Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 10

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The Bottom of the World or Chapter 10 deals with the first people of Australia and New Zealand. The coincidences in our homeschool keep on coming. When we went to the Pigeon Forge Library last week for Meet Mr. Lincoln, my daughter picked up a packet containing a book about McGillyCuddy, a kangaroo stuffed animal with a joey in its pouch, and an activity page based on kangaroos. The next history lesson dealt with Australia and New Zealand. Hmmm…

Mock moths (peanuts) and popcorn, held together by honey

Mock moths (peanuts) and popcorn, held together by honey

The children thought the coloring page looked strange – it is a Maori with all his war or decorative paint. The map was fun. We sang the continent song and I reminded them Australia is also a continent, not just a country.  Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 27

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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


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 »

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 23

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The Greek Gods or Chapter 23 allowed me to introduce the kids to the neurotic gods who make up much of Antiquity’s myths and legends. I choose the word “introduce” for a reason. We are not going in depth. Maybe next time around. That is why we are not building a family tree for the Greek gods (Olympus Family Tree) or drawing a home for the gods. I am also staying away from most of the titles suggested.

To the Most Beautiful, the golden apple that started the Trojan War.

“To the Most Beautiful,” the words on the golden apple which started the Trojan War.

I really enjoyed those stories as a child, but I am pretty sure I was at least in fourth grade by the time I read about the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece. Most of their stories contain adult themes and, besides, I don’t want to confuse my kids with all sorts of gods right now. We are still coming out of the concrete stage of thinking. When the lines between reality and fiction get blurry, it’s best to stay away from certain stories.

We chose the golden apple craft project to illustrate the reason why the Trojan war got started. The kids enjoyed the story. I read it to them twice, a few days apart, and they still did not get all the plot. A bit too many layers, I suppose. I don’t mind stretching their minds and challenging them.

It was only after we made the golden apple and I wrote “To the Most Beautiful” on it that it finally sank in with them why the gods were upset with each other. We had conversations about this for several days. I usually keep their crafts where we can see them, on the kitchen isle, so we can admire them for a few days before we go on to the next craft. They serve as conversation pieces and as an excuse to rehearse facts and new terminology

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 13

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Chapter 13 deals with The New Kingdom of Egypt. The kids colored the map and the mask of Tut while I read the first two stories. I asked if they could handle two more stories and they said yes. So I finished the chapter in that one sitting. The following day, my son brought his coloring pages to Daddy and told him about the Valley of the Kings and how it is full of tombs etc. I praised him for his narration, which I had not even requested.

That’s one thing I learned: when the chapter is long and we do it in one sitting, they do not want to answer review questions or to do a narration. They are ready to get away from the table and play! So I will have to work on reviewing this lesson later this week.

I asked if they wanted to make a monument and read the paragraph which explains it could be about somebody who died, a toy, an activity they enjoy or whatever. My son said he wanted to make a monument to Papaw – my husband’s father, who passed away one year ago. My children both were affected greatly by his passing and the concept of death became real to them then.

Bread and Glue

Bread and Glue

So we took bread and glue and proceeded to mix them together as indicated. It required white bread, which we never buy – we like whole wheat bread. My daughter, who is almost five, saw how messy and sticky this exercise was, and told me she did not want to build a monument.

Ball of glue and white bread

Ball of glue and white bread

Instead, she wanted to try the white bread. She ate a slice and loved it so much, she grabbed a second slice. Then, she asked for a third and a fourth, in a PBJ. I am always happy to see her eat, so I obliged, after we finished our monument and we washed our hands very well.  Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 8

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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 »

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 deals with “Hammurabi and the Babylonians,” with a section about Hammurabi’s code. We built a ziggurat by following the instructions in Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors. This book is recommended in several SOTW chapters and contains simple projects for kids to do. I am not sure that a first grader could do any of these projects without adult help, but that’s what teaching is all about, right? Leading and guiding a student through his work and hoping that some things will stick.

The book mentioned using corn meal to achieve the texture of a ziggurat and Tempera paint. I gathered all my materials, including the recommended measuring spoon and cup. They said to draw stairs with a black marker. This seemed easier than the ziggurat project in the SOTW Activity Book, which involved cutting stairs out of a cereal box and gluing them.

Cereal boxes, paint, glue, corn meal to make a ziggurat

Materials to make a ziggurat

As my husband walked by, you know, the principal of our school, he saw the gear and asked, “What you’re making, honey?” When I explained, he said, “Oh, I can spray paint your ziggurat and throw some sand on it. Just glue it for me first. Wouldn’t that be easier?”  Continue reading »

Story of the World, Vol. 1, Chapter 6

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Chapter six deals with the Jewish People. It fits nicely with our devotional (Through the Bible with Felts – Betty Lukens), as we are still in the Old Testament, right around the time of Exodus and the story of Joseph. Another coincidence: we have started listening to the MP3 Bible in the car. As I type this post, we are in Genesis Chapter 28. So the SOTW chapter was a nice recap of the story of Terah, Abraham, Moses and Joseph for us.

I chose Alexander Scourby’s reading of the King James Version. A bit boring for the kids, but we are slowly making progress. I tell them, “One chapter only,” so they don’t have room to protest. But we go somewhere by car several times a week, so we have the potential of listening to at least six chapters in three trips, for instance (one chapter each way per trip).

From Dance, Sing, Remember, one of the recommended readings, we made Harvest Muffins. We loved these.

Harvest muffins with a glass of rice milk

Harvest muffins with a glass of rice milk

I scanned the recipe and printed it out for future reference. And by “future” I mean “next week.” They were that good.

Continue reading »