Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 36

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Chapter 36 in Story of the World volume 3 covers the end of the slave trade. We were very happy the abolitionists succeeded in their worthy endeavor. We discussed greed and how the desire for more money makes people do horrible things.

Abolitionist Poster

Abolitionist Poster

For our craft, we made an abolitionist poster – a very basic one. Large construction paper instead of poster board. Where would I put a poster board? We already have too little wall space because we have so many windows. Besides, I could not even fit a poster board in their craft bins (which are rather large, mind you). Continue reading »

So I opted for a large construction paper in red – a color which demands attention. I made a copy of the poem provided and taped it in the middle. We looked up four Bible verses which condemn slavery and the kidnapping of people.

Abolitionist poster

Each child added their own anti-slavery image on each side of the poem.

One verse was from the Old Testament and three from the New Testament: Exodus 21:16, Galatians 3:28, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, and Luke 4:18. Of course, there are so many more verses which condemn slavery. It is a disgrace that Christians used to use the Bible to condone this abominable practice.

When they get a bit older, I will have them read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It will give them an immersion into that universe and the people in it. It is a sad chapter in world history, but research shows there are more slaves in the world today than back in the 19th century. How awful!

Human trafficking is a tough conversation to have with small children, so I am reserving that one for the next time we go through the curriculum.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 34

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Chapter 34 took us to South America in order to meet a certain Simon Bolivar. The craft was edible and easy to make: arroz con leche. We used to make a lot of “rice with milk” when I was growing up in Romania, so it was a familiar dish to me.

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche

The difference was the orange juice and the cinnamon. I have to say, I did not expect the orange juice to give it a nice flavor. It just did not seem right. Continue reading »

Once I tried it though, I was really impressed. The rice is starchy and the milk has protein, so, in a way, it is a bit of a heavy dish. But the orange juice gives it a lift, a tropical nuance that makes it very pleasant.

If you can, try to make this dish for this chapter. Depending on your rice, you might have to cook it longer. I have the kind of rice that needs a good 45 minutes to cook. In conclusion, this was a rice pudding with a South American flavor. Very, very nice.

Ingredients for arroz con leche

Ingredients for arroz con leche

The kids noticed that greed seems to be a running theme through history. Even liberators like Simon Bolivar end up giving in to their humanity and seek a throne for life. Is it any wonder that it is hard to work toward term limits in our American Congress?

We had a conversation about our fallen human nature. We may say now that we are not interested in power, but when the opportunity is given to us, there’s no telling where our greed might take us.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 26

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Chapter 26 in Volume 3 took us to Russia. Catherine the Great made a big impression on my daughter. Of course, the paper dolls were a hit. She decorated every single one and made sure she could stick and remove them with Velcro dots.

Catherine the Great Paper Dolls

Cutting out the paper dolls representing Catherine the Great

My son was disgusted with Peter Ulrich’s behavior. It’s good for them to see good monarchs and bad monarchs. We talk about legacy sometimes. What do we want people to think of when they remember us, after we are gone? Continue reading »

It may sound like a terrible subject for children, but I think it is important for them to remember that, one day, they will be gone. However, their actions will live on in the memory of others. How do we want to be remembered?

Cutting Velcro dots

Tiny Velcro dots were needed for the crowns

My daughter said, “I am glad Catherine made Russia into a great nation.” We discussed several details about her reign. Even though she still believed God gave her the right to be queen, Catherine improved the lives of all Russians when she was in power.

It is always good for little girls to have strong female role models, especially when schools for women are created and women are empowered through education.

Catherine the Great Paper Dolls

Catherine the Great Paper Dolls

Too bad Catherine got married to a horrible guy. Even more heart-wrenching is what happened to her children, how they both got taken away from her by her mother-in-law, who raised them herself. I cannot imagine anything worse than that.

