Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beginning the 18th Century Study

We are halfway through our first week of study on the 18th century. So far things are going well. Here is what our weekly plan looks like:

Math (individually) Monday through Thursday

Language: Monday is Bible dictation from Matthew 5:14-16. The rest of the week, they are working on memorizing this verse. Tuesday is copywork from the Mayflower Compact. Wednesday through Friday we work on their individual spelling lessons from All About Spelling. Because we are using a more unit study approach, this is all the dedicated language we are doing. However, there is more writing and reading included in the rest of their work.

Monday through Wednesday are focused on history, and Thursday and Friday are reserved for science. Our unit study is called A Journey Through the 18th Century. I have scheduled three weeks to get through this study. This week is covering the slave trade, the French and Indian War, Daniel Boone, Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, American Revolution, Patriots, and Loyalists. Yes, it seems pretty quick, but it is just an overview. We will go into many of these topics more in depth later.

We are also using Drive Thru History America: Foundations of Character. On Monday, we just watched the introduction. This is a 9 week study. Also on Monday, we read from "A Child's Story of America", chapter 7 Royal Governors and Loyal Captains. It went very well with our reading today from First Course in American History. We read Chapter 13 on Nathaniel Bacon. Yes, I know this was actually in the 17th century, but the events were essential to the understanding of the Revolution.

My favorite resource so far is George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster. It is quite a long book, so it will take us the full 18 weeks to get through it. The book looks at the life of George Washington, and then gives a snapshot of others that lived alongside him. I can't remember how I came across this book, or who I got it from. But thank you to whomever it was. This week, we read about when George Washington was a boy. The others we read about were Daniel Boone, John Adams, John Hancock, Abigail Smith (Adams), Pontiac, and Benjamin West. I can't wait to read this one again next week. I also just noticed another book by the author on Abraham Lincoln. I'm going to have to see if I can find that one before we get to the next century.

Our science lesson is from God's Design for the Physical World: Inventions and Technology. We will study the telegraph and Samuel Morse. (I have an older edition, but you can see the newest edition here)

In the evenings, we are doing our Bible reading from 1 Samuel. We are also reading a story of John Wesley.

So far I am very happy with the plan. I still have tweaking and weekly planning to do as I go. I also am going to be looking for some more readers and maybe some movies or shows from the library. I hope maybe all my hard work and planning, can help some of you, and make your planning not as difficult. I am putting links to many of the resources I am using. Note, that I am in no way compensated by or associated with these companies.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Focus on History

People complain about how messed up the world is today. They say, "It's getting so bad." Yeah, the world is messed up, but it's not a new thing. Pick up any history book and start reading. In fact, start at the beginning. Just read the book of Genesis in the Bible. Wow, that is beyond a PG13 rating there. However, there are also many good things happening today and in history. We need to appreciate the good, and learn from both the good and the bad.

I heard a rumor that my current state of residence no longer feels it is important to teach about the American Revolution in schools. That doesn't really surprise me. Why would a government trying to gain more control of the people teach about the dangers of a government with too much power?

I spent two days this week, trying to figure out our school plan. I have been so frustrated with trying to teach history. I can't find a curriculum that covers everything in a way to make it stick. I liked using Mystery of History. It was a great overview of the time period, but I don't think it went in depth enough. I was left wanting more. I like the concept of My Father's World. It lays out plans using tons of books and even living books. However, I just didn't like all of it. What to do? Create my own plans. I love the way unit studies incorporate so many different subjects and elements into them. I also love living books. I love adding movies into our studies. I haven't completed my plans, but came up with an initial plan that we will start on Monday.

It's been nearly a year since my last blog post. After hearing about the non teaching of history, and my planning days, I feel inspired to get back to it. As we go through the plan that I've created, I'd like to share it with you. Maybe it can inspire others who have been sharing my frustration with finding the right fit for our family. Let me start with my overview.

About halfway through my first planning day, I had my light bulb moment. First, I had to set a goal. What is it that I want to accomplish? My oldest is in 7th grade. I have grand thoughts of a 4 year plan of attack for high school, starting with ancient history in 9th grade. Therefore, I need to get through our current cycle by May 2013. I calculated that gives me 15 months to get through 3 centuries of history. Fifteen is fabulously divisible by three. That gives me 5 months per century. I spent the rest of my two days planning out the first segment. We are studying the 18th century (aka the 1700's). For you history buffs, you know that encompasses a ton of information. The key is narrowing down what to cover. I will post more about our specific projects and lessons as we work through them. I'll share all the good, bad and ugly of it. I'm sure, as usual, some of it will go great, and we will struggle to keep up with some, and we'll probably have some utter failures too.

To my friends: Right now, I am very excited about this and really want to share and post about everything. I give you permission to hold me accountable. When my excitement starts to wane, I need to continue to post.