Friday, October 23, 2009

Mystery of History 2


Mystery of History, published by Bright Ideas Press, is a classical history program written with a Christian worldview. Linda Hobar, the author, has developed the material and activities to meet each stage of the classical trivium while recognizing the needs of various learning styles. Each lesson is broken down by level. The grammar stage (or early elementary) is primarily about absorbing information. This is done through the lesson activities, creation of Memory Cards, and review activities.  The logic stage (or middle school) is about questioning the information learned. A logic student should also be learning to summarize and outline material. The Memory Cards and other lesson activities accomplish this. The rhetoric stage (or high school) is about analyzing information and defending the student's position on that information. This is the stage where the student masters the art of expressing thoughts. The older student activities in Mystery of History include research and writing assignments to help the student practice his expository skills. Mystery of History is written such that you can repeat the series during each stage, building a strong foundation in your students.

In addition to the activities in the 84 lessons, the students keep a timeline, do mapwork, and are kept accountable on the retention of the material through exercises and cumulative tests.


1)Quarterly Topic Overviews: Around the World

2)Weekly Pretest (3 lessons per week)

4)Lesson Activities by skill level

5)Weekly Memory cards
6)Timeline work

8)Biweekly Cumulative Exercises /
9)Biweekly Cumulative Quizzes

10)Quarterly Putting It All Together Worksheets

11)Semester Tests

12)Additional Appendix Activities

So as you can see, the student has at least 12 interactions with a topic throughout the year. This allows the material to become meaningful to the student and not just a fact to remember for a test and then forget. I know for my 7th and 9th graders, the activities assigned are mostly writing and research-based which helps with the retention of a topic even more.


  • Supplemental activities
  • Supplemental books and resources by topic
  • Additional resources by lesson and skill level
  • Materials list by lesson
  • Bibliography
  • Answer key

Map outlines are also provided. 


The lessons themselves are short, leaving time for further research and writing assignments. I am enjoying having skill-appropriate assignments already scheduled. The weekly review activities, including Memory Cards, timelines and mapwork, provide a great opportunity to recap the week's material.

I feel that the activities in MoH are great for middle school as is. For high school I assign additional history and literature reading to complement our studies. I also require more in depth writing assignments from my 9th grader. For example, both girls may research the same topic. However, my 7th grader may be required to write a paragraph or two about her findings while my 9th grader may be required to write an in depth report or possibly a comparison or persuasive essay.

My booklist for this time period was already picked prior to starting MoH, but Linda includes many book suggestions broken down by lesson number and skill level in the appendix. She also includes a book list by topic.

Mystery of History is a program that can be used as a good overview of history, or you can make it a heavier course by including more of the scheduled activities and adjusting the requirements to fit your student's needs.


Printed Book $49.95
Audio Set $48.95
Reproducibles CD $19.95
Craft Pak CD-ROM $19.95

Other programs available from Bright Ideas Press include All American History, Christian Kids Explore Science, A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers (which I am also reviewing), and their new product Illuminations.

Please visit the TOS Blog to read reviews of other Bright Ideas Press products.

Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

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