See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
BiblioPlan offers a unique approach for teaching history to children at all grade levels together. BiblioPlan courses teach from a biblical Christian (Protestant) worldview, although not all resources used within the program do so. It accomplishes this by presenting the same general topics to all students while using resources and activities suitable to various levels.
BiblioPlan identifies itself as a classical program, so it presents levels with reference to the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages. It also uses the history-study guidelines from The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise's book about classical education.
While the primary focus is history, students do significant work in geography as well as reading and writing (more as they shift to upper grade levels), enough so that they should also receive at least partial course credits for literature and geography, and possibly for composition.
The Bible is used heavily in the first BiblioPlan to teach both biblical history and knowledge of scripture itself. Church history receives significant attention in the second course. Subsequent courses feature biographies of significant Christians—“giants of the faith” —within each historical period and geographical area. So BiblioPlan will also provide either partial or full coverage of religion for each school year. A chart in the introductory pages of each Family or Teacher's Guide shows high school credits that might be assigned for each course.
There are four BiblioPlan courses:
Ancients, which covers Creation to the Fall of Rome
Medieval, which covers the Fall of Rome to the Renaissance (Note: while the focus is primarily on western civilization, this course does cover Asia, Africa, and the Americas prior to Columbus, as well as Islam.)
Early America and the World, which covers from 1600-1850
Modern America and the World, which covers 1850-2000 (Note: this course has a slightly conservative political slant.)
You should cycle through these four courses with your children, shifting them up to higher levels the next time (or even a third time) around. Selecting the activities and readings for a higher level each time keeps the material fresh and age appropriate.
You can begin teaching a student in BiblioPlan at any level beginning with whichever of the four courses works best for you, although you should have the entire family working from the same BiblioPlan course each year.
BiblioPlan courses are written from a Christian worldview. However, their ecumenical approach make them usable by those from different denominations as well as by those holding young earth and old earth views....
Modern American and the World also reflects this ecumenical approach with coverage of some Catholic missionaries along with Protestants. Most Catholics should find Modern American and the World an excellent choice since it includes discussion of critical events such as Mexico's repression of the Catholic Church. (This is probably the best modern history text I've yet seen that includes discussion of Christianity without leaning almost exclusively toward Protestantism or Catholicism.) While the Medieval course treats Catholicism with respect, it highlights Protestant heroes and events.
The core components of each BiblioPlan course are the BiblioPlan Family Guide and the BiblioPlan Companion. The BiblioPlan Companions each serve as your core book for history content (one for each course). Assignments for readings in the BiblioPlan Companion are laid out in the weekly plans in the corresponding BiblioPlan Family Guide. Within each BiblioPlan Family Guide is a set of one-page, weekly lesson plans for 34 weeks. Lesson plans chart out which pages of which resources are to be used on a three-day per week schedule. Students might do independent reading, research, and/or writing between sessions depending upon their level. The schedule has rows listing optional resources for different age levels, writing assignments for the various levels, as well as assignments from alternate spine books.
Each course integrates historical literature including some titles related to Bible and church history. BiblioPlan courses differ from similar programs since they recommend many literature selections for supplemental reading but do not require specific books. Each course recommends optional spine books that you might choose to read from along with readings from the Companion....Recommendations of fiction for each unit are included in the Family Guide....
The Family Guides also list a composition assignment for each week, with assignments for three different levels: young writer, grammar, and logic levels. Assignments for the rhetoric level are in the Advanced Cool History books.
The BiblioPlan Companions surprised me with their breadth and depth of content. Written from a Christian worldview (Protestant), the Companions are somewhat like textbooks with readings and background information, biographical sketches, timelines, bullet-point summaries, charts, maps, and "Fascinating Facts." Sections printed in black-and-white cover the basic narrative and timeline. Sections with colored backgrounds cover biographies and other special topics. Division of the content into the various sections breaks up the reading into more manageable chunks, and not all of the chunks are essential. This is important since the BiblioPlan Companions are lengthy books....
While older students can read the BiblioPlan Companions on their own, parents need to read the appropriate sections aloud to younger students. The Cool History books for Littles...identify which sections in each Companion should be read. The Companions occasionally have “In Brief” sections that summarize information that is repeated in greater detail. Young students or others that are overwhelmed can get the key points from these sections without having to read everything. On the other hand, older students can skip the In Brief sections since they will be reading the expanded presentation instead....
Within the BiblioPlan Companions, geography is integrated at points where it connects with the history throughout each course, so students learn geography in context, an approach that I think works better than teaching geography on its own. The geography is supported by map work activities in the supplemental Hands-On Maps book for each course....
In addition to the Family Guide and the BiblioPlan Companion for each course, families will need the Family Discussion Guide plus the appropriate Cool History activity book for each student. (These are described in the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.)
Weekly assignment charts in the Family Guides also include lists of the possible literature selections for four levels plus optional movies/DVDs or audio CDs. Another section of the assignment charts lists optional hands-on activities. There you'll find mention of other BiblioPlan products such as the Hands-on Maps, Family Discussion Guide, timeline figures, coloring pages, and crafts as well as mention of specific cards from Veritas Press' and Classical Conversation's history card sets if you want to use either of them.
Most BiblioPlan supplements are specific to each of the four BiblioPlan courses. Some are essential and a few are optional. Permission is given to reproduce pages of the following supplements for use within your family.
Descriptions of the ancillary products—Cool History, Hands-On Maps, Family Discussion Guide, Timeline, Coloring Book, and Craft Book for each volume—are in the complete review.
All of these resources work together to make it easy for both parents and teachers to present history in a far more interesting fashion than traditional textbooks.
BiblioPlan resources are available as ebooks or in printed hard copies, with substantial savings on ebook versions. Sample pages from the various resources as well as all of the options for purchasing bundles, print, or ebooks are available on the publisher's website. You can also download free, three-week samples of all four courses at the publisher's website so you can check it out before buying.