After reading up on her on my own, I was glad Susan Wise Bauer left out all the children Catherine the Great issued with other men. Those details can wait for when the kids are older and can handle such information.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 22

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Chapter 22 is titled “Revolution!” and it presents two stories about the American Revolution. The first, Discontent in the British Colonies, shows the reasons why Americans became more and more dissatisfied with England. The second, The American Revolution, presents the beginning of the War of Independence, highlights of it, and its outcome.

American flag craft

American flag craft made by my daughter

This is a rich chapter and we dwelt on the Review Questions to make sure most facts stuck. I read to them Longfellow’s poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” but decided against memorizing it. Not only is it too long, it is historically inaccurate. Longfellow took a lot of poetic licenses (artistic liberties) and only mentioned Revere, completely leaving out his worthy fellow rider, William Dawes. Also, he makes Revere into the recipient of the message by lanterns instead of being the one who actually gave the signal. And so on. Continue reading »

However, I believe we should memorize the introduction to the American Declaration of Independence, so I have made a copy and added it to our morning basket of memory work. Susan Wise Bauer has a very simple formula for memorization: have the child read the passage five times in the morning and five times in the evening. In a few days, the child should know it by heart.

American flag craft

My son putting together his American flag

I have not found success in having my children repeat something five times in a row. We do three times in the morning. No evening memory work – sorry, it just does not work for our family’s schedule. But I still find that they can memorize a poem in about five days of repeating it three times in the morning. It’s quite neat!

For a craft, we made the original flag of the American colonies. Who has talent to draw a star stencil? Not me. Who has the patience to cut out 13 stars for the original 13 colonies? Not me, nor my children.

Star Stickers for American flag

My daughter using star stickers on her flag craft

Instead, I gave them some of my sticker stars, which I use to reward their good paperwork. My daughter chose pink and purple stars, while my son worked with gold stars. Not exactly historically accurate, but they had fun and got a bit of artistic endeavor in for the day. Plus, they were proud of their flags.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 9

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Chapter 9 deals with the Western War or the Thirty Years’ War. This was a fascinating lesson to me. I had forgotten the details of this war. After all, it has been decades since I studied it in school. Now that I know more about the difference between Catholics and Protestants, I looked at the story in a different light anyway.

Shredded apples

Shredded apples for the Swedish apple cake

First of all, religious wars are sad. We talked about the fact that war may be a necessary evil at times, but it should never start simply because you persecute somebody for their faith. Continue reading »

For our craft, I made a Swedish apple cake according to the recipe in the Activity Book. It was fun and, as usual, I substituted some ingredients for health reasons. No matter how you cut it, one cup of sugar in a cake recipe seems extremely rich. I used some molasses and honey instead of the sugar. I definitely did not use a cup of the sweeteners.

Molasses, coconut oil and honey

Molasses, coconut oil and honey

My suggestion to you it to omit the nutmeg in the recipe. Even though I like nutmeg, it totally seemed to overwhelm the cloves and other ingredients. So skip the nutmeg altogether and make your Swedish apple cake more palatable.

Swedish apple cake

Swedish apple cake

The consistency was more that of a fruit cake – dense and fruity. I was the only one who consumed this apple cake and that’s because I don’t believe in throwing away food. Maybe I went too far with my substitutions? Maybe it is supposed to be that way?

Swedish apple cake in pan

Swedish apple cake in pan

It was edible, especially with a cup of milk nearby, but I am not a picky eater. My children tried it and did not like it. It must have been the nutmeg, but I also think that the name “cake” made them expect something fluffier and softer.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 came with two stories, but they both focused on King James. I know it’s a bit much to read two stories in one sitting, and work through questions and narration, but we do it because, frankly, I find it hard to split history in two days during the week. Plus we have been doing this through the summer and the kids could take it.

When I finish one story, I ask them the comprehension questions. Then, I ask my eight-year-old to narrate the story back to me. As soon as he stops, they say, “Next story! Next story!” So it’s not like I am stressing them out or making them suffer. They love history.  Continue reading »

It was interesting to see they were making connections today. When I mentioned Westminster Abbey, my daughter said, “That’s where Handel is buried!” She has been listening to some CDs about the lives of different composers and obviously she is connecting the dots.

