Monday, May 2, 2016

Homeschool History

atheist homeschool atheist homeschool

I've got a great recommendation for anyone who is an atheist or secular homeschooler: Joy Hakim.

Joy Hakim 

Joy Hakim is an American author/past school teacher who has written a ten-volume history of the United States, A History of US, and Freedom: A History of US (a trade book to accompany a 16-part PBS series), and Reading Science Stories, all published by Oxford University Press. Hakim is also the author of The Story of Science, three volumes co-published by Smithsonian Books and the National Science Teachers Association. (from Wikipedia)

Hakim's A History of US is a rare history book in that it does not take the usual tact of passing off history myth as history. As describes this 11-book series:

Whether it's standing on the podium in Seneca Falls with the Suffragettes or riding on the first subway car beneath New York City in 1907, the books in Joy Hakim's A History of US series weave together exciting stories that bring American history to life. Readers may want to start with War, Terrible War, the tragic and bloody account of the Civil War that has been hailed by critics as magnificent. Or All the People, brought fully up-to-date in this new edition with a thoughtful and engaging examination of our world after September 11th. No matter which book they read, young people will never think of American history as boring again. Joy Hakim's single, clear voice offers continuity and narrative drama as she shares with a young audience her love of and fascination with the people of the past. 
The newest edition of Hakim's celebrated series is now available in an 11-volume set containing revisions and updates to all 10 main volumes and the Sourcebook and Index.
I have loved history for most of my life but, even as a kid, I was aware of the slanted, mythologized, larger-than-life way that most textbooks and history texts portray American history and American historical figures. When I found these books a few years ago I read them myself and loved them!

My own kids, non-book-readers, still followed each book and enjoyed the anecdotal stories as well as the accessibility of history through Joy Hakim's writing.* Also available to homeschoolers and others at are workbooks for The History of Science books, assessment books for The History of US books, and other additional materials for those who might be interested.

Also, please check out this phenomenal accompanying website for Freedom: A History of US.

In 1995, Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough went before the Senate Education Committee in support of a bill sponsored by Lamar Alexander and Ted Kennedy intended to improve the teaching and learning of history. McCullough gave a scathing attack on the state of textbooks, but cited Hakim's book as an exception: Joy Hakim's new...multi-volume History of the United States is superb. But others are dismal almost beyond describing.

I can also recommend the three-book The Story of Science series. Using the workbooks, my daughter devoured this series of books during her first year of homeschool high school. And I loved reading this series too.

Even better, I priced the eleven-book The History of US books, used, on for about $44 plus shipping.

*  In full disclosure, John has not read the entire series.

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