History Odyssey: Early Modern


History Odyssey Early Modern is a year-long homeschool history curriculum for middle and high school students capable of working independently. The course takes a multi-disciplinary approach by incorporating history with language arts and world geography.

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History Odyssey Early Modern

Grade level: 6th through 10th

Pages: 170

Course type: Study guide (See the Booklist tab for the resources required to complete this course.)

What is History Odyssey Early Modern?

History Odyssey Early Modern (“Early Modern”) is a year-long homeschool history curriculum for middle and high school students capable of working independently. The course takes a multi-disciplinary approach by incorporating history with language arts and world geography. As students work their way through the course, they complete reading and writing assignments, mapwork, and a timeline. These components come together to create an academically challenging homeschool history curriculum covering early modern times.

History Odyssey Early Modern (“Early Modern”) 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.

Early Modern is the third of a four-part series of history guides. While each course can be completed without having done the others, the writing, time management, and critical thinking skills required become more advanced with each time period.

What Resources and Materials Do I Need?

In addition to this study guide, you will need:

  • The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, reference spine for the course
  • Access to other reference material via the library or internet
  • The History Odyssey Timeline or supplies to make a large-scale timeline
  • A detailed world atlas
  • Colored pencils for mapwork
  • 3-ring binder with dividers and lined paper
  • Books from the original and/or alternative booklist for literature study units. See the Booklist tab for a complete list of books needed.
See the book list tab for a complete list of books needed. The study guide incorporates all twelve books from the original book list into the course. These are the books your student will need if you do not make any adjustments to the course. However, as an update, we have curated an alternative book list to present a wider range of perspectives on world history. Students can choose to replace or supplement books on the original list with the corresponding book on the alternative list.



Who Can Use Early Modern?

Sixth through tenth graders learning at home or in co-ops, learning pods, micro-schools, or charter schools can use Early Modern as their primary history curriculum. So students can work independently, the study guide is written directly to them in concise, easy to understand language.



Each course in this series builds upon the writing and critical thinking skills developed in previous courses. In the previous two courses of this series, students learned to write detailed outlines and paragraph summaries of the readings as well as biographies and persuasive essays. Students will need familiarity with these writing formats before starting Early Modern.


Flexible Scheduling

The 89 lessons are intended to be completed in 1-2 sittings and students will need roughly two hours 3-4 days per week to complete the course in one school year. The exact schedule can  ebb and flow as needed. Students, parents, and teachers can determine appropriate assignments based on individual abilities and interests.


What Material Does Early Modern Cover?

Lessons in this course are organized into two major units. The first unit focuses on trade and rebellion, setting the scene for the events of the second unit, revolutions around the world. The time period spans from around 1600 to 1850 CE. Major areas of study include:
  • The English Civil War
  • The slave trade
  • The agricultural, industrial, and scientific revolutions
  • American, French, and Latin American revolutions
  • Japanese isolationism
  • The Opium Wars in China
  • The formation and growth of the United States


What Skills Will Students Learn in this Course?


Critical Thinking/Multiple Resources

The foundation of the History Odyssey methodology is the idea that gathering information from multiple resources is the key to a sophisticated, well-rounded grasp of history. In this course, critical thinking skills evolve with the increasing demands of the reading and writing assignments.

Most lessons assign readings from the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia as a way to introduce the material. However, as students work their way through the course, they will become accustomed to consulting primary sources such as the Bill of Rights in addition to current newspaper articles and novels. This course includes several lessons dedicated exclusively to evaluating sources by examining the author’s perspective, purpose, and intended audience.

Through analysis of multiple sources, students will spend a significant amount of time presenting their own ideas based on what they have learned. They will draw their own conclusions related to:

  • Long-term impacts of various wars
  • The influence of the Mayflower Compact on democracy
  • Connections between scientific discoveries and political revolutions
  • Differences between the Puritan and modern American legal systems
  • Effects of Japanese isolationism




Reading historically significant literature is an integral part of this course. Students will read:

  • Adventure stories set in England and Scotland
  • Fictionalized life stories of individuals that lived in this time period
  • Dramatic fiction set in colonial America
  • Non-fiction on the sugar trade and the industrial revolution (alternative book list)
  • Important documents of the United States (alternative book list)

See the book list tab for a complete list of resources used throughout the course.


Written Expression


Writing assignments include three-level outlines, summaries of the readings, biographies, persuasive writing, and a variety of creative writing projects.

Students will need previous exposure to outlining and writing summaries to complete assignments. In an early lesson, a sample three-level outline is provided, but students should expect to be outlining material with little support from the guide for the most part. Writing skills that are heavily supported include how to write a biography, bibliography, and a formal five paragraph essay.

Additionally, students will have the chance to get more creative with their writing. Creative projects include:

  • Oral reports and presentations
  • Art gallery pages to display the work of various artists
  • A travel brochure for pre-Revolutionary Boston
  • An opinion newspaper column on Napoleon as a “Hero or Zero?”
  • A book jacket
  • A first-person persuasive debate
  • Storyboarding


Through consistent work on maps and the timeline, students will examine the events of history with respect to both time and place. For example, mapwork will help students see the impact of geographical advantages and disadvantages on particular cultures, trade, and war. Diving even deeper, they can then trace colonization efforts back to trade routes and visualize the impact of war on political boundaries.
There are 21 outline maps included in Early Modern. Students will label countries, cities, bodies of water, cultural regions, empires, invasion patterns, trade routes, migration routes, and more.

Lesson graphic HC


Timeline Construction

Students will maintain a timeline covering world events from 1600 to 1850 CE. They can construct their own or use The History Odyssey Timeline. While students are explicitly provided with dates to include in History Odyssey Ancients and History Odyssey Middle Ages, students are expected to be able to discern significant dates on their own in this course.

The last lesson of the course is a timeline analysis. Students are asked to take a step back from the details of their timeline and reflect on potential connections between concurrent events

Primary Sources

Literary Analysis

Students will further their ability to analyze literature by learning how to:

  • Determine theme and subject
  • Compare characters from different works with similar themes
  • Examine methods of characterization
  • Map the setting
  • Explore point of view


Important Copyright Information: If you choose the eBook version of this course, 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).

The following books must be obtained apart from this study guide. You may use any version, eBook, or print edition of these books. If you plan to purchase these books from Amazon, we appreciate you using the direct links below. There is an alternative booklist available for this title.

Main Reference Spine: The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (1999 or newer edition)
Optional Additional Reference Spine: The Story of Mankind* by Hendrik Willem Van Loon (optional)

The History Odyssey Timeline from Pandia Press (or a homemade timeline)

Other Required Books:
I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño
Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (abridged by Puffin Classics)**
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
The American Revolution by Bruce Bliven, Jr.
Carry on, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (optional reading)
The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

*The Story of Mankind: Due to the polarizing nature of The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon, it is optional reading in this level two course. It should be considered a possible resource for gathering information. If students choose not to read TSOM, they might need to seek out other resources on the Internet or at a library in order to complete some of the lessons. There is a free eBook edition of TSOM available at: www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/754.