One thing they did differently today was my daughter decided to copy her brother in his coloring. So if you see a cat in the original coloring page, you can also see it in her page, except hers is reversed (she is left-handed).

If you look closely, there’s even a lion on the sails – probably an inspiration from the Dawn Treader – the Narnia book we are reading right now. They have Aslan on their sails. They were impressed with the number of scholars King James got together to translate the Bible (54).

I decided I was not ready to do crafts so we did not do them.

Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 14

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I read Chapter 14 to the kids in the car, while my husband was driving us to the piano recital. It was my way of distracting everybody – especially myself – from nervousness. I think it worked. My kids did well on their recital, considering their age. It was my daughter’s first piano recital and she played two songs. My son played three songs. It was his second piano recital.

Homemade viking bread

Crusty, gritty and oh so yummy viking bread

Lots of nervousness going on and lots of dynamics among all of us, so I decided we needed to distract ourselves completely with history.  Continue reading »

Chapter 14 deals with the arrival of the Norsemen. There are two historical stories and two Nordic legends. Very interesting and useful information as we deal with today’s pop culture. I have not shown the kids movies like The Avengers, but Thor seems to be popping up everywhere these days, even in commercials. It helps to have a background on this character.

Viking Bread Dough

Viking bread before going into the oven to bake for one hour

The funny thing is, we managed to read everything but the last paragraph before we got to the recital hall. So we had to do a little re-cap a few days later and answer the questions and try a narration exercise.

Jam on viking bread

To take away the baking soda taste, try putting jam or even cranberry sauce on your viking bread

After that, I decided making viking bread was easier than trying to fold and paste together a viking boat. So here I go again, into the kitchen, cooking something for our history lesson. I actually enjoy this exercise. Just thought I’d make that clear, because I am not complaining. Crafts you can eat, that’s good. Crafts you have to store, not good. Crafts that must be thrown away (after all that hard work!) because of their odd shape and size, definitely not good.

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 26

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Chapter 26 finally introduced us to the ancient civilizations of the Americas. I showed them on a world map how we moved from the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean Sea across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. My daughter misunderstood. She thought we were done with Ancient History and we were going to now study more recent events. She was excited!

First off, I had no idea she had any feelings or opinions about what kind of historical period we were learning. I love these moments in our homeschool when I discover how my children feel about what we do.

Rabbit Shoots the Moon comic strip

Rabbit Shoots the Moon comic strip

I don’t necessarily change our routine or curriculum based on their likes or dislikes, but it’s good to keep my ear to the ground and be in touch with their true selves, their inner lives.

The Americas Coloring Page

Coloring page by my son

That is a major reason to homeschool. So many parents who send their children to school have no idea who their children really are, by virtue of the schedule which keeps them apart for most of the day.

Continue reading »

I read them the three stories and they colored the map and the comic strip. We made tapioca pudding. My daughter and I are big fans of tapioca pudding. Daddy and son, not so much. Oh well. More for the girls in the family, right?

The recipe provided in the activity book calls for a lot of sugar. De gustibus non est disputandum, of course, but I am just forewarning you that even the minute tapioca pudding recipe on the box calls for a lot less sugar. You can always sweeten it more with dried fruit, which helps with decorating the pudding, too. Just my two cents’ worth.

Story of The World, Volume 1, Introduction

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Story Sunday is a new series on Homeschool Ways – a series about how we learn from Story of the World, Volume 1 in our homeschool.

I will link up regularly to SOTW Blog Roll 2014, which, by the way, offers a number of inspirational blog posts from many other families using this history curriculum.  Continue reading »

We use mostly library books for the suggested reading titles, but we bought the four recommended history encyclopedias. I have a card in three different libraries within our county. Since I don’t want to spend time pulling books off the shelves in three different locations, I learned how to place reserves online. Then, I had to call them to find out if they call me when the books are ready for me at the Circulation Desk.

