Monday, April 5, 2010

History, Science and Unit Studies...

If you know anything about me from the regular blog, then you already know, I'm eclectic...to put it loosely.  Really loosely. (LOL...that just doesn't seem grammatically correct there, but you get the idea...)

I am settled, happily, with Math and Grammar, spelling, Bible,  and so forth.  We are using Rod & Staff and it's working really well for us.  I know some folks don't like it, but that's what "homeschooling" is all about, right -- the choices are in the thousands for style and materials.  My 'home' isn't your 'home' in the schooling realm anymore than it is in the decorating realm, the meal planning realm and so on.  Ahhh, the colors of life :o)

Go figure...I digress...

While my core there might be settled and content, the various off-shoots to complete a rounded sort of education are most certainly not.  This is where the eclectic comes into play.  I'm all over the place with science and history topics here.  It isn't that they aren't important to our schooling really, but more like they just seem to drag us down.  It's all in the method, I know.  My method just isn't interesting I guess.  We really are a rather boring family here, just mundane daily stuff.  We hit on a gold strike every so often, but by and large, we are just plain vanilla folks here.  The schooling tends to be the same way, at least with science and history.

But, that really does have to change.  And it should at some point before ALL of them leave the school of the dining room table, don't you think?

Take History, for example.  Where do you begin?  If I flow with the interest level here, we will certainly miss a lot of history.  This family lives in the 1860's.  Always has.  We don't mind a good mummy now and then, maybe a pyramid or something, and even a Torrey thrown in for good measure.  But something as long and extended as several weeks of them?  No, but thank you for asking.  It's just not our cup of tea.  Give us the Civil War/War Between the States, we're there.  Give us the Westward Expansion, we're johnny pioneer ready with the wagon train.  Hey, toss in a Little House on The Prairie or even one of the old Bonanza episodes and we're yours, 100% attention included.  We're Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Trigger, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Gold Rush, The Donner Party, The Pony Express.  We don't even mind venturing a bit farther back and picking up a pilgrim, those lost folks at Roanoke, or even Daniel Boone.  Bring em' along!  It'll be a hoot-nanny of grand proportions :o)

But to stick with pyramids, Pharaohs, ancient Mesopotamia for more than a week at best, I don't know.  We like our prairie land.  Deserts just aren't our dessert tray.

But look at all the HISTORY we miss that way!  We miss Cleopatra.  We miss the intricacies of King Tut and that awesome tomb.  We miss mummies and cats...and the Cat of Bubastes!  We miss dinosaurs.  We miss huge bugs and various ecosystems I know these guys would find an interest in.  I may not be a desert person myself, but when you start talking weird bugs of the desert, my brood would be all over it and wanting to cover the yard in sand to build their own biodome on the homestead. 

Maybe not for 6 weeks or so,  but still.

History connects.  And Science does too.  They interlock with each other.  You can sort of force a connection with grammar, spelling and math, but really, history and science just snap together very easily, truly effortlessly.  Even for me, who isn't totally in love with the pair as a whole.  And by skipping through the part of history we really really love, we are missing out on a lot of science and creating rather large gaps in our learning. 

I'm looking at unit studies to help with these areas.  I love the idea of unit studies, and am beginning to grow some really nice appendages there for the concept of notebooking and lapbooking in terms of putting some FUN into history and science studies.  We already enjoy using some of the 'units' or challenges over at Handbook of Nature Study blog.  That is by and large one of THE BEST books I've ever bought.  I can't imagine anyone schooling, or just being outside, without a copy.  We like to choose from the resources and ideas of a  more Charlotte Mason-style method, using Ambleside Online for nature studies, as well as other areas.  And I've been really looking over my resources here for a full history plan, incorporating some science as it comes along (no, we probably won't be mummifying anything other than maybe the stray doll...).  In the resource department, I have alot here really.  Even a stash of worksheets and information bites perfect for lapbooking.  And I do think we could find plenty of enjoyment with it all.  Ancient stuff, that is.  I like antiques ;o)

