We started the second volume of Story of the World during what is officially our summer break because (1) my children asked for history and (2) the textbook has 42 chapters while the school year only has 36 weeks. It is recommended that we cover one chapter per week, so we need to cover six chapters before we start our new school year in August. Of course, nothing bad happens if we get behind or if we finish the textbook after we close our 180 days of school next year…
But when my five-year-old says, “Mommy, we have not done history in a long time. We need to do history!” and when my son says, “When do we start studying about the Middle Ages, mom?” I know it is time to start photocopying the activity pages and order extra reading material from the library.
Just to clarify, the Activity Book gives parents permission to photocopy activity pages (maps, coloring, craft patterns, paper dolls etc) for the needs of their family. Also in the Activity Book one can find lists of corresponding literature, fiction and non fiction, which one can purchase or borrow from the library, to enhance the study of each chapter.
When I met Susan Wise Bauer, the author of the Story of the World curriculum, at the recent Appalachian Home Educators Conference in Knoxville, I asked her how many books she thinks my seven-year-old should be reading for each chapter. She said, “One a week. And maybe alternate each week, one fiction and one non fiction.”
I asked her because I used to order a lot of books, almost all of them. And I noticed a trend: some books were intended for middle schoolers going through this program and, as such, they were completely inappropriate for us. On the other hand, too many books on one subject makes one sick and tired of the topic. But I am a rather thorough person and if you give me a list of six book I will read all of them… I needed some clarification and I received it. Now I have the author’s permission to only get one extra book on the topic we are studying. Sigh of relief.
So the first chapter of this second volume, which deals with the Middle Ages, was a recap of the fall of Rome. We traveled all around the Roman Empire on an imaginary magic carpet, which allowed us a chance to review geography. My kids both noted that the activity page provided was too large for our wall map or for the atlas pages. They came up with other solutions to represent themselves: my son picked a LEGO brick, my daughter one of the counting teddy bears.