Australian Curriculum History & Charlotte Mason

Australian Curriculum and Charlotte Mason History

Australian Curriculum History

The The Australian Curriculum’s content is quite different from that suggested by Charlotte Mason.

A New Definition For History

The Australian Curriculum’s history content is really an  Australian Social Studies course for the first four years and no chronological history is taught at all. Their “history studies” are spent  working out what is past and present, what is old and new, and learning snippets of about where they were born, special celebrations and stories about their families and other families.

Australian Curriculum First history lessons:

  • Year 4 they begin to get some chronological history and that begins with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s history.
  • Year 5 and 6 then follow the history of Australia diverting here and there with particular political agendas.
  • from Year 7 to 10, they begin with the evolutionary “assumption that the human race came out of Africa in 60 000 BC.”
  • Then you can study one ancient civilization in-depth in Year 7.
  • In Year 8 you study from 650 AD to 1750 AD (choosing 3 in-depth studies).
  • In Year 9 and 10 you study modern history, the world wars and pop culture.

What About Charlotte Mason’s Approach to History?

  • She taught history chronologically using museums, narrative stories, timelines, a Book of Centuries
  • She encouraged us to get children to connect with the stories of the past by helping them understand the people and the times, using biographies.
  • She wanted children to get personally involved with the stories of history using historical fiction.
  • She didn’t want history from textbooks (or Wikipedia) so she encouraged us to use living book history spines (a good overview of history told in a narrative way) to teach history.
  • She wanted history to be understood as a sequence of events rather than hodge-podge of random events.
  • Social studies was taught in the midst of the people of history.

How Can We Teach A Well Rounded History Curriculum In Spite of the Curriculum

So now we have a dilemma how can we marry these two different approaches so that we can meet the requirement to follow the Australian Curriculum (or NSW BOSTES syllabus) and still teach history the CM way. I believe a practical solution is to run a chronological history strand concurrently with the Australian Curriculum. This may sound like extra work but it isn’t really. Since the first four years of schooling don’t really teach any history there is no overlap and we can use these years to get through some good fun history that the children will enjoy while still meeting the historical skills and content desired by the Australian Curriculum.

You can use historical readers and record them as part of your English, Science and Geography subjects depending on what historical book you are using.

If you have a few children who homeschool, you will probably find it best to slot your new homeschool child into the history that matches the others so you don’t have too much reading aloud. You can still teach the Australian Curriculum requirements but teach chronological history as well.

I take this opportunity to start my history cycle studies. I usually do this by choosing some historical fiction to read through and read from one main history book that takes me through the ages.

Primary Years

A Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer is long. Review here . Read slowly over 4 years.

  • Chapters 1 – 26 (3500BC – 450BC) Year 2
  • Chapters 27 – 49 (450BC – 1000AD) Year 3
  • Chapters 50 -77 (1000 AD – 1821) Year 4
  • Chapters 78 – 91 ( 1821 – 2000)

The Story of The World is another popular history series amongst homeschoolers. It comes in book form or an audio version (don’t bother with the workbooks).

You can begin a timeline book or wall chart that the children help create. Later on when they are about ten years old you could also start a Book of Centuries. (This is a Charlotte Mason idea which has children record history chronologically in one notebook that they use through-out the rest of their school days).

You can also check out our booklists for book ideas. As this would be an extra topic you can choose how you wish to record your learning.

This history guide will take you through Ancient History and the Bible. It will also help you meet the other objectives of historical skills and historical knowledge. You can read through the Bible as your main source of literature and add some historical fiction and creation science materials.

High School

The basic cycle that I find covers history chronologically and also incorporates all of the Australia Curriculum is as follows:

  • Ancient History – Year 7
  • Medieval History – Year 8
  • Late Middle Ages/Early Modern History – Year 9
  • Modern History – Year 10

I hope has helped you to understand the differences between these two different approaches to teaching history.

To see my suggestions for a history curriculum see Teaching Homeschool History.

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  1. Roslyn  December 15, 2017

    Hi Michelle,

    Do you know of any good secular history curriculums that teach history in a chronological way?

    I like SOTW but it is very religiously biased. For example, there is no archaeological evidence for the Israelites exodus from Egypt. There is only biblical evidence – which is not really un-bias.

    Thanks for your help.

    • MR Morrow  December 21, 2017

      Hi Roslyn,
      SOTW is considered to be one of the less religiously based history texts. You could try A Child’s History of the World by Hillyer. . You will find that archaeological evidence isn’t mentioned much in these books either. A DK book might mention artefacts. My History Makers lessons mention many archaeological facts.

  2. Gill  February 2, 2017

    I would greatly appreciate your advice. My daughter Serah is beginning grade 11 in South Africa. However we will be moving to Australia mid year. I am concerned that she needs continuity in her studies, especially as these are the last 2 years of her high school education. I am looking for an Australian home school curriculum, that she can start here, and which will allow her to adjust easily to fit into main stream Australian schooling when we move. I am working full time, so an system of study that Serah can pursue independently would be very advantageous.

    Thank you so much,

    • Michelle  February 26, 2017

      Hi Gill, I’m not sure where you need to go for this. There is nothing that really fits your circumstances for your 11 and 12. I suggest you look at the Australian Curriculum syllabus and study the portions that you want from that.

      • Alissa  March 18, 2017

        Hi Gill, there are also online programs such as Distance Education online. It won’t be a Charlotte Mason approach as Michelle describes here, but it will help Serah move into main stream education in Australia. All the best!


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