When  I look around at scheduling ideas for history, I pretty much find the same thing...a rotation of 4 to 6 years, building one upon the other.
Ambleside/Charlotte Mason:
Year 1 -- early history, focusing on people rather than events
Year 2 -- 1000 AD - Middle Ages
Year 3 -- 1400 - 1600 (Renaissance to Reformation)
Year 4 -- 1700's up to the French Revolution and American Revolution
Year 5 -- 1800 to 1920 up to WWI
Year 6 -- end of WWI to present day, then a term in ancient history
Year 7 -- 800-1400's Middle Ages (Alfred, King Arthur, Joan of Arc)
Year 8 -- 1400-1600's (Reniassance to Reformation)
Year 9 -- 1688-1815 including French and American revolutions
Year 10 -- 1815-1901 including the American Civil War
Year 11 -- 20th Century
Year 12 -- ancient history
 And you HAVE to check our Oklahoma Homeschool site...great ideas and resources to get me off and running.  We will be using their suggestions alot.

History/Geography-Year 1
Ancient World History: Creation, Ancient Middle East, Ancient China, Mayas, Incas
(9 wks)
Ancient World History: Egypt (9 wks)
US History: Early Settlements, Pilgrims (9 wks)
US History: Colonial Days (9 wks)
Beginning Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 2
Ancient World History: Greece (9 wks)
Ancient World History: Rome (9 wks)
US History: American Revolution (9 wks)
US Government: Presidents, Government, Elections (9 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 3
World History: Middle Ages (12 wks)
World History: Renaissance, Reformation (12 wks)
US & World History: Explorers (12 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 4
World History: 1700-1800 (6 wks)
US History: Westward Expansion & Frontier (6 wks)
Oklahoma History (18 wks)
US Geography (6 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/GeographyYear 5
World History: 1800 - 1900 (6 wks)
World Geography—Eastern Hemisphere (6 wks)
US History: Civil War & Reconstruction (12 wks)
US & World History - Industrial Revolution, Prohibition, Labor Unions (12 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 6
US & World History - World War I (3 wks)
US & World History - Stock Market Crash, World War II, Depression, New Deal (6 wks)
US & World History - Korean War, Cold War, Civil Rights, 1950-1960’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Vietnam War, 1960-1970’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Space Race, 1970’s-1980’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Middle East Conflict, 1990's - current (6 wks)
World Geography—Western Hemisphere (6 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

Notice the point??  Durn history starts at the ancients...we have to study them. We don't get a full view of the world without them  And I have several texts here...including the first volume of Mystery of History, sad to say we've never really put it to good use.  We've read it, just never really taken it to any hands-on level.  I'm a curriculum junkie.  I like the security of having books available...I just don't use them as well as they should be used.  Their full potential is just lost here most the time.


What resources do you have for units on History and Science?  How do you use them in your day to day schooling?  What is your science plan?  Where is your history going?  I need some help here!  :o)  Share!!!

1 comment:

Blessedmom said...

I'm like you, Ancient History is not really my cuppa tea, however it definately has its place and deserves to be taught. You give me good ole American History, and I'm all over it....I think we struck gold in Heart of Dakota....They don't start with the ancients, but they do go through it. They start with the pioneers and move on through.

The main reason I LOVE it is because it ties the history, science, art, bible study/memory, and even poetry study all together. For instance, we were studying pioneers this last week and their journey to America, and how they suffered through storms, how they saw all kinds of sea creatures...so one of our science activities was to coat our hands in shortening and learn how mammals like whales keep warm, how big they were, etc..our poetry was called The Storm, and our Bible verse was about trusting the Lord, and it all tied in together.The language arts also tied in to the history, and so does the reading. They suggest using Singapore math, which so far we have really enjoyed, but it's very easy to supplement whatever you want. It's also very Charlotte Mason.

The whole curriculum is very open and go, and very versatile and what's even better is I can teach more than one grade/age level at a time. I don't have to do any planning ahead, or gathering of supplies, because everything is all laid out. Very nice for this type a. :o) The only complaint I have is it only goes up to the 8th grade as of right now, we are definately hooked.