As I mentioned in previous posts, we are using Mystery of History for our history spine this year. I thought that I'd share some of the supplementary resources that I will be using to round out our history studies and to adapt them to my younger kids.
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History Pockets: Ancient Rome
I bought a couple of History Pockets at a used currriculum sale and they were so easy to use that now I have almost all of the series. Here's a sample spread from the book that shows what the pockets look like and what goes in a typical pocket.
I don't actually make the pockets. I usually just glue the activity to colored paper to stick in their binders. This torch from last year's Ancient Greece unit from History Pockets: Ancient Greece. The bottom part of the torch is a booklet about the history and symbolism of the torch. These are not your usual fluffy cut and paste activities. History Pocket activities actually contribute to kid's knowledge base.
History Pockets:Ancient Civilizations
This book is geared for 1st through 3rd graders and it includes units on Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and the Aztecs.
Here's a sample project from the Aztec unit. There's another page, not pictured that has the pieces to finish the calendar.
Here's an example of a completed project from The Mesopotamia unit we did last year. The ship sails up and down the river. My kids love the interactivity of some of these projects.
I found this book through our library and it has tons of activities and cultural facts about the ancient Greeks and Romans. It has recipes, dress up ideas, games, and educational activities from each era. We did a handful of the Greek activities last year and we will start the year off with a few of the activities from the Romans section. Some of the activities take planning to do but others are quick and easy like this one that explains Roman measurements:
Days of Knights and Damsels
This is by the same author of Classical Kids and has the same variety of activities, but geared towards the Middle Ages.
History Through the Ages
My middle school aged son is using this for his current cycle of History and is very proud of what a nice looking timeline he has.
Geography Through Art
This book has art projects from around the world and helps fill in some of the gaps. For example, I can't find an activity book for ancient Australia, but this book has a lesson for Aboriginal art. It also has lessons for African, South American, and Japanese art from the time periods we are studying, too.
I just showed you a lot of supplemental activity books, so be sure to read how I organize all of these materials inHow I Plan Mystery of History for the Year.
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When it comes to finding supplements for history lessons, my best friend is the library and my second best friend is Amazon. Of course, the reason for that is that reading a book is far easier, less expensive, and less messy than doing a hands on project. Here are some of my favorite picture books for learning Greek History with my kiddos.
Short quotes from Socrates are interwoven thoroughout his life story in the picture book, Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates by MD Usher. For older students, historical information is included in side "scrolls."
Young Pythagoras is always working out the problems he sees in the world around him sith math in What's Your Angle Pythagoras and Pythagoras and the Ratios by Julie Ellis.
The Librarian who Measured the Earth tells the story of Eratosthenes his life of curiosity and his great accomplishment of figuring out the circumference of the Earth.
A gorgeously illustrated work to introduce children to Homer's most famous work is The Odyssey adapted by Rosemary Sutcliff, illustrated by Alan Lee (originally called The Wanderings of Odysseus)
Also check out the gorgeously illustrated The Illiad by Rosemary Sutcliff, illustrated by Alan Lee (also called Black Ships Before Troy)
The Trojan Horse is a simplified version of the Illiad for independent readers.
I admire all works by Demi and Alexander the Great is no exception. It is a well written and well illustrated book.
Pegasus is a lovely retelling of the Greek myth.
Atlanta's Race by Shirley Climo is another enjoyable tale for listeners of all ages.
"Is this a story or poetry?" my daughter asked when I first began reading D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths. If you buy one book from this list for your library, choose this one.
I saved the best for last! The Hero and the Minotaur is a fabulously illustrated retelling of the legend of Theseus. I probably had more fun reading it than my kids had listening to it!
How about you?
What are your favorite illustrated books about ancient Greek history?
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It isn't very often that a five-year-old turns to her mom and says:
"If God is... what's the word for no beginning and no end again? ... Eternal. If he is that then what about this?" She then points to the letters BC in a children's history encyclopedia. "This means Before Christ. So how does that work?"
It isn't often that a child make a connection between theology and history and the only reason is that, as a general rule, children are taught neither history nor theology. In the schools, at her age, students are taught about community helpers for social science and in church, they are familiarized with Bible stories, the same ones that faithful parents should be exposing them to anyway.
But, against the unspoken rules, I have included both theology and history in our curriculum for both my five year old and my eleven year old. They learn the same history and they learn the same theology, and each takes what they can from the books we read and the discussions we have.
Now, I wasn't surprised that she made this connection and used a question about history to clarify her understanding of God. She was processing some of the ideas that we had been learning about in school and in life. The week prior, we had read about the eternalness of God in The Ology (Read my review here) and we have just spent nearly six weeks celebrating the birth of Jesus during Advent and the twelve days of Christmas following, so both ideas were fresh in her mind. (I was a little surprised that she had remembered what BC stood for because it had been months since I remember telling her what those two letters meant.)
I should also point out that I wasn't planning on her making this connection either. I know that she absorbs a little of every lesson that is presented to her, but I don't know what little part she's absorbing. She could be absorbing a fact, an idea, a new word, a new way to use the English language, or all of the above. Whenever she connects two dots across subject lines on her own, she is demonstrating her comprehension of what she has learned, but more importantly she makes a little bit of her learning permanently part of her understanding of the world.
The reason that I had introduced my five-year-old to theology in the first place is because I have been putting more and more of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy to the test. Theology and history are a part of the "full and generous curriculum" that I am spreading before my kids as a part of our morning read alouds and as a part of their assigned reading.
