So far I am extremely enthralled and can't wait to get started, but then I'm a history loving kinda gal! I am excited to know that we can make this as involved or as simple as we want to, but yet everything is still there for us, in an organised, well laid out fashion that is used daily by teachers all around the world.

Some of the points that have been raised in the teacher training so far are all of the reasons why I am drawn to using BHP next year and hopefully over the years to come.

Be sure to register for the school component of the program, so far what I can see it contains a great deal more than the the standard registration.

Big History Project utilises challenging texts, it is organised and highly structured and one of the key components of the program is to sharpen the students critical thinking skills. BHP includes claim testing activities which aim to teach students how to analyse claims and has a strong focus on evidence based writing.

The activities are many and varied and include research activities and project based activities. I think this would be a fabulous course to complete as part of a small group co-op, but we are already stretched quite thin with our current co-operative activities so we will be tackling this on our own.

So how is the Big History Project structured? This is a secular program and does begin way back with the big bang. The entire program is broken into what BHP calls thresholds, where each of these represents a moment in time where the universe got more complex. It is made up of 10 units covering 8 thresholds, with the thresholds comprising of:

1/. Big Bang
2/. Stars
3/. Elements
4/. Planets
5/. Life
6/. Collective Learning (humans)
7/. Agriculture
8/. Modern Revolution

All of the materials provided throughout the course are designed to be downloaded, thus allowing for flexibility, especially in cases where there may be none or limited internet access. So essentially I could head to the library, download what we are wanting and head home to use it without needing to access my internet.

Each unit also includes a guide, lesson plans and assessments, so what I am most intrigued by is that we can choose how we do this. We can work through it simply as is or decide on our own structure. That of course, we will not know until we actually delve into the program.

The other reason that I am most drawn to this is the interdisciplinary approach they have taken when creating the curriculum. The students will look at disciplines such as chemistry, biology, archaeology, anthropology, cosmology, economics and of course history. The Big History project will show them how these disciplines are all connected, unlike many other courses of study that are disjointed and the student often misses the point and doesn't see how it all fits together into one big picture.

Let's hope that Big History Project delivers what they set out to achieve.

Given that I have only just recently begun the teacher training I don't really have a solid plan as yet as to how we will tackle this program. My gut feeling is that if we are both engaged we will take longer than the course suggests of up to one year. That way we can add in documentaries, living books and our History Odyssey series we have here.

I hope to share more of how this goes for us throughout the year. But for the first time in a long while we are actually feeling some excitement about history!

Have you utilised the resources over at The Big History Project in your homeschool? Please let me know if you have, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Homeschooling,

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Kym said...

Looks like a fascinating program! One I'm not familiar with, but I'm sure it would be a lot of fun to study.

Sabrina said...

I had never heard of this before. It sounds quite interesting, I love that it incorporates several subjects into the lessons. It doesn't sound quite up my alley but I like to know about various curriculum because people often ask me for suggestions but what I use doesn't work for them for various reasons. This will definitely be something to keep in mind!

Annette said...

It looks interesting. I will need to go look it up more

Ticia said...

I think I might have one of those textbooks sitting on my shelf right now.

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