BookShark Reading with History makes it simple to take your learning adventures to the next level.
With an amazing combination of great books, hands-on activities, and supportive resources, this secular homeschool curriculum package is an open-and-go solution for busy families that want a stress-free approach to learning at home.
Take a peek out how I’m using Level F with my tween and teen and learn more to see how BookShark Reading with History can work for your homeschool.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. As always, I’m sharing my honest opinions and was not required to provide a positive review.
BookShark Reading with History has several levels that cover a wide range of ages and stages. I’m sharing our experiences with Level F – Eastern Hemisphere. As you read our review, I encourage you to think about your homeschool’s needs and explore which Level would be the best fit for your family.
My Quest to Help My Tween & Teen Thrive
As my boys get older and our homeschool evolves, I’m discovering new challenges that are both exciting and daunting.
Some challenges have taken just a bit of tweaking on my part to maintain our relaxed homeschool routine and lifestyle. Like, figuring out how to keep enough food in our house with 5 growing boys (especially my 8-year-old who’s my little hobbit and thoroughly enjoys second breakfast).
Other challenges have required more research and adjustment.
For example, I find myself homeschooling 2 teens and a tween (plus that little hobbit). Aside from the fact that it’s hard to believe we’ve reached this point in our homeschool adventures, I need to figure out how to help each of these boys thrive, explore interests, and work at their level (and beyond).
Oh, and make learning as engaging and fun as possible for older kids. Because the struggle is real when it comes to hormones and attitudes!
As much as I would LOVE to work one-on-one with my boys to do all of that, there are simply not enough hours in a day.
So, I’m doing what I’d recommend to any busy homeschool mom with older kids who still wants to make learning fun: PIVOT!
How am I pivoting? Well, up until this point in our homeschool, all 3 of my younger boys were grouped together into as many subjects as possible to help me save time, money, and energy.
Smiley (13) and Bear (11) have reached the point where they’re ready to spread their wings and soar at their own levels, especially with reading and history. They want more challenging resources that allow them to experience topics and ideas beyond what we’ve studied so far in our homeschool.
As much as I’m super excited about that, I don’t have the wherewithal to support them at individual levels. And that’s where the beauty of BookShark Reading with History comes in…
With BookShark’s Level approach, it’s super easy to combine ages AND still make learning fun. And the open-and-go Instructor’s Guide saves me SO much time and energy!
Let’s take a peek at why we’re loving this secular homeschool curriculum so much 😊
What You’ll Find in BookShark Reading with History Level F – Eastern Hemisphere
To get a better picture of our experiences, I think it’s helpful for you to know what’s included in this BookShark Reading with History Level F – Eastern Hemisphere package.
There’s a mix of materials for History, Read-Alouds, Readers, and Required Resources:
- History F Instructor’s Guide (amazingly helpful resource with weekly schedule, discussion questions, and new user information + tips)
- Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere
- Eastern Hemisphere Notebook Pages
- Nelson Mandela: No Easy Walk to Freedom
- Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
- Gandhi: Young Nation Builder
- Mother Teresa
- The Shadows of Ghadames
- China Kit
- Timeline Figures – F
Yes, you can still enjoy read-aloud time with your older kids! It’s a wonderful way to connect and discuss the literature 😊
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
- I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
- A Long Walk to Water
- Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions
- A Moment Comes
- Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum
- The Master Puppeteer
- The Horse and His Boy
- Journey to Jo’Burg
- Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
- Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
- The Land I Lost
- All the Small Poems
- Daughter of the Mountains
- Shadow Spinner
- Call it Courage
These books and resources are fantastic opportunities for your kids to learn from different characters and their experiences throughout the Eastern Hemisphere and beyond.
- Henry Reed, Inc.
- Sweet and Sour: Tales from China
- The Year of the Dog
- Water Sky
- The Kite Fighters
- The Big Wave
- The Cat Who Went to Heaven
- Just So Stories
- A Girl Named Disaster
- Wild Orchid
- King of the Wind
- Around the World in Eighty Days
- Ali and the Golden Eagle
- Li Lun, Lad of Courage
- Red Sand, Blue Sky
- Born in the Year of Courage
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
- Fun With Easy Origami
- Rickshaw Girl
- Breaking Stalin’s Nose
- D-Ring 3-Inch Binder With Tabs (great way to stay organized!)
- Markable Map
- Markable Map Markers
- The Timeline Book
Our Experiences with BookShark Reading with History
Now that you’ve had a chance to see all that’s included with Level F, let’s take a peek at our experiences.
You may be wondering why we chose Level F – Eastern Hemisphere. Great question!
BookShark Reading with History has a few levels that would allow Smiley (13) and Bear (11) to work together (like Reading with History G – World History Year 1 of 2). After looking at all the options and a good chat, the boys decided that Level F was the way to go this year.
The main reason for picking Level F was our realization that we really haven’t explored the Eastern Hemisphere that much in our homeschool. Sure, we’ve touched upon it here and there but those experiences were rather superficial.
Plus, we’ve covered American History a lot in our homeschool. The boys were ready for new learning adventures in history!
BookShark Reading with History Level F has helped the boys take deep dives as they explore the Eastern Hemisphere. Smiley said, “It feels like we’re looking at these countries from all angles.” I couldn’t agree more!
Through the recommended literature selections, hands-on activities, and discussions questions, BookShark Reading with History has led us through Eastern Hemisphere counties with:
- A Brief History
- Fast Facts
- Deep Dives (For example, we learned about Confucianism and Communism in China)
Another reason why we picked BookShark Reading with History Level F is the convenience of combining two subjects into one. It’s been a brilliant way to save time and better use our energy. Plus, it appeals to a wide range of learning styles.
