Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Biblioplan: A Review


We are new to Biblioplan this year, and I am loving it so much! I debated history curriculum for this year like a crazy person, going so far as to buy almost 2 complete literature based history curricula. We started with another and quickly realized it was not the perfect fit for us for this year. We switched to using Biblioplan as a spine adding in some Sonlight components and I am thrilled with the results. Last year E often cried that she hated history. :( Not what a mama wants to hear! This year I hear often "I LOVE history now!" Yes! Mission accomplished!

What is Biblioplan?
 It is a literature based history curriculum based on the 4 year cycle of the Well Trained Mind. While it was originally created to go alongside Story of the World, that is now only one of many spine options available.

What are the components of Biblioplan?
Family Guide: This is the heart of the program. It is the schedule and book list. BP schedules Story of the World, Mystery of History, Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, Trial and Triumph, Veritas Press timeline cards, Classical Conversation timeline cards, and more as optional spines. This makes it easy to use no matter what spine you want to use or what components you want to include.

Companion: This is the "text." If you are using another spine you don't have to have it, but this is where all the church history is found. This text can be a spine for your youngest and oldest, you simply read different parts for different ages. The sections are in color boxes showing what should be read to the younger BP users. You can pick and choose from the colored sections for the younger students, choosing what you find most important or interesting. The most applicable parts that age group are listed in a yellow box at the top of the Cool Histories pages.

Cool Histories: For littles (k-2) it consists of a list of sections to read for this age group from the Companion, review questions, and a geography section. It also tells you which coloring sheet and giant of the faith (hero from church history or missionary) coordinates with that week. For middles and advanced the Cool Histories serve almost like a worksheet .

Timeline and Maps: There are color timeline figures to go with each year, and hands on maps for different levels.

Coloring book and Craft book: Each year has its own coloring and craft books to enhance the experience for younger students who want a more hands-on component.

Why I love BP:
  • It follows the 4 year cycle.
  • It is 3 days a week. I simply could not fit history in 5 days a week. 
  • There are so many options I can pick and choose and really make it fit without feeling like I have "destroyed" the curriculum.
  • Love the church history component. The church history/biblical worldview component feels like it flows so much better than some other history curricula. I love how integrated it is. 
  • The Companion provides the "flow of history" I thought was lacking in other programs. I can see the bigger picture even when I don't share all of it with my children.
  • It is so easy to combine ages. This was very important to me. I need to have everyone in the same place in content areas. 
  • The order. BP is chronological for the most part but it is organized in a more "unit" style approach. I appreciate this as purely chronological history can seem very disjointed and jumpy.
  • Easy to substitute literature choices. Since BP is not "book specific" it is easy to swap out another book of choice or even just something your library has. 
  • It is so flexible. Biblioplan can be as much or as little as you want, and that choice can be flexible week to week. 
  • I love the "extras". The timeline, maps, cool histories, coloring pages, and crafts really make learning history fun and comprehensive. I have pulled it together before, but having all of this ready is so much easier! 
How I have tweaked it:
OK, yes. Even though I love it and could have used it as is, I tweaked a little. We are using the Companion, Story of the World 2 on audio, coloring pages, Family Guide, and Cool Histories, (and adding the timeline and craft book next week), but I have added and changed a little.  I added Window on the World as an extra geography component. We had it from starting the year with Sonlight and really loved it. We added notebooking pages and flag stickers from Rainbow Resources and the kids love using it to make a "prayer book" of countries around the world. Also I am not using most of the BP "read alouds" since many of them are more than we need for this age. I chose to save them for the next cycle. Instead  I chose a 3+ or 5+ reader as a read aloud or supplement with Sonlight books.


Choosing history can be so confusing. What finally helped me decide was to think of what I wanted in a history curriculum. If we could study history any way I wanted (which we can!), what would a week look like? Then move backwards. Which curriculum is closest to that end? Biblioplan serves that purpose for us. It requires the least amount of tweaking to be just what we want. I love that Bibloplan is helping us to love history this year! 

If you are looking for more information check out these posts:
Why Biblioplan over Sonlight and Tapestry of Grace?
How we use it (a week with Biblioplan in our home)(Coming Soon!)


3 comments:

  1. I'm researching next year already and this post helped a lot! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I noticed your great reviews on Biblioplan, but you are not using it for next year? Can you give a little reason for why you aren't using it. I so could use some guideance from someone what has used it.
    PLEASE HELP
    Kelly Wright

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly! Thanks for stopping by! You are correct, we are detouring next year with US history. We had such a great year with Biblioplan it was a hard decision. Ultimately, we are pausing from BP because their revised year three is not ready and won't be for this school year. I really like the unit feel of the revised versions so I knew the old year three wouldn't have worked as well for us. I have every intention of returning to BP however, it really worked well for us! Year three is the last to revise so we should be fine after this. :)

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