Saturday, September 7, 2013

Curriculum Series {History}

We have a few different aspects of our History curriculum: History, Classical Literature, and Classical Conversations.  I'm going to cover History here with a little CC, and hit the Classical Literature later in the series.

We are Story of the World folks, all the way.  
We love, love, love these books.

Its a four volume series: Ancient Times, Middle Ages, Early Modern and Modern.

We use the books (shown above) and the accompanying workbooks (1 shown below).  To date, we have complete Ancients and are almost done with the Middle Ages.  Modern times is on my shelf begging to be opened. (At which time I will cross reference with CC Timeline cards like I did here and here.)

We do not use the tests and answer key book.  I'll explain why below.

The first year, I bought the text, one workbook and tests.  In one sitting, I would read the source text out loud to the girls while they colored the pictures in the workbook.  I pulled out the consumable sections of the workbook and made copies so each of the girls had their own.  We would go through the comprehension question/answers in the book and I had them do a narration page.  We did this for each section (there are 2-4 sections per chapter) and we would finish up with the mapping work.  All in all it took 30-60 minutes depending on how long/short they wrote and if we had to re-read if they didn't pay attention. :)  

My rule on that....if they miss more than 3-4 of the answers we re-read the section.  
Keep in mind its at my discretion.  If they are questions that even I didn't remember I let it slide.  If they were even close I let it slide.  I'm thorough....but not mean! ;)

At the beginning of our homeschooling adventure, I didn't realize how much I'd be reading out loud.  

Now I do. 

I bought the CDs (in addition to the text) for round two and three....and will for all.  :)
I downloaded the CDs to my Mac and they are now on the iPad, iPhone and computer.  I open up the file and we all listen.  This is great because it saves my voice, but the only downside....I don't listen as well. :)  Whoops!  But...I will get to go through these a few times, right? A HUGE advantage of the CDs....we can take them on road trips.  We have a lot of driving to gym meets and back.  We can easily get a History lesson done on the way/back.  I pop in the CD and we go through the same routine.

The stories are very well written and well read;  I even enjoy listening!
I decided this year that we are going to listen to the entire series each summer.  Its a great refresher AND we can take some quiet time each day or put them on at bedtime.  My kiddos usually listen to the bible at night, but these would be great too!

The Text
40-42 chapters broken down into 2-4 sections per chapter
Timeline in the back.
Pronunciation guide in back (helpful for all the names! :)
Index which I used extensively to cross reference by CC Timeline.

The Workbooks
The workbook is broken down into two sections.  One for the teacher and one for the consumable pages.  I'll cover the teachers pages first.

Information for each chapter with pages to cross reference from 4 different encyclopedias.   
The first year I "assigned" the reading on our off History days.  As the year progressed, we added more curriculum and became busier.  The "extra" reading was slowly forgotten....until right about NOW as I'm review it all!  Should probably pick that back up again....

Comprehension Questions
As stated above, we do these after each section.  Questions are thorough but not too difficult.  Honestly....I'm surprised at what they remember.  My old brain would probably not do as well!  I sometimes ask a specific child and sometimes just call out for the answers.  If its a really easy question, I'll ask the first grader.  Otherwise the older two get them.  

Mapping Work
Quick and easy mapping directions.

Additional Reading
A list of books for addition reading, both fiction and non-fiction.  If the library in this town was a little bigger, I'm sure I'd enjoy this part more.  They only have about 30-40% of the books.  I still (almost every week) go through the list, cross reference with what our library has and send in my list to be pulled.  I usually pick up 2-3 chapters worth of books at a time and put them in our "book basket" for the kids to go through at their leisure.  They very surprisingly (at least to me) read these!!!  Some of the books are too much, so those go right back, but most are great.  We will even have an evening or two where I use them as read-alouds for the family.

Two of the reoccurring checkouts are the Ten Kings and Ten Queens books.  I finally just got on Amazon and bought them. 

Additional Activities
These are great....but we rarely use them.  Not enough time.  I know that this is the kind of stuff that makes the lessons stick in their brain so I should use them more.  They are on my to do list, but we never seem to get to them.  One of the things I'd like to do more of this school year....the activities and projects.  

For the mapping work in the lesson.  Answers included.

Coloring Pages
These are great.  My kids LOVE to color while they are listening.  Sometimes the pages come out wonderfully.  Other times they like to see how many different colors they can put on the page.

Activity and Game Pages
The directions for these are in the teachers section (as noted above).

The Tests and Answer Key
Pretty self explanatory.
I bought these and had my oldest (3rd Grade at the time) take the first couple of tests.  That was back when we were newbies at this (not that I'm sooo experienced now).  I was trying the "school at home" approach; I quickly realized that style of schooling was not going to work for us.  I sold the booklet and never regretted it.  With our style of schooling (Classical) she/they will get the information again...and again so I'm not as concerned if she/they remember every nuance the first time around.

. . . . . . .

Classical Conversations History Timeline and Sentences
In addition to The Story of the World, we are in Classical Conversations.  My kiddos memorize the Timeline and their weekly History Facts.  We listen to the Timeline song almost every day in the car.  So much that my 3 year old can sing along with almost all of it.  We know where we are on our CC timeline compared to where we are in Story of the World.  You will also hear children in my house/car/playground randomly bust out in the History Sentence songs.  (Cracks me up!)

. . . . . . .

Some random notes....

We also do a few of the Memoria Press Classical Literature like Famous Men of the Middle Ages and D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths.  Both of which are great, but I will cover those under Classical Studies since this post is already waaay longer than I intended.

Also, I'm currently working on a History timeline for our schoolroom.  I've had about a ga-zillion different ideas in my head about how and what.  I just can't decide.  If anyone has any suggestions, please holler.  I know it would be so great for them to tie all the other aspects of our school into one giant timeline.

Lastly, let me just say.....I am really enjoying History this time around.  
(I didn't appreciate it at all going through school.  I memorized what I needed to know to ace the test and it quickly deleted the information from my brain to make room for the next batch of facts.)  

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