As you may already know, I am a huge believer in homeschooling and as such, I am always on the look-out for new and better curriculums. Recently, I discovered Wayfarers History, and I must admit I fell in love with it.
Wayfarers history comprises of 4 complete program guides; Ancient History, Medieval History, Revolution History and Modern History. These programs cover a wide range of subjects from pre-kindergarten to grade 12.
One of the first things you will notice about Wayfarers History is that it uses the 3 levels of the trivium to present its lesson material. This means that you get to take your child through similar topics on three levels; grammar (input), dialectic/logic (process) and rhetoric (output).
The idea behind this is to move your children a level up every four years. It is also this defining feature of the curriculum that is so characteristic of Susan Wise Bauer’s neo-classical approach which the guide borrows heavily from.
The guide also borrows heavily from Charlotte Manson’s approach of using living books, copy work, narrations, picture studies and topical exploration rather than using textbooks and busywork.
I particularly like this approach because it encourages creativity and enhances the learning experience for the kids. This method is also more exciting than using the traditional textbooks hence ensuring that students remain engaged in the learning process all through.
Although Wayfarer is primarily a non-unit approach of learning, it also makes use of a unit approach in subjects such as Geography, History, and Science. I found this quite impressive largely because my children get to understand topics within those three areas in an in-depth and comprehensive manner.
In fact, studies have established that children who learn using the unit-study approach have a 45% higher chance of retaining what they have learned. The use of both non-unit and unit studies is one of the things that make Wayfarer’s a big hit with homeschoolers.Wayfarers is basically a guide that does all the scheduling for you while at the same time guiding you on the best real books and textbooks to use for teaching.
This essentially means that you will have to use other resources together with the handbook. I must also acknowledge the fact that DeVore (the author) does a good job of carefully selecting the resources that will work best with the guide.
Wayfarers History divides the course work into 3 terms each of which is 12 weeks long. This means that there are 36 weeks of learning every year. Each week has 5 school’ days each with its lesson plan.The daily lesson plans are not very detailed and are therefore easy to understand. Nevertheless, it would be a good idea for you to plan ahead.
Another thing I absolutely loved about Wayfarers is that all the children can be working on the same topics at the same time. One way to do this is through family read aloud sessions.
You could also do this is by giving the children books on the same topic but different levels. For example, your youngest child could be reading on a subject that is on the grammar level while the oldest could be reading on the same topic but a rhetoric level. It is important for parents to choose books that are appropriate for the level and situation of each child.
Although Wayfarers mostly uses spine books for subjects, it also suggests some traditional textbooks for some subjects.
When it comes to history, for example, Wayfarers Ancient History suggests that grammar level students read Story of the World Volume 1. On the other hand, it suggests Guerber’s Story of the Ancient World, Story of the Greeks and Story of the Romans for dialectic students.
Lastly, rhetoric students have the option of using either Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the Ancient World or Diana Waring’s Ancient Civilizations and the Bible. Wayfarer’s Medieval History also uses books from these same series.
In addition to that, parents also have the option of selecting historical fiction and non-fiction books from lists provided at each level. The lesson plans also include timeline or Book of Centuries activities which are essential in helping students identify and understand the interrelatedness of the different events they learn about in the various resources with the wider accounts of history.
In Geography, Wayfarers Ancient History suggests fictional books set in ancient times and particularly in settings that are Asian. Students also get to use core books such as Expedition Earth, A Childs Introduction to the World, Geography Through Art and Eat Your Way Around the World throughout the year. This is meant to foster an in-depth understanding of geography.
As for Science, Wayfarers suggests the use of Quark Chronicles for students on the grammar and dialectic levels. This is a series of fictional stories that feature children traveling through space on an animate spaceship.
Through these adventures, the children can learn lots of science related things. Wayfarers Ancient History uses Quark Chronicles: Botany and Quark Chronicles: Zoology. Quark Chronicles: Anatomy which is the third installment in the series is also out with other installments such as Astronomy, Geology, Weather, Chemistry, and Physics expected to follow suit.
Students on the dialectic level for science will also use core books such as Botany in 8 Lessons and Explore the World of Biology. DeVore also suggests the use of experiment and activity books such as those featured in the Great Science Adventures Series.
DeVore suggests books that are more challenging for students on the rhetoric level of learning. These include books such as Bridget Ardoin’s High School Biology in Your Home and the For Dummies series of books.
Although Wayfarers also features recommendations for lab courses in Biology, DeVore does not consider lab work to be an essential part of learning. Because of this, lab work is classified as an optional course.
Wayfarers History also features recommendations for real books to use alongside core books in science. Wayfarers Ancient History recommends books that are mainly rooted in botany. Students at the rhetoric level can also read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
The rhetoric level of learning also includes some books giving different views on science and biology. These are recommended under three main point of views; Creationist, Intelligent Design, and Evolution. Both Wayfarers Ancient History and Wayfarers Revolution History also incorporate Health and Sex Education in their courses.
For language arts, recommends programs such as;
- English Lessons Through Literature
- Reading Lessons Through Literature (especially useful for children between kindergarten and third grade)
- Rod and Staff’s English series
For math, the guide recommends programs such as;
- Miquon Math which is perfect for the younger children
- Singapore Math
However, the math and language art lessons in Wayfarers are generally lacking in detail, and I would advise that you use other programs to complement them.
It would be important to note that while Wayfarers mostly features secular books, there are also a good number of books that are Christian in nature. Most of these follow the Protestant school of thought.
You can purchase Wayfarers history in PDF format or Printed format; depending on what works best for you.
Wayfarers: Ancient History Term 1, 2 and 3 are available on Amazon for $35 each. You can also purchase used copies of the same from $27 down.
Wayfarers: Medieval History Term 1, 2 and 3 each go for $35 on Amazon.
Wayfarers: Revolution History Term 1, 2 and 3 are also available on Amazon for $35 each. You can purchase used versions at lower prices.
Wayfarers: Modern History Term 1, 2 and 3 sell for $35 each on Amazon. You can also buy a used copy of Modern History Term 1 for as low as $24.99.