Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We Designed Our Own History Curriculum - Part One!


I don’t think it is any secret that I love history. I have written on my blog before about how my parents, especially my dad, instilled a love of history in me by taking me to many historical places while I was growing up. We went to Gettysburg numerous times, we traveled to Williamsburg and Jamestown in Virginia, we vacationed in Massachusetts and visited Plymouth and Boston, we spent time on Mackinac Island, and those were just a few of the places that we went to. I think the fact that I was blessed to be able to experience America’s Bicentennial in 1976 helped a lot as well. Good history teachers in school didn’t hurt matters either. At any rate, I love history and I try to instill the love of history to my children as well. 

Because of that, choosing a good history curriculum was very important to me when we began to homeschool. After doing a lot of research on learning styles and different curriculums, talking to other homeschoolers, and taking into consideration John Allen’s strengths (the only child school age at that time), we chose Sonlight Curriculum. John Allen loves to read, and reading good, living, history novels seemed to be a great match. I was not disappointed at all. He loved it and we spent the next several years using Sonlight’s great history products.

The past few years have been different for us, though. John Allen has fulfilled all of his history requirements and we have been focusing on geography with Joshua who excels in that area. Poor Jacob has just been too young to do anything but basic civics until this year. So, we haven’t worried about history in a couple of years.

I really wasn’t even planning on doing a lot of history this year. It is kind of funny how it all came about. Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew we were asked to review two different reading unit studies. I decided to do the unit studies with both Jacob and Joshua at the same time and, since the books were above Jacob’s reading level I used the novels as read alouds and read them to both of them at once. I was very pleasantly surprised at how they both soaked up the books and the studies. We had a fantastic time reading, discussing the books, and answering the questions. About that same time a friend of mine called and said that there was a huge yard sale with a lot of homeschool stuff so I went down to look. The lady’s daughter was a retired school teacher getting rid of a lot of her books and, lo and behold, what should I find but a whole box of the old “Childhood of famous American” biographies. There were at least two dozen of them and, of course with my love of history, I couldn’t pass them up.

That was the beginning of me thinking that maybe we had something here. Since the boys were soaking up the books that I was reading to them and we had all of these great biographies plus more historical novels that I had collected over the years, maybe, just maybe, we could create our own history curriculum.

But how do we set it up? I knew that there had to be some organization. Part Two will tell you how we did it and Part Two is on its way!

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