Story of the World, Volume 1, Chapter 1

Last week we started Chapter 1 in our history curriculum, Story of the World. I read to the kids the first section about the first nomads. Then, we read “It’s Disgusting and We Ate It” – one of the recommended books. The kids (and I) can only take so many pages of that book. They groan and moan at almost every sentence. It truly is disgusting. :)

“Ancient Agriculture” is rather dry for a living book. It feels like a textbook. I tried reading it to the kids and they interrupted me, asking for another book. I must say, this is where I don’t follow SOTW to the letter. I know Susan Wise Bauer, the author, recommends doing different activities if they work for our families. This is where I have to learn to watch for their reaction and not feel bad if we cannot complete a certain reading assignment. 

Bottom line: if the kids don’t enjoy something, I don’t insist. Right now they are young and the objective is to get them interested in learning and excited about discovering new things.

From the beginning, I questioned whether ancient history would even be something to teach in first grade. But, as I learned more about SOTW, I realized it is truly written as a story. Plus, it has all these hands-on activities and reading assignments which my children would enjoy. Finally, exposing them to vocabulary and concepts and giving them a framework of history and geography won me over.

However, I made a decision early on that, as soon as an activity or book does not interest them, I would not push it on them. That’s what I love about homeschooling. We have freedom to choose.

Little girl making cave paintings

We made cave paintings for our craft. The mess was incredible. I cleaned red paint off the table and in the bathroom for a few days after that, always discovering a new spot. My mistake was that I sent them to the bathroom to wash their hands without thinking that they will be touching light switches and sinks in the process. But they had fun and that’s what matters.

We also looked up cave paintings under Google Images. As I was doing that research, I found out that cave paintings have been recently found in Romania. They are some of the oldest cave paintings in Central Europe, demonstrating that early people engaged in similar art activities throughout the continent, not just in Western Europe.

I would say we would take the kids there when we go to Romania, but these cave paintings are naturally protected from human eyes as one must go under water inside the cave to get to their location. Phew! That’s great, because I don’t like caves to begin with.

By the way, I don’t get into the age of the earth with the kids right now. They are too young for that debate. Instead, we started Through the Bible with Felts all over again. I have used this Bible curriculum with them in the past for specific stories. I even started it out with them last year, following it chronologically, but by Moses and the plagues we all gave up. I think picking up the felts for the next story got to me. I hope to be more diligent with it this year. Pray for me. :)

This time, I started all over again from Creation and we are working our way through it to reinforce customs and people of the ancient world. At this stage, people and locations on the map are more important than dates. I was glad my son knew who was the son of Abraham and Sarah. I did not know that answer until I was 17, when I started reading the Bible on my own. It’s fun to teach them these Bible lessons in their childhood.

This week, we received our National Geographic world map from Amazon. We put it on the wall in the room where we do most of our studies. The kids love it. They look at it every day and ask questions. Informally, we do some geography, too, it seems like. I grew up with maps on the walls in my room and that has always kept me aware of the world around me. I want my children to know their geography, let’s put it that way.

They really liked The First Dog and Little Grunt and the Big Egg. We read those during our bedtime reading.

I would have made the effort to make a “Game Bag” but (1) I don’t enjoy sewing all that much and (2) we don’t need another craft project lying around the house and needing to be put up at the end of the day, when all the playing is done.

That’s it for Chapter 1. How have you enjoyed working through Chapter 1 in your homeschool?

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One thought on “Story of the World, Volume 1, Chapter 1

  1. I appreciate your reviews and detailed information on homeschool materials…..:)…this sounds interesting! I will check it out :)…yes, history and geography have always been important in my home as I was growing up and they will be important in my home now :)…..Keep up the good work!

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