Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Heritage History

Heritage History

We've been using various products from Heritage History for almost the whole length of our homeschooling experience. If you've never heard of Heritage History, they provide complete, illustrated texts of over 400 classical children's histories.  Their books are available to read online for free, or pay to download in three different formats.  A broad range of reading abilities are represented in the books and as well as most history eras.  Heritage History also groups books together in collections or curriculum CDs that create a flexible, living books, independent study program.

New for us this year we signed up for Heritage History Academy. Instead of receiving a CD of the British Middle Ages curriculum we have access to all the books for download during the duration of the class period.  We have always put our Heritage History books on the iPads, so downloading didn't even create a change in our book usage. 

The Academy also includes recommended reading selections, not just whole books but chapters in each book. There is even a tracking mechanism to help the students remain accountable for their required course reading.  We do not use the tracking feature mainly because this is not our primary history curriculum, but I've played around with it. Each course also has maps, timelines, character summaries, review study questions, tests and additional topic information. Again, we have not fully utilized all of these features, however we are pleased with the quality of those used.

Using Heritage History

Despite the wide array of features, the online academy is a little awkward still; especially the use of parent accounts and student accounts. There is also a fee for each additional student. We chose to use the Academy this year mainly to save shipping charges as the pricing is nearly identical to that of the curriculum CDs. However, if I had multiple students it would not be to our benefit to pay the fee for additional student accounts. Now, if you are using this as a primary curriculum, which is entirely feasible, the cost is well warranted to set up each student separately. It just doesn't make sense for us when all we really need are the books. 

New this year at Heritage History is the ability to purchase a library pass to the entire Heritage History website.  The pass allows students to download every book on the website at one cost for an entire family, and the pass is good for three years. If only this option had been available when we started our school year.  I'm still considering purchasing it anyway to gain easy access to the remaining collections and curriculum we do not already own.

Using Heritage History

Now that we are using Tapestry of Grace, I was thrilled to find many of the reading selections recommended in the year plans are available through Heritage History, even if the page numbers do not match the Tapestry of Grace listed versions.  It is definitely more cost effective to use Heritage History than to purchase all the books suggested in TOG.

We cannot imagine homeschooling without the resources provided by Heritage History. It has been such a dependable source of history reading and we look forward seeing the new products provided by Heritage History.

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