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TRISMS

Publisher: TRISMS
Author: Linda Thornhill
Review last updated: November 2014

This is one of my 102 Top Picks!

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TRISMS

See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

TRISMS (Time Related Integrated Studies for Mastering Skills) differs from most unit study programs because it is research-based rather than tied to a particular spine or core book, and it is designed for fifth grade through high school. The five TRISMS courses are:
History’s Masterminds
Discovering the Ancient World
Expansion of Civilization
Rise of Nations
Age of Revolution

History’s Masterminds might be used for students as young as fifth grade level, but it should then be used as a two-year course. Its target audience is grades seven and eight. It covers the beginning of recorded history through 2012 A.D.

Discovering the Ancient World is a one-year course for grade eight or nine. It goes back to the beginning, covering pre-history through 500 B.C. Expansion of Civilization and Rise of Nations are each one-year courses for high school level. The first covers 500 B.C. through A.D. 1500, while the second slightly overlaps, beginning at A.D. 1440 and continuing through 1860. Age of Revolution might be used as either a one- or two-year high school course. It covers 1850 through 2005. Those concerned about coverage of U.S. history will be pleased to note that Age of Revolution focuses primarily on the United States. However, U.S. history does not receive thorough coverage in TRISMS, so you might need to supplement or use another course simply to meet requirements.

“Time Related,” represented by the T and R in the TRISMS curriculum acronym, refers to the chronological approach of the study, which covers the history of the world from early civilizations to the present. I appreciate the chronological approach for upper levels, since most students still need to learn how events and ideas interact and influence each other over time. Biblical history plays a major role in Discovering the Ancient World, but biblical and religious history is also incorporated throughout the other volumes to a lesser extent. The other four volumes can fairly easily be adapted by those who prefer a more secular approach since the Bible and religion coverage is not a major focus.

“Integrated” refers to the integration of language arts, writing, history, science, geography, art, music, architecture, rhetoric, philosophy, economics, and culture-studies. Writing is taught with a Teaching Writing: Structure and Style component that you can use or not as you wish.

High school students using the program earn full course credits for history/social studies and language arts....

Students might also earn partial or full credits for electives such as bible history, music or art history, critical thinking, philosophy, government, economics, or historical architecture....
As I mentioned, TRISMS is a research-based curriculum. For each time period or region studied, students are given questionnaire forms, each with a standard list of questions (the same questions for each time period). Each time period or unit also includes a unique worksheet that addresses that particular civilization or time period. Students use reference works, biographies, historical fiction, and nonfiction books as their primary sources of learning rather than textbooks. Similar questionnaires are used for scientists, inventions, and explorers in History’s Masterminds and for art history, music history, and architecture in the other volumes. Age of Revolution uniquely presents U.S. and world history side-by-side and includes questionnaires for Major Powers, Wars, Nobel Prize Winners, and U.S. Presidents. While the questionnaires focus on specific content, other student assignments require interviews, book reports, map work, drawing, research, and lengthy compositions. On top of these assignments, students will tackle one or more in-depth projects each year....

Biblical history plays a major role in Discovering the Ancient World, but biblical and religious history is also incorporated throughout the other volumes to a lesser extent. The other four volumes can easily be adapted by those who prefer a more secular approach since their Bible and religion coverage is not sufficient for a full course credit. Math is not included in any of the volumes, although some references are made to mathematical discoveries and accomplishments in history.

Language encompasses most language arts skills, but most especially composition, vocabulary, and literature. Grammar receives some attention in the first volume, but not in the others. You might use another resource if a student needs additional work on grammar.

TRISMS presents an interesting combination of both structured and discovery learning —especially through research....

As students move up through the levels, there is definitely a gradual shift in TRISMS that reflects a classical approach to education. The first level leans more toward informational learning (grammar stage) while other volumes shift toward more challenging thinking and philosophical ideas (dialectic and rhetoric stages).

Students at all levels read and respond to literature, especially as they develop composition skills through activities centered around the literature. Literature readings draw from writings of the civilizations or time periods studied....

Catholic families might want to supplement any volume of TRISMS with An Overview of Catholic History by Katie Torrey (from TRISMS: $14.95 print, $7.50 download). This specialized guide adds questions, topics, timeline, and recommended resources for an expanded study of Catholic history....

Parents or teachers need to put some effort into planning and overseeing student work, but TRISMS offers a stimulating alternative to traditional curriculum, especially for less-than-enthusiastic students. (Bear in mind that students with poor writing skills might have trouble with the many written assignments in the program.) TRISMS might be a comfortable form of unit study for parents shifting from traditional textbook and workbook type curricula to unit studies since it has the built-in structure and accountability tools that are lacking in many other unit studies. It might also appeal to parents who like unit studies but worry about accountability for high school students. College prep students should be well prepared with skills necessary for college level work, and they should have excellent documentation of their work in TRISMS. In addition, the curriculum is fully accredited by the North Atlantic Regional High School diploma program (www.narhs.org).

[TRISMS offers a free History’s Masterminds demo download on their website that gives an overview of the TRISMS curriculum (specifically History’s Masterminds) and is useful in showing how the program actually functions.]

Summary

Parents or teachers need to put some effort into planning and overseeing student work, but the TRISMS curriculum offers a stimulating alternative to traditional curriculum, especially for less-than-enthusiastic students. (Bear in mind that students with poor writing skills might have trouble with the many written assignments in the program.) TRISMS might be a comfortable form of unit study for parents shifting from traditional textbook and workbook type curricula to unit studies since it has the built-in structure and accountability tools that are lacking in many other unit studies. It might also appeal to parents who like unit studies but worry about accountability for high school students. College prep students who have completed TRISMS courses should be well prepared with the skills necessary for college level work, and they should have excellent documentation of their work in TRISMS. In addition, the curriculum is fully accredited by the North Atlantic Regional High School diploma program (www.narhs.org).

Pricing

Discovering the Ancient World - $159, all other courses - $279 each (except Age of Revolution - $259 per semester or $450 for both semesters)

  • All prices are provided for comparison only and are subject to change. Click on prices to verify their accuracy.
  • Rise of Nations (1440 - 1860 AD)

    Rise of Nations (1440 - 1860 AD)

    Age of Revolution Additional Student Pack - Semester 1

    Age of Revolution Additional Student Pack - Semester 1

    Discovering the Ancient World Student Pack

    Discovering the Ancient World Student Pack

    Discovering the Ancient World Set with Userís Manual

    Discovering the Ancient World Set with Userís Manual

    Age of Revolution (1850 - 2005 AD)

    Age of Revolution (1850 - 2005 AD)

    Historyís Masterminds

    Historyís Masterminds

    Instant Key

    • Learning Styles: all
      Suitable for: 
      one-on-one or group plus a great deal of independent work
      Audience age:
      grades 7-12
      Need for parent/teacher instruction: 
      moderate; students should be able to do much of their work independently
      Prep time needed:
      moderate
      Need for Teacher's Manual: the guide is your manual
      Educational Approach: unit study/classical/research-based/real books
      Religious perspective:
      Christian (Protestant), but most volumes can be used for a secular approach, or you can use the Catholic supplement

    Publisher's Info

    TRISMS

    1203 S. Delaware Place
    Tulsa, OK 74104-4129
    918.585.2778
    www.trisms.com