"Prior to the modern age and the ubiquity of textbooks, it was common for students to learn history by the reading of primary sources. It was taken for granted that they best way to educate oneself about what the ancient Greeks thought was to read the writings of the ancient Greeks"
Extraordinary to think that most students in schools now have no idea what you mean when you refer to a primary source but only a short time ago in historical terms there was no other way to learn, which is why the written word and the truth have always been held in such high regard. Not so much anymore.
The Rending of Christendom; Primary Document Catholic Study Course covering the Reformation Era is the kind of course homeschool moms and dads have dreamed of and is written to be used with the high school course "The Rending of Christendom" taught by Mr. Phillip Campbell and offered by Homeschool Connections. That would be the best way to use the book, in conjunction with the course (which can be viewed anytime if you subscribe to the unlimited access option at HSC) but there is enough material in the book for it to be used as a stand-alone, semester long, history course. Primary documents are prefaced by a rationale paragraph and followed by study questions. Each study question is a mini-essay type and it's up to the discretion of the parent how much or little should be required. The Rending Answer Key (a separate book) helps parents by highlighting some of the main points of each reading so that they can grade their students work quickly if they haven't read the source material.
Primary sources give one a depth of understanding that is simply not possible with a modern textbook. To read the actual writings of those who are living through the times we are studying, their intentions, foibles, passions and imperfections create a clearer picture of history and challenge students to consider the totality of the time period rather than just specific events.
"To really fall in love with history it is necessary to not only learn the fats of an era but to truly understand it. How did people talk? What sorts of things were important to them? What were there prominent cultural symbols?" – Phillip Campbell
Mr. Campbell's course will help your student fall in love with history. It won't be a dry regurgitation of facts but rather a drama with real people whose points of view will deepen their understanding and broaden their perspective of this difficult time.
You won't have that outcome with a textbook.
There is a winter special going on right now, you can get both books for $19.99 + shipping (that link leads to the site where you can order).
Disclaimer: The books were given to me as review copies but the opinions are all mine. Also my daughter took Mr. Campbell's Rending course last year and loved it.