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 »

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 6

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The last time I blogged about Story of the World and our adventures in history was in October. That does not mean we have done done history. In fact, today we covered chapter 34. I suppose you can say I’m a bit behind in blogging about SOTW. My apologies. I will do my best to recount our efforts and catch up in the next couple of months.

Chapter 6 dealt with new colonies in the new world: Plymouth Plantation and New Amsterdam. For our craft, we made cornbread based on the recipe provided in the Activity Book – an original Wampanoag recipe with modern ingredients.

Wampanoag Cornbread

Wampanoag Cornbread

I modified the recipe a bit: soy milk instead of “milk,” vegetarian margarine (we like Smart Balance) instead of “margarine,” and honey instead of sugar. The one egg needed in the recipe can be replaced with Egg Replacer, of course. Even with all the substitutions, the cornbread came out well and everybody enjoyed it. I made some vegetarian chili and a cabbage salad and that was our lunch.

The kids loved to hear the story of The Mayflower all over again. We have covered it every year around Thanksgiving and they remembered some bits. The thing is, I don’t harp so much on dates and details. Maybe I should. The way I learned history was dry and fact-oriented and I want them to get into history through the avenue of a story.

Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 4

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Chapter 4 in The Story of the World Volume 3 deals with the struggle to look for a Northwestern passage. Hudson and Champlain are the main heroes of the two stories in the chapter. I did not exactly have the milk cartons required to make the craft boat – we drink non-dairy milk which comes in a totally different shaped-carton.

LEGO friends in a boat

Floating cakes of ice during the search for a northwestern passage. Yes, LEGO friends in the boat…

So I set the kids on an adventure with LEGO people and boats. We used white LEGO bricks as the floating cakes of ice mentioned in the stories, an expression which made them laugh. Cakes of ice? They kept repeating it. This is why we read extensively. They learn new ways to use words and to put them together.  Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 2

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The second chapter of volume three had two stories about Protestant Rebellions: first in the Netherlands, then in Scotland. We got introduced to the many times over great-grandfather of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who reigns today with his lovely Argentinian wife, Maxima. The royal couple have three cute daughters and he is the second youngest reigning European monarch.

William The Silent Coloring Page

William The Silent Coloring Page

But let me not get carried away with modern-day monarchs. Back to their ancestors. So William of Orange or William I, or William the Silent, or William the Taciturn are one and the same person – the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. He was a Protestant who lived in a Catholic world until he could not take it anymore and he lead some serious rebellions against the Catholic king of his country.  Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 6

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Chapter 6 deals with the rise of Islam. We worked on the craft first. I definitely did not want to make an oasis scene with all the candy recommended, so I was glad they provided a low-sugar version. Even so, I decided that we could use LEGO bricks for the camel, since we did not have animal crackers.

Camel and bedouin in an oasis

Camel and bedouin in an oasis

The kids got into it when I told them to build me some palm trees.

Oasis craft

Putting the oasis together

I prepared the sand by crushing up some old wheat crackers in a zip lock bag, with a rolling pin.

I made "sand" by crushing wheat crackers

I made “sand” by crushing wheat crackers

They surprised me by adding a mini-figure to the scene. The water was aluminium foil, which I kept in place with double tape. Maybe it should have been something blue, like in the sugared up version of the scene, but aluminium works too, as it reflects light the way a body of water does.

Bedouin on camel coloring sheet

Bedouin on camel coloring sheet; can you tell which one was colored by my kindergartner?

As I read the stories to them, they colored the bedouin on his camel (coloring sheet provided in the Activity Book). Then, I asked them the review questions. Finally, we worked on the map. It’s very tempting to do it all. But I decided this was enough for this chapter. There are three other activities recommended in the book, for those who do not have the book.

Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 of SOTW Volume 2 deals with the British Isles as they got invaded by Anglo-Saxons. There are two stories in the chapter, one being the one about Beowulf.

We worked on coloring Beowulf and did the map work. I also printed out the brooch design for them to color. We were supposed to make brooches for their Celtic cloaks, but we gave up. Sometimes you just have to say, we have read, we have colored, we have worked on the map, we are done. Nothing bad will happen to you if you don’t do a craft for history.

Beowulf coloring page

Beowulf colored by my five-year-old

I just want to send this message out there into the blogosphere. I am not super mom. I don’t do everything required in a history curriculum. This marks an important step in my homeschooling journey, as I am naturally inclined to dot every i and cross every t. But, with everything else we have going on this summer, I have to organize my priorities and some things have to go.

We can run around trying to do so many things and then we end up close to burnout before the school even started. Summer can be a bit too busy, I think. And I am not even doing everything I thought would be nice to try.

Speaking of requirements, one book per week to read from the suggested list is enough. I heard it from the mouth of this curriculum’s creator, Susan Wise Bauer herself.

