Friday, May 28, 2010

Teaching History

Back when I was a young whippersnapper, when I had to walk 10 miles to school, in the snow, with no shoes, I hated history. Hate is a rather strong word, but there were only 2 other things I hated more; math and squash.

If you knew how long it took me to finish a quarter of a cup of squash, you'd understand.

My hatred for history started with kindergarten. We learned about Christopher Columbus. He sailed the ocean blue. He was credited with discovering America, even though there were already people living here. Even at the ripe old age of 5, I knew that was messed up.

In first grade, we learned about Christopher Columbus.

In second guessed it...more Christopher Columbus. Same story, bigger words.

I think Columbus was overrated.

In middle school, the political side of history started. I got to learn about how the Indians were persecuted and had their land stolen from them. By none other than Christopher Columbus and his crew of merry men.

By high school, I was pretty sure that we were going to start with Columbus, so I just tuned out most of high school history. It showed on my report card with a big, bright, beautiful (to me), D. I was just happy that it wasn't an F. I did get the opportunity to memorize The Gettysburg Address. Whenever I was late to class, I got to spend a few extra minutes after class writing it all out for my teacher.

Not my fault that history class followed lunch.

When my Mister and I decided to homeschool our children, I knew that I wanted more for them than I got. Apparently, there were some wars we were involved in, men had landed on the moon, and pioneers had blazed some trails across the country to find cheap land.

I learned most of my history from "Little House on the Prairie."

God bless Michael Landon.

During 17 years (and counting) of our homeschooling experience, I have tried numerous curriculum. In fact, I have enough curriculum to teach 12 years of history and not repeat any one book!

I may or may not have a problem with book hoarding.

Here are our favorites...

Beautiful Feet Books~We have loved these books. The guide has only been used sparingly, mainly for ideas for me. In grade school, the goal is to engage your child and give them the desire to learn more. Half of the illustrations are in color, the other black and white. We photocopied some of the b&w's for coloring pages and made a timeline on the wall with them.

All American History~We started these in middle school, but took them into early high school. Now there is a second volume, which we will be adding. Volume 2 starts with the Civil War and goes to the 21st century. We used "History through the Age"s by Homeschool in the Woods for our timeline figures, which the kids enjoyed. Photocopy these onto cardstock if you will need to save them for younger children.

There are plenty of mapping assignments that coincide with the lessons.

For high school, United States History, by BJU is an excellent resource. No picture with this one though, it is currently in storage...meaning it is buried beneath a pile of things that I need to sort through.

Tomorrow is another day.

For world history in elementary and middle school, The Story of the World is perfection. I am so in love with this series, words cannot describe it. As part of the Sonlight curriculum, we received the textbook, but only recently stumbled on the activity book. There are 3 more books and activity books after this one.

Where, oh where, have you been all my life?

For the classical learner, (aka: the squirmy child), this is truly the best of both worlds. There is a short chapter for the parent or older sibling to read, followed by some questions that are best answered orally. If you're into notebooking, you could also have them write a short narrative of what they learned.

From there, there is mapwork, a coloring page, hands-on activities, and crafts that can be done. As the parent, you choose how much or how little you want to do. What kid wouldn't want to make a cave painting, build an erupting volcano, make an Egyptian Death Mask, or cook up some Navajo Fry Bread? For that matter, what adult wouldn't have fun with this?

Just tell the kids it's for them.

Because you love them.

This book is needed to work with The Story of the World. Wonderful pictures. In fact, most of the pages in my copy are sticky or have dirty little smudges on them. There was a picture of the book, but I am tired and accidentally deleted it for the second time. Try here for a look at the cover.

This is the inside of the book. That's what really counts.

For high school, Streams of Civilization has worked for us. It wasn't necessarily a favorite, but we needed a semester and this fit the bill. There are 2 volumes, the first is "Earliest Times to the Discovery of the New World", the second is "Cultures in Conflict Since the Reformation". If you've already covered the basics of world history in the earlier years, go with volume 2. If not, start with the first volume.

A kid can only take so much Christopher Columbus.

And finally, Sonlight has an amazing history program for every level. We are using their world history programs for Core 2 and 6, along with The Story of the World. This allows our multi-age family to study the same things, but at levels that everyone can understand. The readers are engaging, entertaining and create a love for learning. It is fun for me to watch my children reading books that I loved at their ages and even more fun to sneak in a quick read after the kids go to bed!

Who could ever get enough of "Island of the Blue Dolphins"?

Remember, history started before Christopher Columbus, it continued after him and by the time you read this, everything that happened today will be in the past.

Also known as history.

Of which I now LOVE.

*I'll be sharing our favorites for different subjects over the next few weeks. Next up...Geography!

1 comment:

Mountain Home Quilts said...

I really LOVE was my favorite subject. And I like Sonlight...I'll be getting things from them for Layton!