Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How We Do... History

Here is the third in a series of posts on how we do each of our academic subjects. (The first was on Bible study and the second was Math.)

I never liked history when I was in school. I didn't see the big picture until I was in college. Until I took a History of Civilization class, I didn't see any of it as connected. Because of this, I always wanted to teach my children history chronologically.

But for a long time, I couldn't really find a curriculum that did this, so we floundered around in Ancient Egypt and the American Revolution. I figured that at least if we had an interest in some part of history, that the love of learning about it would carry over to history in general. And I actually think that is a fine approach.

But, a few years ago, when a friend showed me her brand new copy of Mystery of History, I knew in a flash that was what I had been waiting for. Currrently there are 3 volumes in the series, with a fourth (and final) volume being finished

Why? Well, it's strengths are:
  • Chronological
  • Christian
  • Conversational
  • Creative

We have worked our way through Volumes 1 and 2. For those two volumes, I led the lessons, reading them aloud to my children, and then doing a project once a week or so to extend the learning. I don't really pay any attention to the tests. For those volumes, we did a timeline and we did the learning cards for volume 1 only.

As we progressed, I stripped the history lessons to exactly what we wanted. I don't want our history to be a bunch of memorization. I want it to be something that whets the children's appetites for learning more about history, as well as something that allows them to see each event in relation to a larger picture. It's learning a worldview and a context, rather than memorizing dates and names. (Note: I am not opposed to memorization. I just want more than that.)

For Volume 3, however, I needed to do something differently. As I have mentioned before, since I am working 20+ hours a week, I need to streamline our curriculum. So, David is "teaching" history this year by reading the lessons aloud to his siblings. He is gaining practice in reading aloud (which is something he needs to work on) and in teaching. Is it the most ideal way to teach history? Probably not. Are they continuing on toward my goal for them? Yes, they are.

What would I like to change or add? I would like to return to doing the projects. For MOH3, I would need the teacher book. The publisher changed the format for Volume 3. Instead of one volume with the info and the resources, the books were separated into a full color textbook and a separate teacher volume. I should probably order that and add that back into our history lessons. I think that adds a richness we have been missing.

Volume 4 (the final MOH) will probably not be ready in time for us to use it when we finish Volume 3. So, we will probably take the time in between to do an in-depth study of American History. Or maybe we will do a year of Geography since David already did a survey of American History. Our options are open.

1 comment:

Wee Pip said...

I'm behind on reading blogs. That's a great idea to have your oldest teach history to the rest. I really thought history would be my easiest subject to "teach", but the laziness factor set in, so no...not so much. I love the idea of doing projects, though.