History Compass: A Guide to Historical Thinking, Research, and Writing

$48.99 $36.74

History Compass is a middle school- to high school-level course that gives the basic, foundational knowledge students need to think, research, and write like a historian in a short but jam-packed curriculum. History Compass is available only as a PDF eBook and it includes a separate Teacher Guidance PDF.



History Compass: A Guide to Historical Thinking, Research, and Writing

Grade level: 6th through 12th

Pages: 185

Course type: eBook (PDF). Includes a free Teacher Guidance PDF


What is History Compass?

History Compass is a semester-long homeschool history course that instructs sixth to twelfth grade students to methodically yet creatively think, research, and write like a historian. Coursework is designed to help students find and appropriately examine sources and then use the evidence they find to make their own, well supported claims about people and events of the past.

History Compass was written to accompany the History Odyssey series and serve as a prerequisite to any of the History Odyssey curriculum for middle school and high school students. History Compass frontloads, or teaches you ahead of time, the skills that will be required for the assignments and projects in History Odyssey so that you are prepared and can focus on and savor the content of the history course itself. Ideally, it should be completed before starting History Odyssey.

History Compass is a secular homeschool curriculum, meaning it does not present religious beliefs or texts as historically factual accounts. Rather, it references them as another source or perspective to be considered.


What Resources and Materials Do I Need?

In addition to this study guide, you will need the following.

  • A notebook, binder with paper, or a computer with a file dedicated to this course.
  • Dividers, sticky tabs, or separate files on your computer for the different kinds of assignments in this course.
  • Access to research resources such as the internet and/or a library.
  • Materials for projects. This list will depend on whether you do the optional projects offered, and what projects you design yourself when given the opportunity.


Who Can Use History Compass?

Middle and high school students learning at home or in co-ops, learning pods, micro-schools, or charter schools can use History Compass. The study guide is written directly to students in concise, easy to understand language so students can independently work their way through the course. 

History Compass serves as a foundational course for the History Odyssey series. The critical thinking and writing skills amassed during History Compass will enable students to navigate any of the History Odyssey courses with greater confidence and finesse. For this reason, we recommend History Compass as a prerequisite to any History Odyssey course.

However, because the course is focused on developing skills rather than memorizing content, it is certainly constructive as a standalone course as well. The skills learned are transferable to academic work in science, language arts, and humanities.

Included with your purchase of the History Compass eBook is a Teacher Guidance file. Teacher Guidance offers additional structure for instructors leading students through the course including how to assess student work.



Students should be comfortable writing short paragraphs in response to comprehension questions before starting History Compass. Material is generally written at a 9th grade level. Younger students may need support absorbing the material but will be able to complete assignments in a meaningful way.


Flexible Scheduling

The course consists of 32 lessons organized into three units. All three units be completed in one semester at a pace of roughly two lessons per week. The exact schedule can ebb and flow as needed. Additional bonus assignments to qualify the course as honors level are provided.


What Skills Will Students Learn in this Course?

  • Historical Thinking
  • Research
  • Historical Writing


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Historical Thinking

The foundational skill of historical thinking is asking questions. Students will learn what types of questions build intricate understanding of historical events, objects, and people. They will develop this skill with repeated practice throughout Unit 1 of the course. Projects include examining the broader historical context of:

  • A personal belonging
  • A favorite myth
  • A historical artifact
  • An event they attended
  • An event they did not attend


Lesson illus HC


Unit 2 focuses on developing essential research skills. Students will become efficient and effective researchers by learning how to:

  • Categorize a source according to defining characteristics
  • Extract important information from sources
  • Find sources
  • Evaluate source credibility, utility, inclusivity, and bias
  • Document and cite sources
  • Use other resources such as maps, timelines, museums, and experts
  • Summarize and analyze the information in source material


Lesson illus HC

Historical Writing

All writing assignments focus on teaching students to use CER (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) as a framework for becoming a strong writer. Over the course of eight sequential lessons, students will compose:

  • A short essay
  • A long essay
  • A multi-media presentation
  • A website or blog


Important Copyright Information: You are purchasing a license to use the PDF for your own children. You may make copies for your own children, but you may not share (email, download, print and distribute, resell, etc.) this eBook or any portion of this eBook to others.

Licensing is available for group, school, and co-op use. Please contact Pandia Press for details on group licensing (info@pandiapress.com).