Saturday, November 28, 2009

A bit of our homeschooling - Story of the World

For our history studies, we are primarily using Story of the World, which has a well-written book that skims over the surface of world history, and a companion Activity Book. At this point we are almost done with Volume 1, and hitting our stride on how to use this curriculum.

When we first began using it, I tried to do all the suggested activities and crafts in the Activity Book. We built a lean-to shelter when we read about the first Nomads, we made clay tablets and scratched cuneiform into them, etc. But then we had all this stuff, that had cost some money to get the supplies to make, that we had put effort into making, and it just cluttered us up. It also took a lot of time to make those crafts and gather the supplies. So we have abandoned the activities, unless one looks really special or fun.

The other parts of the Activity Book are: review questions, narration prompts, suggested further reading, mapwork, and coloring pages. We do all of these, in our own way.

Our rhythm:

1. Sit down and do the review questions for the section we did last time.
2. Read a new section.
3. Get out the globe and the mapwork and review where we are in the world.
4. Do the coloring page if it appeals to the kids.
5. Free play time with legos or playmobil to do a re-enactment of history. The picture above was a roman fort, in case you can't tell.
6. Over the next few days we read the suggested picture books and any others that we found at our library.
7. That will bring us back to review questions and oral narrations.

Depending on how many picture books we were able to find, we will either do several chapters a week or take a couple weeks to do a chapter. I don't enforce historical accuracy during the re-enactment play time, because I think they need to process their reactions to the history as much as memorize it. Some of the history is distressing - war or the collapse of a civilization or something - and the kids do have emotional reactions to that that they need to process. Children process things through creative play and art, so I give them time to do that.

By simplifying I always have the materials on hand, except for the picture books, and that is very important for this busy homeschooling mom. This system is working very well for us, and I already have bought the next volume of SOTW - medieval times are going to be fun for the playmobil re-enactments!

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