Smiley (13) has been able to take off with his learning while still feeling challenged. He prefers hands-on activities (like the ones in the China Kit and with map work). Bear (11) is an avid reader and loves having all of these great books to enjoy. I’m thrilled that both boys are able to work together and still find ways to develop independent learning skills based on their interests.
Outstanding Option: BookShark Virtual
Here’s something that I’m really excited to give a try in our homeschool!
BookShark Virtual is an option for adding an online experience to your homeschool. After I learning more about it through a free virtual training webinar, I’d say BookShark Virtual is an affordable upgrade with some special features.
What is BookShark Virtual? This platform enables your kids to access schedules, take assessments, and receive instant auto-grading results. Through the Teacher Dashboard, parents can assign, track, and review student work plus customize assessments. Bonus: ALL of this online access can be done via a computer or mobile device.
Your kids are NOT on a screen the whole time! The same books and hands-on activities that are a part of your BookShark Level are still used. It’s a lovely transition for moving from parent-led to more independent learning.
You can get a feel for how BookShark Virtual works by sampling the first week of every BookShark online course through these demos (scroll towards bottom of this page and look for the orange button that says SAMPLE DEMOS).
For our current homeschool situation, BookShark Virtual is helping me:
- Easily provide my teenager with a safe and supportive platform for practicing and developing independent learning skills
- Show my older student that I have confidence in him in completing his work on his own and within a given timeframe (building that trust factor with teens is essential!)
- Differentiate my teenager’s assignments from his tween brother while they both work on same BookShark Level
- Customize the reading and history experience by adding activities, videos, spelling words, field trips, and more right into the online schedule
- Be flexible with assignments – essential with our erratic schedule!
- Have invaluable information for our homeschool portfolios (attendance, grades, and progress are available in printer-friendly versions)
My Thoughts on BookShark Reading with History
Overall, I’m quite pleased with our learning adventures with Level F.
We’ve enjoyed BookShark science and I was happy to find a similar layout and approach for Reading with History.
At first, I let myself get overwhelmed with the number of resources to organize and maintain. I mean, there are SO many incredible materials in this package! Then, I reminded myself of all the wonderful learning fun we’d be having and settled down 😉
To ditch that overwhelm, I dove into the Instructor’s Guide and soaked up all the information and tips. I breathed a big sigh of relief and and had a homeschool a-ha moment…
Rolling Cart + BookShark Tote = Brilliant Organization!
As soon as I saw my BookShark tote bag, I knew that I was going to put that baby into action. I love how sturdy (and cute) it is!
I’m using my tote in 2 ways:
- Store weekly materials (easier to access when separated out)
- Homeschooling on-the-go (so simple to just grab the tote and know we have all that we need when out running errands, at soccer practices, or waiting at doctor appointments)
For materials not actively being used, I’m using one of my favorite homeschool organization tools – a rolling cart (I’m the proud owner of 4 so far). Our BookShark Reading with History Level F resources perfectly fit (and can be rolled out of the way if we need extra space in our homeschool/dining room area).
As a busy homeschool mom, it’s been such a relief to have all the materials that we need to enjoy learning success using Reading with History. I appreciate not having to search for books at our library (or the fines when I forget to return them on time – ouch!).
Besides the adorable tote bag, my favorite thing is the Instructor’s Guide. The ability to open-and-go (and feel confident about it) has done a world of good for our homeschool. In the past, I’ve had to scramble for my notes, activities, and resources which left too much time for my tween and teen to wander off. Now, I’m all set and even have discussion questions at my finger tips (no more wasted time trying to come up with relevant points to talk about).
F.A.Q.s about BookShark Reading with History
Here are a few of the questions that I had when researching BookShark for our homeschool. I wanted to share what I discovered, in case you have the same ones:
BookShark has a cool approach to learning – levels!
I’ve found this explanation on their Company & Methodology page helped clear up this question for me.
BookShark has a phenomenal resource on its site: How To Choose Your BookShark Homeschool Curriculum. You’ll find a breakdown of options, using with an individual student or multiple children, video, and more.
Oh, and you can always use the Help chat! Look for the green oval at the bottom right hand side of the pages.
Absolutely! You’ll find a Customize Tab on the product page that allows you to easily add consumables and other resources to best fit the needs of your homeschool.
Take a deep breath and repeat after me, “All will be well!”. BookShark provides incredible support that guides you through it all.
Instructor’s Guide breaks it all down into manageable chunks. Make sure to read the Quick Start section, tips on adapting the curriculum, and making it work for you.
A fantastic perk of using BookShark is the 4-day week for 36 weeks. Read more about one mom’s experience and how it’s helped her be more flexible. BookShark builds in a flex day so you can enjoy your homeschool co-op, fun days, field trips, or simply catch up.
Organize the materials based on your homeschool space or area. If you don’t have enough room to keep all the materials out, no worries! Store them in a rolling cart, bin, or closet and pull out when you need them. And the Instructor’s Guide has an entire section with ideas for scheduling the year, record keeping, and more.
Engage Your Tweens & Teens Using BookShark Reading with History
If you want to continue to make learning interesting and fun for your older kids, BookShark Reading with History is a no-brainer. It’s a secular homeschool curriculum that empowers you with the resources and support you need without all the stress.
We’ve been using Level F for several weeks now. I can tell that our homeschool year is going to be filled with rich learning experiences and special moments together.
Also, I’m doing a major happy dance watching my teen’s independent learning skills thrive using BookShark Virtual.
Pop over to BookShark and get the nitty-gritty on Reading with History Level F – Eastern Hemisphere!
While you’re there, make sure to explore packages available for other subjects, like Language Arts, Science, and more.
Please let me know if you have any questions about BookShark Reading with History Level F – Eastern Hemisphere. Wishing you tons of learning fun!