Celtic brooch materials

Celtic brooch materials all ready to go… before I gave up

So take heart, homeschooling mom, you are not the only one cutting corners. Some days are low energy, other days are just full of so much to do. You may want to tackle it all, but something has to give. Again, nothing bad will happen if we don’t do a craft for every chapter in our history book. Can you tell I am actually writing this for my own benefit?

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 28

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The Roman Empire was fascinating for the children. I liked it, too, as I have always liked any stories about ancient Rome. Can we all agree that the Roman soldiers should be worthy of our admiration? They and their bracelets and their bracelet inscription, SPQR, which stands for Senatus Populus que Romanus, which translates to “The Senate and the Roman People.”

Roman soldier cuff bracelet

The famous Roman soldier cuff bracelet

The crafts (aqueducts, sand dough, Roman road model) were a 10 on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is the most difficult level. I decided to stay clear of glue and sand and little pebbles in a shoe box lid. We made the cuff bracelets from the next chapter instead. We cut up a cereal box, measured it around the kids’ wrists, stapled them, and then covered them in aluminium foil.

Craft bracelet

I stapled the cardboard bracelets first.

I did not show them the gladiator coloring page. Too raw for my taste, I suppose. It’s enough for them to hear that some gladiators preferred to commit suicide than to kill others for sport.

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 15

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The Ancient Phoenicians, chapter 15, has been a convoluted chapter for us. First off, I remembered Carthage from when I studied Ancient History in the fifth grade and I looked forward to it. But we went skiing instead, as a family, the day we were supposed to cover this chapter.We called it a P.E. day.

Secondly, every time I tried to play the chapter in the car, to make up for lost time, the kids did not show an interest. I did not have the energy to enforce learning time (car schooling). It does take energy, at least for me, and some days I have it in limited supplies.

Thirdly, the weather has made the roads so bad, the library has had irregular hours and they have not been able to procure my ILL titles to read about this chapter this week.

Stack of history books

Our stack of 12 books from the library, to catch up on our history reading

But we persevered, despite more seeming setbacks.

The other day I got a screw in one of my car tires, and spent two hours in a mechanic’s waiting room. They were super busy because, as fate would have it, two of their guys quit that day. They did not charge me anything for patching the tire, because of my wait. I insisted I wanted to at least pay for their expenses. I told the shop owner I understand “overhead” and that I feel bad for not paying for something. He said he felt bad I had to wait for two hours.

Well, I had brought my knitting with me and it was not a total loss of my time. Of course, I was there with the kids. My son had brought a LEGO magazine to read and my daughter had her Hello Kitty coloring book and crayons.

Something happened inside of me while waiting there. On the way home, despite their protests, I told them gently that we would listen to Chapter 15 after all; that it was a short chapter and, afterwards, we would listen to Wizzy Gizmo, which was their initial request. They love Wizzy Gizmo… but we need to do our history lessons as well. And we did. I have said it before, these CDs are worth it.

When the library finally called me that they had my ILL titles, I drove over there and brought home 12 titles from our previous lessons. We are catching up with reading from previous chapters.

One project I want to do for the Phoenician chapter is the bread recipe, but there is no way I can do it this week. I have to prepare my daughter’s birthday party on Sunday.

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 14

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Chapter 14 deals with the life of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. The kids knew the story from their Bible lessons. This was very good reinforcement though.

I read while they colored. We made a Moses basket. Well, I made it. They painted it. Team effort, right?

It was not exactly easy, but I persevered. I know what you are thinking, that I have too much time on my hands. The thing is, I take time for things that matter. And the story of Moses is very dear to my heart – God used this story to speak to me about homeschooling a few years ago.

For some reason, gold paint really appeals to my children. Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 9

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The First Cities of India was a delightful chapter. We listened to it in the car on the way to an appointment. The kids were intrigued by the story of the quail. A week later, I played the chapter again on another trip.

They colored their maps. I chose not to have them color the ceremonial mask. It looks a little scary.

Map Work SOTW

My daughter with her mapwork for Ancient India

My daughter colored the picture of the statue from Mohenjo-Daro, but my son did not. I am beginning to see a pattern here. I really don’t like to enforce coloring for a boy who is into drawing more than coloring. So I let it go.

We made little bricks out of air-drying clay and let them dry overnight.

Rolled Out Clay

Rolled Out Clay

Because I did not press their corners down, the bricks dried up with one or two corners tipped up, which made them unstackable. Oh well… I guess we can recycle them into math manipulatives.

Air-Dry Clay Bricks

Air-Dry Clay Bricks

But I have to say, this project would have been daunting, requiring a lot of patience. The bricks are really thin and it would take a lot of them to build a whole village. Just my $.02.

Air-Dry Clay

Air-Dry Clay

We enjoy our history lessons, but other things get in the way. We will have to catch up in the next semester. But if the next semester happens to be just as busy as this one, we will have to finish our history curriculum during the summer. We homeschool year round anyway.