Monday, February 24, 2014

Our Curriculum: History

As I promised in a previous post I am going to break down our current curriculum and share with you all what we are doing with our girls. I thought it might be the easiest for everyone involved (you know *ME*) if we did this one subject at a time.

As I have mentioned before my girls are very hands on learners. Books and workbooks are okay but they don't really get it till they have held it in their hands and touched the information.

 I have to say I agree 100% with good old Benjamin Franklin. Involve children and they will learn every time. We kept this quote in mind when choosing all of our curriculum.

So here we go with our current History curriculum. We chose to do go with the Story of the World curriculum by Peace Hill Press. Specifically with the Volume 1: Ancient Times books. Why Volume 1? Well lets see it starts at the beginning of history which lets face it my OCD wouldn't let me start in the middle.  These books are also done in a stair step manner. The Volume 1 books are for the youngest set of learners (grades 1-4th I believe but don't quote me on that) then Volume 2 is a bit more advanced (2nd grade to 5th grade), Volume 3 a bit more advanced, etc.

But why this particular curriculum at all? As I said my girls are hands on learners. These books are amazing for that! The lessons are short and easy to understand. Actually my 7yr old is usually the first one to yell out an answer when we get to the review questions. Plus at the end of each lesson (which only takes about 15min for me to read to them) there are several activities. One activity in each lesson is a coloring page about the lesson material. I usually give this to my girls as I start reading and let them color while they listen to the story. Then at the end of the lesson we go through the review questions together (they always get them all correct). There is usually always a map involved for the lesson as well with certain coloring directions attached, such as color Egypt red. 

Once all the maps and other paper work is done the activity book also has several activities to do at the end.  Today we learned about the Sumerian people and their ways of writing on clay tablets. So of course we had to give that a try. The material came with a complete cuneiform alphabet included and instructions for making our own clay tablets. So we were happy to jump right in and give it a know out of play dough cause that is how this mom rolls. There are SO many different activities per lesson! My children are very much looking forward to mummifying a chicken this week. I mean you really can't beat THAT!

Another benefit to this curriculum is that it is truly set up to co-teach multiple aged children. That is a big deal to me. I purposely searched out materials that would allow me to teach both my older girls at once. I think it is much more fun for both of them to #1 be together and #2 experience experiments together.  With this in mind the company Peace Hill Press has an option to buy the student sheets as a PDF for $8. So instead of having to buy multiple workbooks you can just buy the one activity workbook that has the teachers review questions and instructions and the PDF resources and then print as many copies for your children as you need. This also allows me to keep my paper copy of the activity book intact which would help with resale value down the road if we chose to go that route.  Wonderful!

Last but not least I love that each chapter has additional resource options listed. So if your child becomes obsessed with a certain concept in a certain chapter you can go off into your own side road of exploration easily with the research options clearly outlined. Love it!

I was a little worried that my choice in History materials would meet with disdain from my husband, who holds a BA in History.  He takes his history very seriously and is quite picky about what we use for our girls. He however has reviewed these books and has given them a gold star. Yay!

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