The History Rotation
Charlotte Mason 's Rotation
4-National/English History +French History (SC)
5-National/English History +French History (SC)
6-National/English History +French or World History (SC)
7-National/English History +French or World History (SC)
8-National/English History +French or World History (SC)
A Mind in the Light's Rotation
1-World History I
2-World History II
3-World History III
4-16th-18th Century History, emphasis American
5-19th Century History, emphasis American
6-20th Century History
8-World History-Renaissance and Reformation
9-World History-Early Modern
Here is a printable history rotation chart arranged side-by-side for easier viewing: The History Rotation (PDF)
Why is the history rotation set up the way it is?
How does this arrangement benefit my student?
Having spent many, many hours arranging and then rearranging the scope and sequence of this curriculum, I have arrived at a history rotation that meets the overwhelming majority of my goals. Being considerate of Charlotte Mason's approach to a history rotation, incorporating specific history books that I wished to include and balancing topics and general divisions of history were just some of the goals that I wanted to meet as I wrote the scope and, even more specifically, the sequence.
Charlotte Mason was able to give more attention to National/English history because England was a central part of Western Civilization for a more significant time period than America. I did not feel that it was necessary to cover American history every year. National/American history is given its due attention within the perspective of the history of the world in Year 3. Years 4-6 have American history as the main focus without losing the overall world perspective. It is covered again with more advanced depth in Year 10, but is included in Years 9 and 11.
Like Charlotte Mason, I liked the idea of covering smaller, more in-depth sections of ancient history by adding it in Year 5 as a separate subject and including it every year thereafter. This allows such important literature works such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Divine Comedy and the Greek Tragedies to be better spread out over a number of years rather than all studied in large sections crammed into their corresponding history periods. I also felt that keeping several chains of history going at once allows for a greater variety in literature choices each year as well as keeping the student's interest high. Covering different eras in history gives the student more opportunities to make connections about history on their own. For example, while studying the creation of the American government, ideas about government during the Roman time period are not ideas that were studied two years ago, but are ideas that are fresh because they were studied just the year previous. The connections between the Roman style of government and the American style of government can be made more readily.
I find the books by Dorothy Mills to be the perfect style of book for studying history. Her books are written in a narrative style that is engaging yet detailed. Her incorporation of primary sources makes them the ideal books for integrating and teaching with primary sources. The target ages for her series of books range between Year 5-Year 10. This is why the history rotation in A Mind in the Light focuses on world history during many of these years.
Isn't this more complicated than a simple four-four-four history rotation or a six-six or even a six-three-three?
Honestly, this is all really a matter of priorities and perspectives. Is the layout of this curriculum more complicated? Perhaps. It really would be simpler if I just set this up to follow the typical four-four-four rotation. But, has that rotation been idealized a bit? Perhaps. It certainly does have its advantages. If those advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then this curriculum may not suit everyone. That's okay. I didn't design this curriculum with the idea that everyone would love it. I designed it because I truly believe that the ideas and motivations behind its arrangement will contribute to educating a child to not only know, but to think, feel, awaken, connect, admire, imitate and create.
I've emphasized from the very beginning, and will continue to emphasize, that flexibility is a key part of this curriculum. Move things around if doing that makes the curriculum work better for you. Eventually, I will have a great booklist, with flexible schedules (sold individually or as one whole year) and lesson plans for all of it. You can add or subtract, condense or expand as needed. I recognize that families with more than one child have a great need to combine their children in as many areas as possible. I do intend to create schedules and lesson plans to better allow for this. Already, the guides for the books by Dorothy Mills are being written with two levels in mind. You can then easily use the same book and guide with multiple students as long as they fall within the target year range.
I have the scope and sequence set up to offer the best education that I know how to create. And it is one that I will continue to modify and update as I learn more. Anyone is welcome to adapt that base plan as needed. I would, however, be mindful not to stray too far from the main ideas and goals of the curriculum. Otherwise, too many dramatic alterations will ultimately change for what the curriculum was intended.
What is the best history rotation? Is there such thing as the best history rotation? Should we revolve a child's entire education around our history rotation?
I don't think that there is such a thing as the best history rotation. Families are made up of individuals, so not every individual is going to find the emphasis over which history time period to study as important as the next. In fact, I think that children aren't going to really care at all about this. If they love history, or, in some cases, tolerate history, then they will simply want to learn as much as they can, but in a way that is meaningful to them.
A child's entire education should not be revolved entirely around the history time period being studied. There was an entire epic thread about this very idea on the Well-Trained Mind Forum. Too many curricula available today set up a history rotation and choose books to read to coordinate with that time period. Often the book choices are chosen more because they are of that time period then because they are a good literary choice or because they are at the right time for the child developmentally to read it. This problem can be avoided if the curriculum created has larger, more fundamental goals such as building a reader, a writer and a thinker at the forefront of the book choices and history sequences over a rigid history rotation sequence.