Resources Post – History

Focussing on how we consider history!

This is one of my, hopefully monthly, resource update blogs!

We have 2 main strands to our history provision in our home ed. The first is the planned chronological approach to history, with Story of the World as our main text. The second is the ad hoc watching or reading something or visiting somewhere that then fires the imagination and we look into it.

Story of the World

I have very much liked using this as a chronology backbone to history. We are now working our way through book 3 with SB [9]. SB snuggles up and listens as i read the stories to her, and we often but not always supplement this by looking at other books we have for more details for that chapter, particularly if it grabs our fancy. She rates Story of the World as one of her favourite things, and I tend to think that that is a great recommendation for a history core book! It is written in an easy read aloud style, with short chapters, further subdivided, making a chapter per read pretty easy. What we then do depends on our level of interest, for example, after reading about Louis XIV we then looked at pictures of Versailles and thought of French chateaux we have been to and their different architecture, but you could springboard to all sorts of different options. This is our ‘first read through’ of the book, in Classical Education terms.

I imagine there are lots of ways of using this book, and certainly a quick google search brings lots of options! we are prob going for a fairly common approach! we started when she was 5 – a fairly common start time! we have done less of the activities than i planned tho! The History of the World is divided into 4 main sections, with a core text and activity book.this series is ‘designed’ to learning spiral around, and read 3 times in total in the classical way, but doing slightly differently on each turn, as the child is correspondingly 4 years older.

my youngest is 5 already, and so we have started reading book 1 to her, SB often reads at least one part of the chapter and does more of the narration answers with the activities, and actually working it with one older and one younger child is going really well, as they are both enjoying it. We read story books and look at other reference books to go along with it for both children, according to their interest and the focus of the other books. SB is also working at the corresponding chapters of galore park junior history, to add additional material in on this second run through. We are still snuggled together, and it is a great family centric approach.

one of the other parts of the activity books are suggested crafts, and we have set up a home educators group to come together and have fun doing 3-4 chapters worth of crafts and discussions. This is in its infancy, but working really well, with some whole group activities as well as separate. We have also done some cooking in the period, and clothes design, and hope perhaps to have the opportunity for the older children to recreate some of the fiddly technology crafts. [this is quite a mixed age group].
History 1 prehistoric, first writings, early Egypt
History 2 Egypt of the Pharoahs, Sumer, Assyrians, Babylonians

I think I am quite excited! [again a good thing to be for a home educator!] We are hoping to tie in more visits – grimes graves, stonehenge, british museum, various roman bits and pieces whilst we go through the books as well!

As a side note, we are an agnostic/atheist family using this book, and know of many other christian, agnostic and atheist families using it, but there are some subtle ‘christian overtones’ in places – most noticeable with the use of some old testament stories and in the crusader bit, and although we haven’t got to book 4, this is a world history with not a uk nor europe-centric approach but an american one. We therefore spend additional time going sidewards to explore some things from more angles – ie when we looked at the crusaders, we found Crusaders (Usborne Young Reading: Series Three) had a different base viewpoint and discussed a little bit why this might be so. We also step aside sometimes to look at British specific interesting history. I don’t think there is a core text perfectly suited for all families, and i am quite happy, since this is a read aloud, to sometimes read it differently phrased, or have the alternate viewpoint ready as required :) . I am not sure that this series would work so well with significantly different base points though.

Where the Whim takes us

We have a lot of books in our house, and the library has a lot of books. We watch interesting programmes on DVD and TV, and we visit interesting places. Some, but not all of these spark a desire to read more, and so we then aim to provide the facilities for reading more :) . Here are some of the books we have used when we looked at Vikings in more detail as an example:


Previous Resources Posts

Resources overview

Fancy sharing your history loves and hates?

11 responses to “Resources Post – History

  1. argh – more resource temptation!! I know I can be bad but Helen!!! ;) Good job I’m mostly skint ;)

    btw – fab post, love hearing about how you do stuff. We’re using Our Island Story at the moment, which is ok and we’re enjoying it. It doesn’t hugely grab them though, which is my problem with it. Maybe we’ll try story of the world again one day, I have the 1st one at least. (we could then do virtual historyetc days ;))

  2. I didn’t say we *owned* all the viking books…
    We have really enjoyed Our Island Story audio CD’s which i managed to pick up for a song from ebay years ago. And the 120 history projects resource book also really useful [i think jax got mine from the works donkeys years ago!]

  3. well, we were contemplating asking nic if she could cope if we did the dec historyetc at niccamp one morning [mostly Phoenicians ] – just crafts nic!!

  4. Our Island Story works well a CD, you can listen to it just like a story. I think it would work less well as a source book like we use SOTW I can ignore the dodgy bits of OIS easier aas well that way. :-)

  5. yes I’ve been very good and got some library books instead of using my fave store lately.

    I may have accidentally ordered a chemistry set (one you had said about – had a look at it irl at toy shop today and think will be good enough as a start) and some workbooks just now though…. Went through your link so hopefully some money back!

    Historyetc at camp would be fab idea. If Nic doesn’t agree we’ll do it in secret – shhhh!

  6. Can’t get my 7 year old interested in SOTW – but she loves history generally. She loves the first story – but the rest bores her!
    We do lots of Horible Histories, and getting a whole load of books out of the libary on a particular time period and then reading through those.
    Also we mix in lots of historical fiction too. There is a suprising amount once you start looking!

  7. We have really been enjoying Michael Wood’s “Story of England”. If C were here she’d enjoy it too. Wonder if you’ve picked up on it?

  8. thankyou KNorman, my girls love the horrible histories and the Dead Famous series are good too.

    Michelle, we have enjoyed it loads, but actually haven’t had the girls watching it for some reason, i think because of their david attenborough current obsession! but we should try it out.

  9. Ooh, thanks Michelle – will watch that this week with the kids.

    Gwenny doesn’t want to do any formal history, but is starting to think that having an idea of what happened when might be helpful! Was going to see what she thinks she might be interested in and give her some historical fiction to read.

    I am reading GP Junior History (coming towards the end of book 1) with the other two. We just read it and talk about the questions, and pull out other books or look stuff up for anything that comes up that we’re interested in. I like that it’s chronological, and that they are starting to get an idea of things going on simultaneously in different places, rather than just learning about an isolated period/place.

    Violet loved history at home and nearly always had a history book on the go, but has been gradually turned off it at school :( I don’t even know what she’s studying this year, and she’s not planning to do GCSE.

  10. i do like the galore park books alison. SB is keeping step with SoTW with hers, so I am getting her to do a bit of the writing. I think one of the values of the chronological approach is that it avoids the ‘trap’ of thinking there are stone age, egyptians, greeks, celts, romans, vikings, tudors, victorians and the world wars as the most important bits of history. Because there are lots of resources about these chunks – and, TBH, they were ages with specific things to discuss, we do tend to find these are what we pull out and look at with more detail. However the our island story cd made sb want to find out more about the war of the roses, so we had quite a look at that and SoTW with the civil war and the ‘founding’ of america. also ‘big interest’subjects, but less common to find good books for kids.

  11. Ah, we spent quite a while on the war of the roses after watching a bit of the first series of Blackadder, lol!

    I am planning to get them to do a bit more writing during book 2 ;-)

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