Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 42

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Chapter 42 is the last chapter. It feels rather sad to be done with the Middle Ages. My son said he would like to do it all over again. I told him he was welcome to read the book to himself when he has a moment. He realized he could not talk me into reading it aloud all over again.

Spanish Armada coloring page

Spanish Armada coloring page

By the way, we got our new printer and I was able to print all the necessary coloring pages and maps. What an adventure! We have had the old printer for a decade or so and my husband was ready to upgrade a long time ago. I was not. I am the kind of person who will use a tool until it shreds to pieces or does not function anymore.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 41

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Chapter 41 deals with more explorations in North America. We learned where the name Canada comes from (kanata, an Iroquoian word) and what it means (village or settlement or land). There were two stories: one about John Cabot and the other about Jacques Cartier. In all honesty, all this was new to me. I love learning alongside my children.

Jacques Cartier coloring page

Jacques Cartier coloring page

Newfoundland or Terre Neuve sounds like a great place to visit one day. I imagine the climate is similar to Sweden, where I lived for three years, so summer would be the best time to plan a trip up there.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 40

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Chapter 40 deals with other New World explorations – those ordered and supported by Queen Elizabeth I. Sir Walter Raleigh is featured in the first story, the Lost Colony in the second. As I read to the kids, I teared up at the notion of the first English baby born in the New World – Virginia Dare.

The Lost Colony coloring page

The Lost Colony coloring page

It’s just really touching to know there was a first baby born in the colonies. And what a fitting last name: Dare! What’s even more touching is that we don’t know what happened to her. Don’t you look forward to the day when finally we can solve all these mysteries of times past?  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 39

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Chapter 39 deals with England’s Best Playwright – William Shakespeare. For the first time in two years, I chose not to read something from our main book of history (Story of the World). The first story which explains entertainment during Elizabeth’s reign and the details of Shakespeare’s life and career was fine. I read that to them. But the second story was a summary of Macbeth.

William Shakespeare Coloring Page

William Shakespeare Coloring Page

Especially because of my youngest being only six years old, I chose to skip that part. Assassinations and too much revenge, too much description of the bad guy’s feelings of envy, jealousy, greed etc. While I can appreciate Shakespeare genius at capturing the transition from good to evil intents in somebody’s heart, I don’t think children can focus on that. They just get the shock of the violence described.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 38

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Chapter 38 deals with England’s greatest queen: Elizabeth I. Two stories cover her ascension to the throne and then the reign itself. Bauer simplified the plot quite a bit and it’s a good thing, because it is already quite convoluted.

Good Queen Bess Coloring Page

Queen Elizabeth I coloring page

The children retained the details quite well and I don’t know if it’s because the chapter was so clearly laid out or because they are getting older or because simply they paid attention better than other times. Narration went well and so did the questions, though they still don’t answer in full sentences all the time.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 33

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Spain, Portugal, and the New World or Chapter 33 continued the violence theme but from a different perspective. I think it is important for children to understand that Europeans used to look at black-skinned or brown-skinned people as if they were not fully human. Also, that slaves were brought from West Africa and how this was done and why.

Conquistador mask with a pink beard

Conquistador mask with a pink beard

We got a chance to color a conquistador and to learn the word itself. We made a conquistador mask. My daughter was appalled that the mask had a beard. “I’m a girl! How can I wear this with a beard?” she asked. So she colored the beard pink. Problem solved.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 32

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The American Kingdoms or Chapter 32 brought back the challenge of violence. How do you tell small children that the Mayans played a ball game at the end of which the losers were put to death? And if you do tell them, do you tell them how the losers died? Very tricky.

Actually, it’s not that tricky if we divide and conquer this dilemma. Death is part of life and we have already experienced the death of loved ones: one of their friends died last November (still as shocking today as I think about it) and their grandfathers died one year and two years ago respectively.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 31

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Chapter 31 dealt with Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci and Ferdinand Magellan. What’s not to like? The kids loved it, I loved it. We pretty much stood by the world wall map we have in the living room and, as I read, we followed along the different routes these adventurers took throughout the XIV century.

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One of Columbus’ ships

These true stories of courage, ignorance, dreams of world supremacy, trade routes, and the overpowering desire for Indian spices really capture the imagination of small children and adults alike. I was riveted and I knew these stories already. It’s amazing to remember how little humanity knew about itself just five hundred years ago.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 29

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African Kingdoms or Chapter 29 contains three stories on Ghana, Mali and Songhay respectively. The kids loved it and I can tell we have crossed into a different phase now. They are more aware of geography. They run to the world map we have hanging on the wall to place these countries from the black-and-white map provided in Story of the World onto the bigger, colorful one on the wall.

Musu Mansa coloring page

Musa Mansa coloring page

Timbuktu was important to share with them. So many Americans use Timbuktu without realizing it is an actual city and it used to be a great center of learning and urban trade in the Middle Ages.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 28

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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.  Continue reading »

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