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Why Teach a Four-Year History Cycle

A four-year history cycle is really as simple as its name. Using this teaching system, teachers and students study all of world history over the course of four years. When using Well Planned Lessons, parents can choose where to start by simply selecting the preferred history cycle, then choosing the needed grade level(s).

Advantages of the History Cycle

Instead of focusing on a specific country or region, teaching through history cycles gives students a broader view of the connectivity of world events. Of course, there are also other advantages to teaching through history cycles:

  • Multiple grades can be easily taught at the same time, incorporating more challenging literature and information for older students, but still joining together for read-alouds and general lessons. Older children can even help teach younger children, thus reinforcing what they have learned.
  • You can choose what to teach! Because each history cycle is available for every grade, you have the freedom to plan your curriculum your way. If you’re just getting started, you can easily pick up Ancient History and progress forward chronologically from there. If, however, you’ve been homeschooling for a few years and just finished a year of early American History, you can pick up Modern World & Geography without a problem. Choose what works best for your family.
  • A four-year history cycle fits beautifully into the stages of learning that children process through. Teachers who begin teaching through the cycle when their children begin school can process through the four year cycle three times before their children graduate, progressively altering the teaching style to fit where their students are mentally.
  • Because every grade level is offered for every time period, students can process through the history cycle up to three times before graduation, both reinforcing information learned in an earlier grade and delving more deeply into the time period each time through.

What Each Cycle Covers

To know how to approach teaching through a four-year history cycle, it is helpful to know what is included in each cycle.

The Ancient History cycle covers a wide swath of history, beginning with creation and extending through the Roman Empire. Discover how the Bible connects to extra-biblical world events. Compare timelines between various familiar historical events to see a global view of how different cultures developed simultaneously. Get an up-close view of daily life in ancient civilizations, exploring history through novels, biographies, and brilliant picture books.

The Culture & Ideas cycle looks at world history from an ideological perspective, incorporating world and church history together while also exploring the cultural impact of Renaissance artists and musicians. In this cycle, you and your students will cover historical events stretching from the end of the Roman Empire through the 17th century. Read living books that bring medieval daily existence to life, while also exploring the lives of famous men and women from the Middle Ages, Reformation, and Renaissance.

A New Nation focuses primarily on the exploration of the Americas, the founding of the United States, and the westward expansion that laid the groundwork for the nation we know today. In this particular history cycle, the topical focus is narrowed to cover our heritage as Americans. Even so, timelines and living books prepare students to compare this narrow focus to the broader worldview explored in the Culture & Ideas cycle.

The Modern World & Geography cycle completes the four-year cycle with a focus on the most recent century of world history. In addition to more living history books that draw readers into various periods and cultures, this cycle reinforces an understanding of geography and explores the foundations of cultural differences through social studies lessons.

Where should you start? It’s up to you and your students! Dive in, explore, read, discuss, and be ready to take an adventure through history with any one of the four history cycles!

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

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