Even thought they had never met, Charlotte Mason understood that my daughter is a "born person" who is capable of wrestling with big ideas even though she has just begun the process of learning the skills of reading and writing. Mason's philosophy of education is a strong contrast to our public schools, where the emphasis is working on skill development while subjects like science and history take a back burner until middle school, and theology is, of course, completely absent.
Subjects like theology, history, and literature help young people put words to the interesting things they are seeing, the big emotions they are feeling, and the big thoughts they are thinking. They should be included in every child's life even if it means the mastery of writing and reading comes a little later.
This post is a part of a series I am writing about Charlotte Mason. Read the rest of the series here.
This post was shared with Weekly Wrap Up, Homeschool Blog and Tell, and Homeschool Coffee Break.
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One of my goals in homeschooling is to help my kids make meaningful connections with all of the knowledge that they are receiving. When it comes to Biblical knowledge, there is just so much to synthesize that even adults need help connecting the dots between what we learn about God in Genesis and Revelations and every book in between.
I came across The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New, and it seemed like a fun introduction to the overarching themes of the bible for my age range of kids, so I added it to my cart with a few other books I was purchasing for our homeschool.
How The Ology is Set Up
The Ology has a total of 71 chapters divided into 11 sections that teach about God and his relationship to us. The eleven major sections are:
Each chapter is four pages long. Two pages contain a short, yet example-rich explanation of a truth from the Bible with several verses included in the margins. The other two pages have simple illustrations that are symbolic of some part of the text. The illustrations also have verses that further support the text and can be looked up by the parent or older students.
At the back of the book, there is a glossary for the theological terms that are used in the book. Each term is explained with a kid friendly definition. There is also a section titled "Think Theology, Talk Theology" which has discussion questions for each of the chapters.
How We are Using The Ology as a Family
At the beginning of the book is a parent guide on how to use The Ology with different age groups: Early Elementary (ages 6-9), Upper Elementary (ages 10-12) and Teens and Adults. Since the recommendation for both Early and Upper Elementary is to read the book straight through to get an overview, that is what we are doing.
As we read each chapter, I remind my kids about what the prior chapter was about. Then I ask my youngest (3 years old) about the illustration for the current chapter. Next. I read the first page of text and ask my daughter (5 years old) why she thinks they picked the first picture for that chapter. Then I read the verse that is alongside of the main text and ask my oldest son (12 years old) if he can tell me how the verse relates to what the chapter was about. We then turn the page and repeat with the second half of the chapter.
There is more that we could do with The Ology. We could memorize the verses each week, spend more time with the questions in the back, or we could look up all of the verses from the pictures, but in this season of life, what we are doing is working just right for our family.
Our readings from The Ology are a part of our morning family devotions, which also include prayers and readings from the Bible.
It is easy to teach who's who in the Bible and to memorize a few verses, but as our culture moves more and more into secularism, it is important that our children know the truths of the Bible and how they are connected. I believe that The Ology is a good tool towards that end.
Before reading The Ology to my kids, I read them The Jesus Storybook Bible since it is a good introduction to how everything in the Bible points to Jesus. After reading The Ology, I will probably get my oldest son Big Truths for Young Hearts to read on his own while rereading The Jesus Storybook Bible to my youngest two before moving on to The Ology again.
Disclaimer: I purchased The Ology with my own money to use within my own family. All opinions in this article are my own. Links in this article are affiliate links.
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I find that my biggest challenge in choosing book to read aloud to my kids is accomodating the wide age range. This winter my kids are 12, 5, and 3 but with upcoming birthdays, they will soon be 12, 6, and 4.
It would make sense, with the gaps in my kid's ages, to read separately to my son and then to the younger two, but they all like starting the day out together with a little bit of family learning before they go their own ways in their independent subjects. The burden falls on me to find books that won't be ridiculously easy for my oldest or too far over the heads of my youngest two.
The selection of books that I came up with center around my oldest son's history unit (Ancient Greece), my daughter's science interests, and poetry selections for all ages.
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We are currently reading the Book of Daniel for our daily Bible reading. When we are finished with Daniel, we will read the Gospel of Mark. Also, we are reading a chapter a week from The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New to help us understand the overarching themes of the Bible.
I am planning on spending a big chunk of time studying Greek history and culture this winter. Some of the read alouds I plan to use include:
I will be reading short selections from Dorothy Mill's The Book of the Ancient Greeks at time and at times having my son read from it on his own so that we can get through the book in a reasonable amount of time. It is hard for the younger kids to sit through history readings even though they really want to share in their older brother's lessons, so I just read aloud very short sections to everyone while assigning the rest to my son to read independently.
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths is a hit with both of my kids. My daughter asked me if it was "poetry or a story" and my oldest son asked to bring it to his room to look at it during his break.
After we finish D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, I plan on reading Archimedes and the Door of Science, I will also be requesting picture book copies of Aesop's Fables from the library to appeal to my youngest boy.
Most of our science selections are picture books that come from the library. Learning about the natural world appeals to all of my kids, so this winter I am looking for books about animals that live in snowy climates, changing weather, and the solar system.
When my little ones start to lose interest, I read a nursery rhyme or a poem. Our nursery rhyme book is the Tall Book of Mother Goose and the poetry book I am using is the Random House Book of Poetry.
Those are just our school read alouds. Of course, it would be unreasonable to read every book every day, so each morning, I pick a few books and read a few pages from each. I really only spend about 20 minutes a day reading aloud at the beginning of our day. It's amazing how much ground we cover in such a small amount of time.