My daughter's public schooled friend asks every visit to see what is new in the (CTT) notebook. She says my daughter 'gets to learn so much more' than she ever learns.  - K.O.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Connect The Thoughts™ .  If you have questions that are not answered here, you may send your questions directly to our founder: click here .

 
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
80200

"My question is around your frequent comments about your hope that people do the courses in the order given, from the beginning. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that a little—the benefits of that."
     -Susan


The problem with most homeschooling studies, especially where history studies are concerned, is that it's more or less cobbled together from dozens (or hundreds) of sources, and so lacks coherence or sequence.

Connect The Thoughts
was constructed to be logically sequential. I based much of the writing of the history courses on comments that were made by Will Durant, who was, I believe, America's greatest historian. He felt that the way history was taught in his time was poor. Generally, subjects were separated out from each other. Example: Economics as a subject; Comparative Religion as a subject; Political Theory as a subject; Philosophy as a subject, etc. Durant felt that these were all a part of history, and were experienced by the individual in the "real world" as something we like to call "life", as integral parts of the whole of experience. He felt (and so appropriately designed his and his wife's massive and Pulitzer Prize-winning historical volumes) that all of these "subjects" and more should be carefully integrated as a part of a history study.

Further, he felt that history should be carefully delivered in sequence, in the order that it happened, rather than the scatter shot jumping around normally done in our schools. You know - this semester, American History. Next semester - The Dark Ages (if the school teaches world history at all, which in the U.S. is limited indeed).

I believe with Durant that one should start a serious study of history at the start, and work through in sequence. In this manner, one arrives at today with something approaching a real understanding of how humanity came to be in the condition we currently enjoy and suffer. I've done the hard work over the past eight years of putting history courses together that accomplish much of what Durant proposed, so parents do not need to do that.

Another reason I generally feel that it's best to study these courses from the start is that the way I present ideas in each course, with related exercises to make them tangible, "real" and valuable to the student, is unique, and provides the student a better grasp of the value of their studies.

History is both cumulative and redundant. It is cumulative because the ideas and actions generated by great (or terrible) men and women are used and built upon by those to follow, so in seeing the chain of events, one can clearly see how we "stand on the shoulders of giants". It is redundant because the same trials and errors are often repeated across a span of time. Through an understanding of the great thoughts and acts of history, the student may just possibly have or do a few of their own - but only if that history gets into the motions of their lives and the flow of their thoughts. I've worked hard to see that it does, and I don't believe most other studies aim for or accomplish this. Yet it seems to me this should be the only acceptable result of a  study of history - a student who can use in today's world what they have learned, to improve their own life and those of others.

In Connect The Thoughts, vocabulary is also built in a sequential manner, though I do provide for each lesson the definitions of words (or ask the student to locate places mentioned in that lesson) without regard to whether or not the same words or places have been handled at an earlier time. I do this because I have been taught to believe that the more one goes over a skill or idea (within reason, of course), the more likely it is one may master it. But there is a cumulative effect to the approach I've taken to vocabulary and geography which develops these crucial areas over a span of time, and done in sequence.

I can definitely tell you that the "grand arc" of Starter Curriculum (for ages 5-6 and preliterate students) to Elementary (for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy) to Lower School (for ages 9-10) to Upper School (ages 11-up) is designed to steadily improve literacy and vocabulary, so that the student is always being prepped for more difficult studies.

The same thing is done with the complexity of ideas. In earlier levels, ideas are presented in a simple form, much of the complexity and richness held back so that the student gets a simple "big picture". As the student moves into tougher levels, often the same ideas (or events in history, for example) are presented again (this is years apart, by the way), but with more detail, more questioning, more expected of the student. This "incoming tide" approach is intended to be cumulative, and needless to say works best if everything is done in sequence.

Another reason I would love to see folks do these courses and (I'm sorry) exclude other studies in the process is that different studies can contradict each other.

In way of illustration, when preparing to author science courses, I decided to read four University level textbooks for each key subject I needed to understand - chemistry, biology, and physics. I found to my horror that University level textbooks not only disagreed with each other - but were occasionally wrong!  Example - I read a University level textbook on Chemistry that stated in its very first sentence that Chemistry is "the study of the interaction of matter and energy". Wrong ! That, by definition, is physics ! (I had a physicist look at this, by the way, and he was more horrified than I was.) Chemistry is the study of atomic structure and how it generates the substances and forms of the physical universe. Anyone using that unfortunate textbook was starting off with two strikes against them! They had a mis-definition of the subject itself, and would then align all future "facts" presented to that definition. At least, they could TRY to align the data. Good luck to them.

I've worked to design CTT courses as a "river" of information that has been correlated, coordinated, and to the best of my ability, verified against other sources. (In authoring academic courses, I never just trusted my own studies, but verified information through various other sources.

For all of the reasons above (and more), I believe that Connect The Thoughts should be done in sequence and from the start. There's one more reason - the design of the program always has the student start with study essential courses like Information - Right or Wrong; Control; and How To Do Research. In an ideal world, these would always be done first in a person's studies, since they improve the student's ability to study any subject to follow, and facilitate their getting the most out of their studies.

I hope this rather long answer actually addresses your concerns! Thanks for the intelligent question.

To look at Starter Curriculum, for ages 5-6, and pre-literate students, free samples of every course, and free videos explaining all the parts of our Starter program, click here.

To look at Elementary Curriculum, ages 7-8, and students who are developing literacy, including free samples of every course and free videos explaining every part of the Elementary program, click here.

To look at Lower School, for ages 9-10, free samples of each course, and free videos explaining the program, click here.

To look at Upper School, ages 11-adult, free samples of every course, and free videos explaining the program, click here.

     Steven Horwich
     Connect The Thoughts

 
 


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