Thursday, May 15

on homeschooling :: year in review :: history.

As you've probably been able to tell with my previous homeschooling posts,
history was a favorite for both Audrey and myself this year.
After reading The Well Trained Mind, I decided almost immediately to use Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum The Story of the World for history.

This curriculum is set to go over all of history, chronologically, in a four year time period.
It's also set up in a way that you can use it multiple times.
If you start from the beginning in 1st grade and go all the way through high school, you are able to cover each time period three times.
During the 2nd grade year one should "technically" be studying the Middle Ages time period, 
but since we just started this homeschooling journey at the beginning of Audrey's 2nd grade year,
I decided that it would be more beneficial to just start from the beginning, with the Ancient Times.
I figure that if we continue this homeschooling endeavor long term, she'll catch up somewhere along the way. ;)

If you're interested, the four time periods are as follows ::

There are three available books for each time period.
A "text" book, an activity book, and a test book.
You can really use some of this at your own discretion, for example, I didn't even bother with the test book this past school year, as I felt the section reviews were enough to gauge whether anything we had read stuck.
The "text" book is also available in an audio version, if that's more up your alley.
The book is separated into chapters (42) and each chapter is separated into 1-4 sections.
Using the chapters as your guide, you can separate them out and cover 1 (or maybe 2) chapter(s) a week and it'll take you the school year to complete.
A few examples of the chapter/section breakups are as follows:

Chapter Twenty: Greece Gets Civilized Again
*Greece Gets an Alphabet
*The Stories of Homer
*The First Olympic Games

Chapter Thirty-Five: Caesar the Hero
*Caesar Fights the Celts
*Caesar Crosses the Rubicon
*Caesar and Cleopatra
*The Death of Caesar

Volume One of this curriculum covers everything from Ancient Egypt, Africa, the Jewish people, Greece, India, China, Rome, and everything in between.
Audrey's two favorite cultures to learn about were Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.

The Activity Book is also separated out into chapters, with review questions for each section's reading.
And for each chapter the activity book has a plethora of extras that you can pick and choose from.
Each chapter has a corresponding "map work" page, so your child can get an idea of where in the world all of this was taking place; a coloring page; extra history reading and literature suggestions; projects ranging from easy to pretty impressive.

With all the different ideas in the activity book, I can see how this can be used for both younger and older grade levels. 
This year we pretty much stuck to the reviews, map work, coloring pages (like a Greek war chariot, Alexander the Great and Bucephalus, Anansi and Turtle, and the pyramids of Egypt), and extra reading, with a couple of the activities thrown in.
The projects range from making recipes (like hummus, Indian curried rice, latkes, fried plantains, and mint tea) to making purple dye to building your own Great Wall of China out of popsicle sticks to making a volcano to making your own pictograms to mummifying a chicken, and SO, SO much more!!
We did a few of the easier, more basic projects, but I definitely have plans to delve more into those this next school year, now that I feel like I've got my feet under me. :)

One of the main things we've enjoyed about this curriculum is all of the reading suggestions!!
As you can tell from all of our literature posts, we read a LOT this school year,
and had so much fun with it.
There's nothing like your child asking you if they can read more than what they are assigned because they find it so intriguing, or going to pull out a book and being met with a sheepish, "I already read it. It just looked so good!!"
We also added a bit of writing work into history by having Audrey do a "book page" for every piece of history literature that she read.
This amounted to a drawing and 4-5 sentences about the book, a good, basic way to start introducing book reports to her.
I really, really love how literature intensive this curriculum is!

All in all, I was so very impressed with this curriculum and will most definitely continue to use it.
I absolutely credit it with the fact that if you ask Audrey what her favorite subject is, she responds enthusiastically and without hesitation, "HISTORY!"

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