Thursday, September 22, 2011

World History, US History, Geography Week

This week is Social Studies Week!

Our curriculum started out with just world history, using Story of The World by Susan Wise Bauer. It starts out in the neanderthal time and progresses through present time in 4 different books that are to be used 4 different years, then repeated again the next 4 going into more and more detail. We used the first book in second grade. By third grade I really felt like we needed to add some US History so we added Abeka US History 3rd grade and Daily Geography Practice from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers. We also switched from just SOTW to History Odyssey as our outline which uses SOTW in it. We continued on that route in 4th grade, moving up the the 3rd Story of the World Book and 4th grade Abeka US History. This year we are finishing up the 3rd Story of the World book skipping the parts we already covered in US History as they are joining each other. We will continue our year with History Odyssey and the 4th SOTW book.

I have learned SO much about world history that was never taught in schools when I went or is probably still not taught (at least it wasn't when my now 19 year old son was in public and parochial school). It is great now when we go places and Nico can answer questions and share in discussions with adults about history. (Maybe now I can play Trivia Pursuit and get some answers right ;-)

We have had the best opportunities to learn about US History in our vacations over the past years. Last year we took a 3 week vacation up to the east coast in our RV. We stopped in Hershey, PA, Gettysburgh, PA, Washington DC, and Boston, MA. We didn't spend the whole time delving into studying the history but took tours and had a lot of fun learning while actually seeing where things are.

This year (and the next 4), mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. In our own home state of MO, there are several Civil War battle sites. This weekend I took a night off work, drove 3 hours to Lexington, MO and spent the whole weekend with the boys learning about the Battle of the Hemp, September 18, 19, 20, 1861 that happened right there. We were able to watch the re-enactment on Sunday which they both really enjoyed.

Luca had fun visiting with the doctor and telling him he had a tummy ache. Here he is waiting for the doctor to find some medicine for him. (candy) After our tour Luca came back and told the doctor he felt better.

I took Nico on an evening tour of the Anderson House, which is the house that is located near the battlefield that was used as a hospital for both sides. It is also the house where the hemp bales came from. The evening tour had actors portraying the darker side of the Civil War, as in the wounded.

Nico has always enjoyed history. Living history is my favorite. There are usually WWII battle reenactments at Jefferson Barracks so we will probably hit that too. I can't wait to take them both to Williamsburg, VA for a family vacation. I had so much fun when I brought Brian.

Besides studying world history and US history this way, we also have a separate Geography curriculum. We are using Winter Promise, Geography through Literature. We are really enjoying it. It consists of reading 4 books by Holling C Holling. As we read them we mark the trail on the maps. The curriculum also has research topics and assignments to expand on each story. An example: We are reading "Paddle to the Sea". It is about a boy who carved an canoe and put an Indian doll in it. He set it in the frozen water of Lake Nipigan near his home. As the ice melts the canoe takes off. The book follows the journey of the canoe as he travels along. At one spot he goes through an iron ore plant. The assignment is to research iron ore, finding out where it comes from, what it is used for, etc. I then require Nico to write a paragraph or two about what he found.
In this way we are not only studying geography, we are reading, researching, and writing.

There is so much to be learned not only about our country and state, but the world in general. It is so important for these kids to really understand our world and why things happened the way they did.

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