Creating History

Homeschooled high school students looking for a program in Canadian history or social studies might want to consider looking at Creating History.

Creating History - A Canadian high school history courseDesigned by Canadian teacher and history enthusiast, Mike Zeitsma, this history program covers WWI to 2000, and involves listening to lectures to take guided notes, watching videos, reading articles, referencing a website that explores maps through out history, analysing photos and other media to study the time period.

It sounds like he built the course around a book called Spotlight Canada, which he recommends using as a backbone to the lessons.

There are 3 ways to order this program:

1. A Digital copy on CD which contains all the resources you need plus the ability to print your worksheets and other materials as needed. ($170)

2. A coil bound workbook with resource CD. This gives you all your worksheets and additional printed materials all ready set and ready to use combined with the resources on CD for lessons. ($215)

3. If you already have the CD, all you need is another workbook – you can order that separately. ($90)

For this review, I was sent just the workbook – not the Resource CD that you need to complete it. The CD has the meat and potatoes of the program – the lessons and other resources he’s created or recommends.

The workbook itself is huge – like 255 pages and spiral bound. The pages inside don’t consist of a lot of colour, but they are very visually appealing and clear to work through.

There are 5 units, broken down into smaller units. He’s included a list of recommended websites, DVDs, textbooks, apps, etc for each. Often he’s included a SmartBoard Review Activity (which you can do on a computer – no worries) through a website link, along with some extension ideas.The worksheets look very detailed and fantastic, honestly, and even without the CD I think I could learn a lot of information about the last 100 years of Canadian history – albeit having the CD would definitely be of benefit.

My hope is that these resources will help students evaluate deeper themes like justice, human nature, equality etc. instead of the end point being just facts.  History has so much relevance to our world, but yet the education system seems to be reducing its value. – Mike Zietsma

To evaluate learning, each unit has first a required activity, such as a research essay, creating posters, or creatively reflecting on the topic through art or poetry, etc. There’s also a project – and offers several different options to choose from. For example the WWI projects include creating an exhibit or memorial, a battlefield model, board game, researching an local soldier or relative who served in the war, creating a backpack and diary for life as a soldier, creating a video of life on the home front, researching technology of the time, or researching different theatres of war. For both of these, there are detailed grading rubrics to help you mark your child’s assignments.

The back has a final research project in the form of an essay on the topic of the student’s choice (with helpful worksheets and note taking outlines, etc, as well as essay skill reminders). Again, there is a section that allows you to grade your child’s work.

In addition to this, there are exam review worksheets for the end of the course, and also printable tests off the Resource CD for several of the units and the final exam.

I will mention that this author is Christian, and although during the actual units I have yet to see anything that expressly requires a Christian point of view, there is a section in the introduction that gets students to think about using this viewpoint of history and how it affects interpretations. If this isn’t your point of view, it’s easy enough to skip over.

Please note that this program and CD cannot be resold or redistributed.

Creating History : High School Civics ProgramIn addition to the Canadian history course, this teacher has also put together a high school level Civics course that follows a similar format of workbook and resource CD. It covers the ideas of Purposeful, Informed, and Active Citizenship as Canadians.

This course is much more intentional at presenting a Christian point of view.

The 3 units included challenge students to explore more about our Canadian government, current events, and politics. Embracing the culture of today that includes the ever increasing use of technology, I was particularly amused by the assignment to create a debate of specific topics through a twitter conversation between party leaders. Very creative!

Again, you have the option of buying a digital copy ($70), a printed workbook with resource CD ($100), and additional workbooks ($55).

Be sure to check out Mike’s other resources in his Creating History Teachers Pay Teachers store.

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