Mom and son digging for an archaeology study

We dug a hole for our artifacts.

It’s a good thing I called. It turns out that at least one of the libraries has gotten pretty tired with people placing reserves and never picking up the books. They were even questioning if they should remove that option from their website. I assured them that I would show up. 🙂

It’s details like this one that can make homeschooling smooth or bumpy. I like smooth, don’t you? So I communicate as much as I can with all the parties involved.

For the Introduction, I read the whole chapter to my children in one sitting and we built a timeline of their lives – pictures of themselves at different ages, taped on poster board.

I should have read only one section at a time. The Introduction is pretty theoretical, even though Ms. Bauer uses a story line to explain her points. I lost the kids towards the end, but it’s all good. That’s how I can learn where their limitations are.

My daughter is only four – a PreK student or, if you will, a K4 student. As such, she sits with us through the reading time, but I will not require her to build a history notebook. I do print out the coloring pages and maps for her and she likes coloring them.

Archaeology Booklet

I also plan to involve her in our projects, if she is interested. Today, for instance, she came and helped with cleaning the artifacts, the shovels, and the boots – of her own free will. Then she asked me to sit with her “in school” and tell her how things get covered up. So some things do stay with her and she wants reassurance that I will give her attention when she needs to really grasp a new concept.

I am sharing all these details because I really was not sure whether I should start history with a first grader, let alone a K4 student. And yet, I see that their minds are able to grasp things. Since I don’t require perfection, they don’t get stressed out. This history study is more about having fun doing hands-on projects together, while being exposed to names, concepts, vocabulary and a time frame for the world around us.

We read the suggested literature titles at night, before bedtime, during our regular read-aloud routine. They really got into these, because they are picture books.

Bou hauling tools to a dig site, red wagon hitched to his bike

My son hauling tools to the dig site, red wagon hitched to his bike

Next, we got started on the family tree booklet. My son will interview different family members as we have contact with them in the next few weeks. My family lives overseas and we Skype regularly, but you never know when we catch up with each other.

For the review and narration exercises, I printed out a booklet I found on one of the SOTW blogs I mentioned above. Since my son cannot write comfortably yet, I work with him orally and then I write down what he narrates back to me.

He wasn’t as excited about these pen-and-paper exercises as he was about our archaeological dig. We buried some artifacts in our backyard – things which would tell others about our civilization (a spoon, keys, a cell phone battery, a particle board, a pen, a plastic toy).

My son loved digging and burying the “artifacts.” We waited a few days and then we dug them all back up.

So far, I have noticed that he learns best if his whole body is engaged – like digging, riding his bicycle, and towing our red wagon which he filled up with shovels and boundary markers.

But something has to trigger interest before he even gets there. The book that turned the switch on for him was Archaeologists Dig for Clues. It had pictures and he could see what in the world I am talking about. He is very visual, not just kinesthetic.

Boy digging an archaeological site

My son digging at our archaeological site, which I made into a grid with four skewers and yarn.

Last but not least, I realized the importance of repetition, especially for new vocabulary and concepts. He only got the definition of history and archaeology after we repeated it over a few days. So I ordered the SOTW Vol. 1 CDs. We will listen to them in the car as we commute to different activities.

Muddy keys on a blue sieve

The first “artifact” we found: two keys on a ring. This ancient civilization believed houses must be locked to be protected. Fascinating!

On the Facebook group for SOTW Vol. 1 users, many people rave about listening to the CDs and how much it has helped them. Bonus: you get to hear the pronunciation of all these ancient names mentioned in the book. The activity guide includes a great pronunciation guide, but one can never be too sure when it comes to foreign names.

I created a Pinterest Board with all the cool projects I find online and might want to do when the time comes. I will add to it as I study and plan my lessons.

In conclusion, we are excited to delve into the study of history!  How are you tackling history this year in your homeschool?

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