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How and Why I Used Bob Jones University High School History Curriculum

Our daughter needed a curriculum that would give her the confidence that she was learning what she was “supposed to know”, while at the same time, was easy to organize and complete relatively independently, during our busy homeschool lives. With many great options, we ended up choosing Bob Jones American History and World History, 3rd Edition, for two of our high school credits. I had purchased the activity book that goes with the curriculum but we didn’t like it at all, so we dropped it!

Even if our oldest had the ability to complete this curriculum independently, a lot of times we read the textbooks together. Sometimes we read together because it worked well for us, and other times probably because it helped us stay on schedule. When we got to a part that touched my heart…as I read my throat would tighten and tears would well up in my eyes. “Are you crying again?” my daughter would tease me and we would laugh and keep on learning about history. We really enjoyed how BJU history textbooks narrate the history we were learning.

Every so often, BJU includes a commentary section and at times I didn’t agree with it at all. Of course I had to share out loud why I disagreed! It was important and useful to realize that we aren’t going to agree with everything from a particular source and the source still can keep its credibility and good reputation.

In order to make sure we would finish reading each textbook in one school year and to give my daughter the responsibility to stay on track, I created a schedule and taped it to the back cover of the books. The schedule included page numbers and the dates by when the work needed to be completed plus an empty box next to each date where my daughter could check the pages that had been completed. Once in a while, it became evident that we were “falling behind”, not in knowledge but with the schedule... In reality it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we didn’t finish the last chapter of the book, but to give my daughter the confidence that she indeed was “learning everything she needed to know” we would add a couple of pages to each day until we had caught up with the schedule. To know that she was “keeping up” with regular school kids was important to her, so we made it an important part of her home school.

What about grades? It's been a while... I think one year I used the tests that come with the BJU curriculum and another year I used parts of the review sections in the back of each chapter as questions for tests. Essays and research papers can also be used to assign grades.

Is there a benefit to reading textbooks with your high school age students? In the next newsletter I’ll tell you a surprising way God used our reading together when she was away at College.

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