Discover Texas was designed to be flexible for many situations, but it’s an excellent fit for the family with students in several grades who would like to study Texas history together for an entire year—families like the Yarboroughs.
Mom, Alice Yarborough, bought Discover Texas because she liked how the curriculum makes lesson planning easy. Ten volumes let her family dive into a different chronological era each month, August through May, while weekly chapters in each volume keep them on schedule, allowing natural breaks for holidays. All Alice has to do is skim the Teacher Tips section a week or two before she introduces a new volume. Last month, she noticed that one of the suggested field trips is not too far away. The web link told her all she needed to plan a trip. Alice reviewed the reading list and found books that were sure hits with Adam (7th grade), Amy (5th grade), and Amanda (2rd grade). A quick call to the library put them on reserve. They didn’t have a copy of the book she wanted for Amy, but through interlibrary loan it arrived in time.
The first Monday of the month, Alice groups her clan around the computer so everyone can see the illustrations as she reads the articles in Chapter 1. The reading is interesting and easy enough that Adam could handle it in an hour or less, but Amanda isn’t “quite there yet” for independent reading. Alice found a vocabulary list in the Teacher Tips section to help with some of the new or foreign terms. She also found maps to print so the children could label them as she read.
Adam goes back through the disk on Tuesday to explore the links embedded in the text. He finds several websites that look interesting and shares what he learned over supper. He also finds a Doing More activity that looks like fun. He’ll be working on a model this month. Amy finds a website that includes a matching game. She plays with it for quite some time, to her mother’s amusement. Amy doesn’t think of the game as a quiz, but she’s learning just the same.
Wednesday is library day. Adam loves his biography. The actress in the family, Amy plans to make a costume and give a book report as if she were the title character of her story.
On Thursday, Amy and Amanda help Mom make a recipe they found in the Doing More section. The dish isn’t bad, but they decide they’re thankful for modern appliances and the wide variety of foods we enjoy now from the grocery store.
By the end of the month, everyone’s had a great time discovering Texas history in their own way. Adam really enjoyed being outdoors on the field trip, scouring every inch of the grounds. Amy wandered through the exhibits and peppered the curator with questions. Amanda enjoyed being along for the adventure, and she understood more than Alice imagined. Everyone learned from each other’s projects and book reports. Amanda says she wants to Discover Texas again.
…and she can. Alice signed up to receive the Discover Texas newsletter to keep up with new ideas and improvements to the program. She’s glad that Discover Texas comes with a guaranteed replacement policy. When it’s time to study Texas history again with Amanda, she can get the latest release of the curriculum, no questions asked.