Andrew was home from college for a visit. I began asking him questions from Julia’s Upper Elementary test on Archaic Greece. He remembered! He was able to answer most of the questions and asked for more. I looked up old tests of his and quizzed him over a glass of wine by the fireplace. He said it was “so much fun” to try and answer all the questions. I would say he remembered about 80% of the information. We were both thrilled.
Thinking about it, he said he felt that he got so lucky to have taken your courses. He said it gave him a perspective from which to look on the world he experiences.
So thank you! You are doing a great job and making a difference in the lives of young people.
I signed my daughter up for Mr. Powell’s history program because I wanted to my daughter to be taught by someone who is an expert in history. Elisa enjoyed participating in the teleconferences. Mr. Powell went out of his way to ask each student questions gaging their understanding and to keep them engaged. Along with the teleconferences, there were class notes, pictures, maps, time-lines, regular review sessions, prepared tests, vocabulary and geography exercises, and reading suggestions.
I find this history program more cohesive than other approaches I could have taken as a homeschooler. Rather than look at history through narrow windows of “The Greatest Conquerors,” or biographies of great leaders, or isolated great conflicts, Mr. Powell is able to show how major events come about and what they mean–oftentimes referring back to a previous event to note a comparison or similarity. Offering this level of program in terms of ancient, European and American histories meant a perspective that is the most pertinent to the types of ideas that I expected my elementary-age child to understand. The limited geographical range of the history was simultaneously more expansive than I expected and as systematic as necessary. I appreciated that the flow of the narrative was consistent and was not interrupted by talks of other countries that did not apply to what was then studied.
There were benefits for me as well. I enjoyed being able to tailor the work to the level I felt was appropriate. Because my daughter was engaged in the teleconference, that freed up my own time. There was one less course that had to have a curriculum ordered or activity sheets prepared. I found no need for crafts and coloring pages to make history interesting.
My daughter has said that she has a passion for history, thanks to Mr. Powell.
BTW – don’t know if [my son] shared this with you already – but he called home a few days ago *thrilled* that he doesn’t have to study for his History class. He said he knew it all from your class!
Also, [my daughter] is in a charter school that allows students to advance at their own rate. She will complete two years of history in her freshman year – because she knows so much content already from your class!
Thanks Mr. Powell! 🙂
This is an interesting, engaging, and thorough history program. The program is secular. I was searching for an interesting history program that could weed through the history that is not important and focus on the important points of history. This program does exactly that.
We are using the lower elementary Ancient History, audio only (we download mp3’s and take them wherever we go) because we needed a more flexible schedule. I occasionally have to pull my son back into the lesson. He is learning how to listen and retain information. This has been an unexpected benefit as I find that listening is an acquired skill. The class is well organized, the video participants can raise virtual hands to ask questions and participate in the discussion with relevant questions and thoughts only. Occasionally I do have to get on the internet to find pictures/references that the instructor is referring to, but the video option is new this year and they are working out some of the kinks (as is expected). This in no way affects my son’s learning or enjoyment.
My son has retained so much information and has used it outside of class. There is a fantastic geography portion, and my son knows more geography than most high school students. He recently was able to discuss the countries of the Levant and the middle east, and where they were located with a member of the UAE embassy. They were very impressed that he even knew what the Levant was.
There are tests for the history and geography portions of the class and there is a bonus art history class given weekly.
We will be continuing with European or Asian History next year. Great program!
Today a friend touted the existence and value (free) of the first chapter of your new book [The History of Now]. I have read it already and am so overwhelmed by it that I had to register for the course. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for history. My son has always told me how much he liked your teaching method, but I have never taken a course before. Now I am a student of yours.
Full Length Reviews:
I look at it like this: I am getting personalized instruction from a witty, brilliant, master historian who gives me the adult understanding of history nobody in my 17 years of formal schooling taught me.
All that stuff you hear about history — that it provides desperately-needed perspective–it’s all true. For years I’d been bluffing and guessing about my political and economic positions. Powell History is changing that.
