Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 28

The kingdoms of Spain and Portugal are covered in chapter 28 and the kids really enjoyed the lesson. Our son loves explorations and Henry the Navigator really impressed him. The saga of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile captured the imagination of both our children. Who needs fiction when history is so full of amazing stories, right?

Ferdinand and Isabella paper dolls

Ferdinand and Isabella paper dolls

We need more writers who can put these stories into great books for little children. However, you will always run into the problem of violence and how to depict it for children while staying historically accurate. For instance, Susan Wise Bauer totally skipped over the Inquisition in this chapter. She put a note at the end of the chapter about her concern over the topic and young children. 

Well, I can totally understand that. And yet, there are so many other violent incidents in history that Story of the World does not shy away from. Tough choices. Glad I don’t have to make them.

So there were two lessons, one on Ferdinand and Isabella, the other one on Henry the Navigator and the Portuguese explorations of the West African coast. We decided building our own compass was too much work. But, it turns out, my son already understood the principle behind the magnetic needle always pointing north. How does he know all this?

He has a mind geared for science and technology. He has read a lot about the earth, the magnetic fields, the north and south poles etc. Plus I guess I might have done a few things with him in science. I guess. I’m kidding. I don’t guess. I know we have covered a lot of ground in science, which is why he has always scored really, really high in science on his standardized tests. Well, I’m just happy he’s got a scientific mind.

The map again was cause for celebration, as I realized they understand where things are. They ran between the wall map of the world and the map for this chapter and we looked at the coast of Africa and how the Portuguese never made it to South Africa.

At the end of the day, when I tuck them in, I ask each of them what their high point of the day was, as well as their low point. My son said reading about Henry the Navigator was the high point of his day. Wow! That’s one for the books.


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