Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flexibility in Using Story of the World

Story of the World can be a great resource, especially for homeschoolers who feel unsure about teaching history. In these books, Susan Wise Bauer has written about for events and people in chronological order, which can help you know what to study.

            However, after using it for a while, many are finding that students get bored with just reading a little about each person or event. They realize the need to dig further into a subject to help students connect with people that lived long ago. The Activity Book helps with some of this, but there is more you can do to keep history alive while using Story of the World.

            Don’t be afraid to use this or any other text as a guide and only a guide. Most of us chose to homeschool because of the freedom it offers in meeting individual needs of our students. You may not cover every event and person in Story of the World in the slotted time, but your students will connect with history on a different level if you are willing to let go of the rigid schedule and explore a bit more.

            As you make your plan for the year, go through Story of the World, or whatever other text you might be using, and choose key people or events you would like to explore in more depth. When you get to these, go to the library and find everything you can on this topic. Look for books on each child’s reading level. Consider putting Story of the World aside completely for a week or two and read together allowing your children the pleasure of discovering the interesting tidbits that will bring a person or event to life for them. Lapbooks are great way to delve into this information. Making a few lapbooks every year was always about the right mix for my children.

            Another thing to do with your history study is to create a timeline. There are many ways to do this. Here are a couple ideas for creating yours:

1.      Create a large timeline to hang on the wall or around the entire room. We once made a timeline that went down our stairwell, across and back up the other side.

2.      Use a notebook to create your timeline. See My Book of the Centuries, available at The Learning Cottage if you want a simple and inexpensive way to create yours.

            As always, remember to enjoy the journey. If you are dragging through each day and hating it, then it’s time to change things up a bit. The beauty of homeschooling is that there’s more than one way to learn history.

           Do you have any other ideas for bringing history to life?

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