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 . 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:
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Fancy sharing your history loves and hates?