99 percent of American adults (and I include my former self) don’t have a clue what history is for, or what a powerful tool it is for making sense out of life. We are amnesiacs looking into a mirror; we see a face, but don’t grasp the story behind it. That ignorance makes us weak and vulnerable.
I spend $60 an hour, three times a week, to have a physical trainer help me keep my body fit. That’s $180. To spend less than $15 a session (and it’s 85 minutes, too) on a mental trainer who gives me no-[nonsense] information and skills for making sense out of my world is the best bargain I’ve found in years.
Las Vegas, NV
My two boys have used the following online classes for junior high and high school:
- European History (live)
- American History (live)
- Ancient History (live)
- US Government (live)
- Asian History (recordings) [of live online classes]
This is a secular program whereby the student can simply listen to the recordings or participate in the live lectures. Classes are on M, T, and W while History Through Art is taught on TH. No classes take place on Friday. This arrangement worked very well and my sons enjoyed Thursday’s lecture, a break from the usual fare. Visual aids are provided for viewing on the computer while the lectures are being conducted. The material covered is comprehensive and the lectures are quite engaging. Outlines are available for students to use and quizzes and tests are available for parents to administer. Students are expected to take their own notes, to work on facts practice sheets, and to write narrations on each period studied. At the end of the year the students write a comprehensive narration of the entire period studied and take a final exam. In general, the student will walk away with a strong understanding of the ideas at play and be able to explain to some degree why things happened the way they did.
When my boys sat at the table for a spontaneous discussion of the American and French Revolutions, they noted the similarities as well as the differences. How do the words “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” differ from “liberty, equality, and fraternity”? Why would this matter? My sons could discuss the complexities involved that might explain the outcomes of both events. Although history is complex, it is also interesting, understandable, and fun to talk about.
Mr. Powell is a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic teacher who challenges his students to think. Both of my sons have developed a deep respect for history that enabled them to explore other related areas: philosophy, economics, world events, etc. They want to understand their world and know that it is an ongoing process.
When one of my boys introduced himself to a group, he mentioned he was homeschooled and that he is studying subjects important to his life and his future. I know this strong connection he feels with his studies stems, in part, from his work with History at Our House. I cannot imagine succeeding with homeschooling in the manner that we have without History at Our House.
We have been enjoying History at Our House for 5 years now. My oldest son started at 7 yo with Lower Elementary Level, and this year he has progressed to Junior High. My middle son started around 5 yo, listening with his brother from time to time, and now he is in Upper Elementary level. My experience is mostly with Lower and Upper Elementary levels. Both kids did the recordings and the live classes. In general they both prefer the live classes because they are more interactive and engaging.
History at Our House (HAOH) classes are very convenient for us. Online–means no driving, waiting, etc. Four times a week for 30-45 minutes (depending on the level, and I believe longer for High School level)–means everything is discussed in class, no additional reading, homework, etc, unless your child wants to do more Tests are about 5-6 times a year with preparation in the class and discussion of kids’ answers. All the materials and notes are provided.
We like Mr Powell’s style of teaching a lot. His love for history, for knowledge, for researching, for figuring things out is very contagious and he spreads his passion to students. Classes are well organised and conducted in a timely manner with minimum technical issues.
HAOH covers Ancient, European, American and Asian History. Though it is surely not all the history out there, I would call it very comprehensive. HAOH lays important foundations and helps students build a solid matrix. This matrix interconnects the web of history events both around the globe and throughout time. It also links history events to now (the very moment we live in) and helps to understand the necessity of learning history. To add one more detail important to me, I think learning history with HAOH helps build critical thinking and problem solving skills with real life examples (of our ancestors).
HAOH offers live classes and recordings on a monthly subscription basis and you can always back out if it does not work for your family. It is a secular program. In addition to history lectures, it has weekly geography and art appreciation components.
