Thursday, August 30, 2012

A twisty path through history


History has recently become much more complicated around here.

I was following a chronological approach to history, with both children learning about the same time period but at a different level of depth.  Carbon had already worked his way through Book One of The Story of the World, and then Hypatia joined us on Book Two jumping right into the Middle Ages.  (My plan was to catch her up on ancient history when we looped back around to the beginning).


Well, first it was my fault.  I became worried about how little American History they knew, and dissatisfied with what short-shrift the western hemisphere civilizations get in SOTW.  So we stopped and read Before Columbus together to get a better idea of what was happening on this side of the world.  I loved Before Columbus, and I just made up my own review questions and narration prompts as we went along.

Then I thought the kids would go back to SOTW as I had planned before.  But they didn't want to.  Carbon wanted to study the World Wars, and Hypatia wanted to go back to Ancient Egypt. He argued (successfully) that he would learn better if he was interested.  She argued (successfully) that it wasn't fair to make her wait to come back to ancient times because she had been too young when we did it before.

And there goes my chronological plan.  It looks like we are Interest-Led for history from now on.  I'm doing a unit study on World War 1 with Carbon, and a unit study on Ancient Egypt with Hypatia.  I'm still going to keep all these resources on hand, to fill in the gaps in between (both in between major historical events and in between when they don't have a specific interest), but I guess for now we'll hop through time like some sort of crazy time travelers and just study what they find interesting.

I also really want to weave the People's History in as we go, but we'll see how that works out.


  1. This looks like a great stack of books to work from :) I started out our homeschooling journey thinking we would go chronologically, and we used SOTW as didn't turn out that way after all! We did read through most of SOTW, but we didn't make it into the whole focus as some families do. We are DEFINITELY interest-led at this point. My girls both love historical fiction and biographies and that leads us lots of interesting places :) I also try to incorporate historically-oriented read alouds.

  2. We had a similar experience--my kids would have stayed in ancient Egypt forever, and they had zero enthusiasm for Greece or Rome. I kept trying to move along chronologically, but gave up when Dude got obsessed with Norse mythology, and Super wanted to learn about Anne Frank.

    My two-week unit on Marco Polo and the Silk Road stretched into two months...but my kids weren't the least bit interested in explorers in North America.

    I'm not too worried about jumping around, as long as we keep up with our timeline binders and put our projects in chronological order. I hope by the time the kids are in high school, our binders will be sort of a homemade history book that they can use as a chronological reference.

    Good luck with the new plan! It's great that your kids are so interested in history!