Monday, May 30, 2005

Homeschool Support Group Day: Teaching World History

I have a confession to make. I buy a lot of stuff. We have thousands of books and a ton of curriculum stuff. It is possible that I have made some bad choices. Sometimes I get a little carried away. I always rationalize this over- purchasing by dividing the cost of the product by the number of children I have, and announcing, “It’s worth it.” How many of you out there in blog land do that? I bet I’m not the only one. Well, every once in a while, this method does work. World History has been one of those subjects.

We have The Story of the World History for the Classical Child by Susan Wise Bauer. I have all three volumes that have been published, the audio cd’s and the activity books. I am using it with my 6th grader and I’m using it with my 1st grader. It is by far the most interesting presentation of world history I have found to date. (Did I mention how many books we have?) My children are memorizing all the things in the books. I ask them the questions in the activity guide and they answer them. The first grader colors the coloring pages and fills in the maps. He can answer ancient history geography questions that leave my mother and I stumped. Many of the historical figures he now knows, I didn’t learn until I took Western Civilization in college. Most nights before bed, my first grader listens to one cd which covers about 8 chapters. We have been listening to the same volume all year. He’s basically memorizing ancient history.

My oldest child, the sixth grader, is working on book two. She reads the text some and listens to the cd’s sometimes. I wondered if this was challenging enough since it is aimed at younger children. My question was answered at dinner one night. We were explaining to the children about essay tests in college. Neither child understood what we were saying. My husband asked my daughter what she was studying in history. She informed him she was learning about the black plague. He then asked her an essay question. Explain the economical impact of the black plague on Europe. My daughter (6th grader) answered the question, correctly with details. We decided the history is a keeper. My opinion was reinforced by Sonlight using the same books in the older elementary grades.

This text does not have any color pictures. To go along with the books I have the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, Usborne World History and a bunch of smaller books such as the Usborne Book of the Ancient World. We also read a lot of historical fiction such as the Egypt Game, Detectives in Togas, etc. Tomorrow’s post will be a book and reference list. Please add your favorite World History curriculum, book, etc into the comments.

The Story of the World History For the Classical Child
Volume 1: Ancient Times
Volume 2: The Middle Ages
Volume 3: Early Modern Times
Volume 4: The Modern Ages (release July 05, paperback now available at Peace Hill Press )

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