Friday, July 19, 2013

Homemade History - Week 1

Because I'm excited about our homemade history program this year, I really want to share it with you. I've gotten feedback from my kids, and they're happy with it so far. To be fair, we're only one week in, but I hope it's a plan that will stick.

Week 1 Topic: Prehistory

Monday and Tuesday: Reading and notes. I pulled readings from the Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World (pp. 6-13), Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (pp. viii-7), and Usborne World History (pp. 10-82).  I also requested a couple of library books.  I did not require the kids to read all of this (most of the time we will have far fewer reading options with far fewer pages, but I started off with a big chunk o' history, so there were a lot of choices).  We spent these days discussing interesting tidbits from the books that the kids did read.  I wanted to give them a wide range of reading choices so they didn't feel stuck with something they considered drudgery.  M1 really liked the Usborne book; M2 preferred the library books that we picked up on Wednesday.  Perfect.

Tuesday: After we finished our reading and discussion, we looked at the world map from Map Trek and labeled continents, oceans, and a few other notable landforms and bodies of water.

Wednesday: We picked up our library books on Wednesday.  We also took a look into History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations - we briefly discussed the progression of ancient civilizations that we'll study this year and compared the length of each empire/dynasty to time in general, specifically prehistory and the millions and millions of years before humankind even walked the earth. We visited ChronoZoom and National Geographic and watched several videos about dinosaurs, pre-human earth, etc.

Thursday: The kids defined a few words (archaeology, nomad, artifact, evolution), and M1 also answered the question, "Why should we study history?" We also talked about what each child wanted to learn in history this year. I loved their answers. Technology Boy Loves Technology. Now I know even more how to cater to him. M2 is easy - she just wants to learn more about mythology!

Friday: Project day! I let the kids pick what sort of project they wanted to do, and true to form, M1 picked a mystery and M2 picked an art project.

M1 read about the Ice Man Otzi, compared hypotheses of his death, and formulated his own theory about how the mummy came to exist on the mountain. Then he read the link above and compared his theory to the facts known today.  (He was really proud that he deduced that the cause of death was the arrow.)

M2 wanted to do cave art, a la Cueva de los Manos.

I wanted her to add more color/handprints, but she was simply appalled at how dirty/painted her hands got just doing this much.  So we stopped.  I think it would be fun to add other hands to the piece and see if we can really get it going, but we'll see.  It's her project, and if she's happy, I'm happy.

First week of school is over and done.  What a ride! Now M1 and Oz are off on a weekend jaunt to tour a couple of caves, and the girl and I are going to get some boy-free time. Hope everyone stays cool and has a lovely weekend!


rowan said...

This sounds wonderful!!! I pinned it for ideas for our own ancients study next school year! :-D Hope the fun continues!

Sarah said...

Woohoo! I've been PINNED!

Kim said...

Sarah, that is just awesome. You make it seem so fuss free.