Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fun with Story of the World

Learning about history is very important to us, especially to Hubby.  I used to think that I hated studying history.  But I've come to realize that one reason for that is because I never got excited about it.  And that's because history textbooks are boring, condescending, one-sided, narrow-minded, and heavily politically influenced.  And most elementary school teachers and some middle-school and high-school teachers are not experts in history (some middle and high school history teachers did not major in history, but rather in political science or something like that) or enthusiastic about it and therefore rely heavily on these horrible texts. 

The more Hubby has opened my eyes to what the study of history should be like, the more I see how important it is and the more interested I become.  I will never be an expert, but I can remember enough to get me through, and I know how to research the rest. 

But I digress...

We have chosen for our history text, "Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer.  It is a chronological study, which definitely makes sense to the way my brain works.  We read a section and discuss it as we go, to ensure comprehension.  Then we do the comprehension questions together orally.  Then for each chapter (one or two sections) there is a map activity (love!), often a coloring page (Secundus loves to participate with these), and several suggestions for other activities.  There is also included a good list of books to get from the library to supplement. 

We often orally review the things we learned previously and today we started doing a review by compiling a timeline.  And I am so impressed with how much the girls are remembering! 

Here are a couple pictures of some of the fun activities we have done, as suggested by Story of the World:

Archaeological dig.  We don't have a sand box, so our beans-and-rice sensory box was a good back-up.  I secretly buried several items.  Then the girls had to tape string across the box to make a grid.  Then they carefully and systematically dug for artifacts using spoons and paint brushes.  Each time they found an artifact, they bagged and labeled it, and recorded the location it was found.  Later, we examined our items and discussed what we might learn about these ancient people by looking at what we found.

Lego pyramids and Egypt double crowns.  The crowns were actually based on something I found online, rather than from the book.  I love this picture because Secundus couldn't find her crown (they had been having so much fun with them all around the house) when it was time for the picture so instead she grabbed a Santa hat so she would not look too out of place.  And Tertius doesn't have a pyramid, but rather is holding a batman logo made of Legos that he borrow from Hubby because he didn't want to be left out.

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