Last year, we studied universal history with Pathway to Liberty. This year, we were excited to continue our journey into the Middle Ages. My own recollection of the Middle Ages was very narrow and essentially boiled down to burning people at the stake for printing Bibles and Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue, so I was personally looking forward to rounding out my own viewpoint of the Middle Ages with this course as well as teaching my 7 and 5 year old about it!
One thing I love about Pathway to Liberty is the unique perspective it brings to studying history. The curriculum not only offers a Biblical worldview, but also follows the “chain of liberty,” or chain links which join elements of history together, and help us learn meaningful lessons for today. When teaching on this topic, it might be beneficial to check out chapters 8 and 9 in Jayme MacCullough's book, "The Chain of Liberty."
Pathway to Liberty's lessons can easily be conducted as "family style," where mom teaches one lesson and each child can do corresponding work for that lesson at their own level. This is awesome for larger families and simplifies your schooling time while allowing kids to learn together at their own pace! Though I was technically working through this with my 8 year old, my 5 year old listened to the lessons too and discussed the topics with us!
We used the level one workbook for assignments, but the levels continue up to a level four for older students!
This course starts with a bit of a refresher from the previous year as we discussed what history is and established a Biblical foundation for our studies. Week 2 covered the dawn of nations and principles of self-government.
Week 3-6 brought us to Rome, where we studied the Roman Empire with the broader perspective of how Rome influenced the proper setting for the spread of the Gospel. Students will learn about daily life in Rome, as well as how it served as the perfect setting for the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). They will also learn about the persecution and triumphs of the early church by reading the book, “Trial and Triumph” by Richard M. Hannula. I hadn’t heard of “Trial and Triumph” before starting this course, but it’s an amazing book and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety!
In Week 7, the tides change and students learn about Constantine the Great and what his leadership meant to Rome. They will also understand the principal of Divine Providence behind his tole in history.
Weeks 8-9 discuss the formation of the Bible through readings in “How the Bible Came to Us by Meryl Doney,” and write interesting facts they learned throughout the reading.
In weeks 10-12, level 2-4 students will learn about Muhammed, Islam, and the Crusades, while level one, which was us, learn about Leif the Lucky and his expeditions. For level one students, you’ll read “Leif the Lucky by D’Aulaire” in these weeks and students will fill out their study guides in the workbook. There is also an assortment of Viking crafts for hands-on learning. My kids enjoyed cutting and pasting Viking clothes on the Viking!
Week 13-16 focuses on transforming nations. Level one students will read, “Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney,” Older students will focus on Saint Patrick and read about him in “Trials and Triumph.” Week 14 brings you to a study of Charlemagne, where students will read about him in “Story of the World” and older kids have the option of watching a short video on about the king. Week 15 continues the theme of a leader transforming a nation with Alfred the Great. I loved the scriptural principals behind the transforming nation's section, “Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city,” (Ecc. 7:19). The teaching principal echoed from this verse is, “God brings his Kingdom into the hearts of individuals who He then uses to transform nations.” What a great message for kids to learn!
Learning about these great leaders brings students to Week 16- 17, where they learn about the Magna Charta and individual rights. Here, you’ll use “The Magna Carta by James Daughtery” to dig deeper into this idea.
Weeks 18-21 focused on prominent reformers and how the seed within them impacted nations and the world. Students will learn about John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Anne Askew, John Knox, and Renee. Then, they’ll put their learning into practice by beginning to write paragraphs about each reformer.
Weeks 22-26 enter into the age of exploration. Here, you’ll use “Columbus by D’Aulaire” and “The Light & the Glory for Children by Peter Marsha & David Manuel.” Students will learn more about the explorers on Biography.com and make a fun art craft!
This positions learners perfectly for year three, learning about U.S. History!
Books Needed for Level One:
Level One Students will need some additional books. The complete list of books needed for each level can be found in the beginning of the Teacher's Guide as well as on the Pathway to Liberty Website.
Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
How the Bible Came to Us by Meryl Doney
Trial and Triumph by Richard M. Hannula
The Magna Carta by James Daughtery
The Story of the World Volume One: Ancient Times, by Susan Wise Bauer
Leif the Lucky by D’Aulaire
Columbus by D’Aulaire
The Story of the World Volume Two: The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The Light & the Glory for Children by Peter Marsha & David Manuel
This curriculum is 26 weeks, which is unique when you consider most school years run for 36 weeks. I loved that it was a 26 week program because it allows for amazing learning detours! We spent extra weeks studying ancient Rome and didn’t have to worry about falling behind! Each week has 4 lessons, which could be taught in 20-30 minutes and worked perfectly with our schedule! I loved seeing the connection between Scriptural principals and actual history that occurred, and think it’s incredibly meaningful to teach our children likewise!
On top of learning about history, I saw my son's writing ability improve through this curriculum. By the end, he was able to write a paragraph about each reformer, which really complemented the 2nd grade work he was doing in his English course! I feel like Pathway to Liberty is an awesome curriculum for families looking to learn about history through a Biblical Worldview. The lessons, and teaching concepts behind the historic events are unique and inspiring for the entire family!
To learn more and see all that the program has to offer, check out PathwaytoLiberty.com!
is an author, blogger, and homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!