History Odyssey: Modern Times


History Odyssey Modern Times is a year-long homeschool history curriculum for seventh to tenth grade students accustomed to learning independently. The course incorporates history with language arts and world geography to facilitate true multi-disciplinary learning.

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History Odyssey Modern Times

Grade level: 7th through 12th

Pages: 197

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

What is History Odyssey Modern Times?

History Odyssey Modern Times (“Modern Times”) is a year-long homeschool history curriculum for seventh to tenth grade students accustomed to learning independently. The course incorporates history with language arts and world geography to facilitate true multi-disciplinary learning. Mapwork, timeline work, reading, and writing assignments create an academically rigorous homeschool history curriculum focused on modern history.

Modern Times 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.

Modern Times is the fourth 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 eleven 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 any book on the original list with the corresponding book on the alternative list.



Who Can Use Modern Times?

Sixth through twelfth graders learning at home or in co-ops, learning pods, micro-schools, or charter schools can use Modern Times as their primary history curriculum. The study guide is written directly to students in concise, easy to understand language so students can independently work their way through the course.
However, unlike the other guides in this series, Modern Times comes with a Teacher Guide that provides additional resources including tests, background information, map answer keys, and craft ideas. If your student is still struggling to write outlines and summaries, the Teacher Guide will be an invaluable resource. It contains a sample outline and summary for every lesson requiring one



Each course in this series builds upon the writing and critical thinking skills developed in previous courses. In the previous three courses of this series, students learned to write detailed outlines and 1-2 page summaries of the readings as well as biographies, bibliographies, and formal five paragraph essays. Students will need familiarity with these writing formats before starting Modern Times.


Flexible Scheduling

The 99 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 Modern Times Cover?

The course covers significant events around the world since 1850 CE. Major areas of study include:
  • Imperialism and Nationalism
  • The decline of the Ottoman Empire
  • The World Wars
  • The Cold War
  • Global civil rights and environmental movements


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. Critical thinking skills will continue to mature 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, the course helps students establish the habit of consulting primary sources, such as The Gettysburg Address and The Communist Manifesto, and reading relevant literature to learn more.

Building on the skills developed in Early Modern, students studying Modern Times will spend more time drawing their own conclusions related to:

  • Long-term impacts of legislation and treaties
  • The effects of Imperialization for African countries
  • The different ways nationalism presented in various countries
  • The Israel-Palestine conflict as a point of view problem
  • Expansive definitions of the Holocaust, terrorism, civil rights, and totalitarianism




Reading historically significant literature is an essential component of this course. Students will read:

  • Poetry related to historical events
  • Fiction set in Nigeria, India, and the United States
  • An autobiography, memoir, and diary of individuals that personally experienced significant events of the time period
  • Satire reflecting issues of the time
  • Native American-authored non-fiction (alternate book list)
  • True stories of incredible accomplishments of American, Navajo, Sudanese, and Malawian citizens (alternate book list)
  • Fiction set in England and France during WWI (alternate book list)
  • Memoirs of individuals from South Africa and Pakistan (alternate book list)

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


Written Expression


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

Students will need previous exposure to outlining and writing summaries. In an early lesson, a sample four-level outline is provided, but students should expect to outline and summarize material with little support from the guide.

Writing skills that are heavily supported include how to write an expository essay and a 6-10 page research paper. The research paper is a year-long project. Students are expected to work on it every week, alongside their other reading and writing assignments. Early in the course, a lesson clearly lays out seven steps to writing a research paper and includes an example topic, outline, source card, research notecard, thesis statement, and in-line citation. After that, sporadic reminders prompt students to make sure they are on schedule.



Lessons regularly require students to complete maps and add events to their timeline. Establishing the connection between time and place not only enhances the student’s understanding of history but also nurtures critical thinking skills.

There are 23 outline maps included in Modern Times. The course begins with a world geography review while reading Around the World in 80 Days. Students will then go on to map the global impact of the Scramble for Africa, the geographical importance of the Suez Canal, the growth of the British Empire, and the geographical impacts of the World Wars.

Lesson graphic HC


Timeline Construction
Students will maintain a timeline covering world events from 1850 CE to present day. They can construct their own or use The History Odyssey Timeline. Students are expected 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:

  • Identify political and historical setting
  • Compare historical fictional settings with the real places they represent
  • Understand the role of the intended audience
  • Interpret satire, paradox, poetry, and paintings within historical context
  • Explore point of view
  • Identify cultural themes
  • Recognize foreshadowing and symbolism
  • Connect character profiles with theme
  • Map geographical setting


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:
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Red Baron by Manfred Van Richtofen
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith or The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt

*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.