My oldest son (12 yo now) loves HaOH and cannot imagine homeschooling without it. I enjoy HAOH myself and have learned quite a lot from Mr. Powell’s lectures. I actually make time in my schedule to listen to class recordings and we like sharing opinions. My middle son (10yo now), on the other hand, often finds himself in a ‘love and hate’ relationship with history classes. He is a visual learner and a very emotional person. He adores all the maps and charts Mr Powell uses with his lectures, and he loves the action parts of historic events, but sometimes gets distracted during the less interactive lecturing parts. Tests are not his favorite part either. The fact that the tests are ‘at the parent’s discretion’ helped me many times to ease the tension. We modified his test experience by doing the tests slowly and by discussing the questions rather then writing the answers. Also, I found that supplementing HaOH classes with more visual sources, particularly historical fiction (movies and books) helped him to keep his interest. There are good book and movie suggestions on the webpage and on the parent’s yahoo group.
I suggested HAOH to all my homeschooling friends and would highly recommend it to everyone.
(Grades Used: 2nd – 7th, Dates used: 2009-2014)
(PS Please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes. English is my second language.)
This program has been fantastic for my eldest daughter. It covers both history and geography and even includes an art-appreciation component.
She started with recordings only in kindergarten and was fascinated by the story of American History. Because the recordings are not just a lecture but an actual class with student participation, they include questions that are entirely right for the age group of the class, which my daughter found very engaging.
She participated in the Ancient History live classes her second year and loved them even more. She loves being able to ask and answer questions in class, and I love that she is receiving instruction in an academic subject from a teacher other than myself. This is a valuable experience for her, I think.
The material is covered thoroughly and with a focus on deep understanding of the causes and effects of historical events. The subject matter is well organized and the instructor has a real gift for teaching.
Much of the academic work in our home is reading-based, and I am glad to include this auditory learning experience in our schooling plan.
I also very much appreciate the secular nature of these courses. Many history curricula available to homeschoolers have a religious agenda, but we wanted something that taught history with as little religious bias as possible. Religion is, of course, an unavoidable topic when covering the whys and wherefores of history, and this course does not shy away from that fact. The instructor is respectful of all the beliefs discussed in class, but does not play favorites, making this course appropriate for students of any religious background.
Grades Used: K-2
Dates used: 2010-2012
I’ve tried for several years to piece together a history program having all the elements I wanted.
A program that:
- answered not only the what and where – but why.
- linked to historical fiction.
- is engaging, motivational and one in which my children retain the information.
- included geography.
- linked art to historical events.
- had minimal planning.
I spent an enormous amount of time piecing together programs to accomplish my goals. I tried Sonlight, Veritas, Biblioplan, History Alive, Story of the World and many more.
Ultimately, I think the problem is that I’m not an expert in history and the task overwhelming with all the other subjects a mom needs to plan. Finding History at Our House this year was the highlight of our homeschool year and it accomplishes all my goals for history and more!
You can choose to join the live class or listen to pre-recorded classes. We were traveling when the live class started and use the recorded classes. I have to say that my 11 yo loves the classes, but wishes she could contribute to a live discussion. She is enthusiastic about the material and would love to share her knowledge of history with the group.
Given the choice, I would opt for the live class. Even so, both of my kids fight about who gets to go first to do their history lesson.
It is organized around a 3-year classical approach. Usually there are three days with half-hour lectures, one day of History of Art and a day for geography.
I can’t say enough good things about the HOH program! We live by Brown University and decided to go out to dinner one night. My husband was meeting us at the restaurant and the minute he got to the restaurant the kids began to chatter about what they learned about history that day, each adding to the others’ story about how kings of the middle ages distributed property to their sons and how that shaped Europe. Suddenly, both kids stopped talking, looked at their dad with wide eyes and exclaimed, “ Daddy, how are YOU planning to divide up your property? We really think you shouldn’t do it the way they did during the middle ages….” At that point, several Brown students leaned over and asked, “ Where do your kids go to school? Your kids know history better than we do!”
There are so many pros to this program, but the highlight is the History of Art portion. Amazing!
There is a large auditory component to this program. This is not a con for my children, who have listened to stories and books on tape since birth, but for children not used to listening, it may take some time to get used to it. I always make sure they are looking at a historical image while listening. They also sit on a pilates ball and play with play-doh and that works especially well for my 8 yo. I would also love to see Mr. Powell produce a video class.
Grades Used: 6th
Dates used: 2011-12