Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 27

Posted on

The Rise of Rome, or Chapter 27, finally brought us to my favorite ancient kingdom. I have always loved Rome, its culture, language, art, and influence on the modern world.

Homemade fasces

Fasces

I brought them into the school room with the words, “Let’s do history! We finally get to learn about the babies on the cover of this book!”

My kids are interested in babies right now. They want stories of their baby years and they zoom in on anything about babies. So I took advantage and used it as an entering wedge into our history lesson today.  Continue reading »

One funny anecdote for me about Remus and Romulus was that my primary school teacher (I had her for grades 1-4) had twins. Their names? Remus and Romulus. The other funny part was that they were in my sister’s class, two years older than I. I saw them a lot at school events involving my sister’s class. So I sort of grew up with a Romanian version of Remus and Romulus.

We made fasces and cecina. The kids liked cecina up to a point. It has an aftertaste, maybe because of the liquid in the can. If I make it again, I would rinse the chickpeas and use regular water. I was surprised that you can actually serve it out as a pizza slice.


Chinese New Year Books

Posted on

In the past, the kids and I have marked the Chinese New Year with a paper craft. This year, I came across a series of books about Chinese history and thought we might just change the pace a bit. One in particular interested me because it talked about how the Great Wall of China came to be. “The Emperor Who Built The Great Wall” tells the story of the first emperor of China, who not only built the Great Wall, but is also famous for the terracotta warriors in his tomb, and for unifying China when it previously consisted of seven states.

To celebrate Chinese New Year, the author, Jillian Lin, has made this book available for free on Amazon, on February 19-20, 2015. Here’s the link. I hope you use it and download it, especially if you are studying ancient history this year. We found the book informative and easy to read and understand. The illustrations are Chinese-style, so it will be a total immersion in all things China.

The Emperor Who Built The Great Wall

For Chinese New Year, we read some books on ancient Chinese history

The kids actually asked me to read it again. At the end of the story, there is a very informative section called “Did You Know?” which contains even more historical facts presented in a short and sweet way. Then, you get to test their knowledge with a series of multiple-choice questions based on the book. You only have three choices: a, b, and c, which I think is better for younger children.  Continue reading »

For my kids, it was a learning experience through and through. We located China on a world map, we saw who were the northern tribes invading (Mongolia), and we learned that when both a. and b. are correct answers, we choose “c. all of the above.”

My son has a standardized test coming up in a month or so – his first ever. So this book made for a great preparation.

I would have only one word of caution: ancient history is rather violent, so use discretion. The story mentions an assassination attempt. There is one paragraph about how the emperor used to put his enemies to death. I did not read that paragraph to my children. Definitely preview this book before sharing it with a younger audience.

The other book I read to the kids is about Hua Tuo, the Miracle Doctor. As you can see there are other books in the series, coming out throughout 2015.

I received both books for free in exchange for my honest review. No other form of remuneration has been exchanged. The links in this post are my Amazon affiliate links: at no extra cost to you, I receive a small percentage of the sale price.

 

Jillian Lin’s social media links and online presence are as follows:


Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 10

Posted on

We studied Ancient China, chapter 10 of The Story of the World Volume 1 mostly in the car. I knew the Story of the World CDs would come in handy. The kids enjoyed the story of the silk worms. They had no idea about how silk is made. I feel so privileged – all over again – to be the one introducing them to such facts about the world.

They did their mapwork. My daughter colored the page with Chin and his dad, but my son put it off. Again, I do not insist on coloring if he does not want to.

We read some of the books recommended. My local library did not carry these particular titles, but they got them for us in about a week through the inter-library loan program. Meanwhile, the children’s librarian brought us similar books which they did have. One of them actually had the same title as the one recommended by Susan Wise Bauer, i.e. “Ancient China,” and it made it confusing later on as I was returning both titles.  Continue reading »

But we sorted it out and moved on from it. My librarians are very relaxed and if we make a mistake or they make a mistake, they take it all in stride. I appreciate such a working partner.

I chose not to make pictograms or Ming dynasty bowls. My kids have been playing with clay a bit too much lately on other projects and I am tired of cleaning up after art projects. It’s my classroom and my prerogative. I give you permission to do the same when you get tired of cleaning, in case you needed to get permission from somebody.

We are totally behind in our history curriculum. This is school week 15 for us and we should study at least chapter 15 in Story of the World Volume 1 this week. Oh well. This is a good challenge for me: figure out how to get history done. It’s all about priorities and planning, of course.

The temptation for any homeschool mom is to wonder if  kids finish things better in a classroom environment. Here’s the short answer: they don’t. And now, for the long answer…

I have recently spoken with a teacher who told me the older the kids get, the less they get done in class. “If you wait for 15 kids to get their math books out, you can spend 15 minutes… That’s why we give them homework. Because we can’t finish the lesson in the class.”

It was like a boost in the arm mid-year when I heard that. January and February can be dreary months for a homeschooling mom, you know. In fact, Susan Wise Bauer says that February is burnout month and we are a few days away from February. So I choose to relax, take each day as it comes, do my work and even if I don’t get everything done, I go to bed with a positive spirit.

Homeschooling feels like a privilege to me. When I look back on the time I get to spend with my children, nobody can take that away from me. And, if things get dreary in winter, I can always look forward to next year. I have already ordered some second grade curriculum for my son. I can’t believe I just typed that. My son, in the second grade? Yup! It will be here before I know it. No time to mope around!


Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 8

Posted on

Chapter 8 deals with the Assyrians: Shamshi-Adad and the Story of Gilgamesh. If you don’t mind the subject of cruelty and dictators, then you should be OK with this chapter.

Other than that, this was a fairly easy chapter to go through because I decided to read to them only Gilgamesh the King (Ludmila Zeman) and not the next two books. I am not trying to be mysterious here. It’s just that Susan Wise Bauer has specifically asked us not to publish her reading lists, so I will not go into details about all the other titles.

Gilgamesh the King Book Cover

Suffice it to say that I learned the hard way to preview these titles and, as I looked at them, they just seemed so pagan and raw for my young kids, I decided they should be in middle school before reading such matter.   Continue reading »

The first volume was not as bad though. Plus, the virtues of forgiveness, mercy, true love and friendship play a huge part in this story. I knew it would be good for my kids to hear this tale.

My daughter colored the picture of Gilgamesh and the lion, but my son did not. No surprises there.

We did not do the art project or the writing project. Maybe it’s my laziness. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t necessarily want my kids to write a fairy tale. Maybe I don’t trust they will know how to draw a picture of Enkidu. Maybe it’s all of the above.

I know that I am enlarging their vocabulary and cultural awareness by exposing them to historical accounts, names, and places once. That should be enough for now, at ages four and seven.