Pathway to Liberty Review
Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum began in 2008 when Jayme MacCullough was unsatisfied with the curriculum available for her 5 boys. She developed a curriculum with a strong Biblical foundation and unique viewpoint: liberty. Through the “Chain of Liberty,” a series of global events outlined in the curricula as well as in Jayme’s book The Chain of Liberty, students learn more than just historic events, they witness God’s Providence on these events alluding to the ultimate restoration of humanity and the world.
We started our Pathway to Liberty's History Curriculum journey with the first course: Pathway to Liberty's Universal History, which begins with the Creation account in the book of Genesis and ends at the book of Esther. The course is 24 weeks long with 4 lessons per week. We found that lessons usually took 20-30 minutes and were very easy to incorporate into our homeschool schedule. My two older children (7&4) enjoyed working through level one of the course. Jayme designed the course to be accessible at 4 different levels, depending on children’s age and ability, which makes this course wonderful for family style lessons. Material can be taught to all children, and then each level can do the appropriate corresponding work. Individual students would need to purchase their own consumable students workbook.
For our lessons, I’d read from the Teachers Guide, read the stories in the additional text, and then we’d discuss the questions and definitions. The student’s workbook provides plenty of writing opportunities for students, but because we’ve been working on writing through another course, I didn’t require my kids to write out the answer- that would have been seen as double jeopardy to my resistant writer. But on occasion, I’d have them write down answers or assigned scripture in the student’s book if I felt that they needed extra practice for memorization.
The first three weeks of Pathway to Liberty are spent discussing Creation and the life of Adam and Eve. The following 3 weeks are devoted to Noah. The next three week segment discusses Terah, Ancient Civilizations and Abraham and the Patriarchs, followed by 3 weeks looking at Ancient Egypt and the Exodus. After that, the course examines “Mighty Men: the Law and Lawlessness” and covers the judges, the United Kingdom, the divided kingdom and Israel’s interaction with the Babylonian empire. The final 3 weeks looks at the Book of Esther and the ideas of Ancient Greece. The Bible is really the primary text used to accompany this course, which made it really interesting for me and my children. They’d already developed a familiarity with the biblical text, but got to see how the stories looked in a larger context of universal history.
Some of the discussions this course led to were very unique. One such discussion was that of nephilum. I feel like 15 years ago, if you'd have said “nephilum” in a church, it’s likely that someone may have turned around and said, "God bless you," thinking you'd sneezed. After the teachings of Chuck Missler and many others, the concept of nephilum in history has become much more widely accepted. I hadn't really intended on teaching it to my students at 4 and 7, but it was presented in the study of Noah, as well as in the additional reading, “In the Days of Noah.” I kept it brief and explained that remaining nephilum were likely part of the tribes God instructed Israel to wipe out. I also noted that some believe that nephilum were the gods of other ancient cultures like Egypt and that some believe they will return preceding Jesus because of wording in Mathew 24:37-39 referencing the days of Noah. My son thought it was cool and that they were like deceptions in transformers- and that was a great way to end that discussion.
Pathway to Liberty requires a variety of additional books. For level one the required books and estimated costs are as followed:
Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary: $55
Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary is a fascinating book. The course uses it to discuss the precise and accurate meaning of select words by asking students to find the words in the dictionary and copy the definitions into the student’s workbook. We chose to simply discuss the words and definitions. I'd ask my kids what they thought a word meant, then I'd read them the definition out of the Teachers Guide, so we used the dictionary very infrequently
Scripture is the foundation of every lesson. Much of the scripture is printed in the Teacher’s Guide, but it’s great to have your Bible handy for extra scripture and any bunny trails the lessons may lead to.
Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick: $17
This book is used for writing assignments in week one and two, which we opted not to do.
In the days of Noah by Gloria Clanin: $5
In the Days of Noah is used in weeks 4,5,6 and 7. I was predisposed to not like it because Biblical fiction is tough for me, but I was pleasantly surprised. More importantly, my 7 year old loved it! The book fills in details about Noah’s life and provides a great visual for young students. It does cover some tough material such as Nephilum, child sacrifices, abuse, drug and alcohol use, and because of my kids ages, we chose to skip some of the reading as I felt it was too intense.
Usborne World History: Ancient World: $8
Usborne World History is used throughout the course after week 8. The text is easily understood by young learners and has great illustrations along with photographs.
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky: $13
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth is used in week 23, we haven’t gotten to this point yet, but the book itself is a fun look at the life of Eratosthenes and his contribution to science.
We found the texts used for a bit less, but it's still an extra cost if your library doesn't house any of the above books. Additional levels also require more books, and entire breakdown can be found here on their website.
In addition to the required texts, there are some optional additional books. One book that is recommended to gain insight on the concept behind Pathway to Liberty is The Chain of Liberty and Chain of Liberty Study Guide, also by Jayme MacCullough. These would be interesting reads for older students interested in the foundation of liberty and its impact on our history as individuals and a nation.
Some things that I loved about the course was its reliance on Scripture and unique perspectives obtaining to the God given right of liberty. I LOVED that my kids would easily sit through the lessons and enjoyed our discussion time about it, I also loved some of the affirmations it included- they filled me with joy!
As mentioned above, some of the topics were too intense for the stage we’re in, but they can be glossed over as needed without impacting the overall course content. I feel like the biggest downside is the material cost with the additional required book costs, but for many families, it would be worth purchasing because it incorporates 4 different levels and the Teacher’s Guide can be used with multiple students- each one needing to purchase their own Students Book to accompany the course. Ultimately, I feel that this program offers a rich and unique biblical learning experience and I'd recommend it to families looking for a history curriculum with a biblical worldview.
The Homeschool Review Crew checked out different levels if you'd like to learn about the other programs offered and hear what other homeschooling families thought!
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is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.