Monday, December 21, 2009

Story of the World- Relaxed Style

Many of you are probably familiar with Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World history books. I've been acquiring them over the last few years to use with our Five in a Row books. I am not a classical homeschooler whatsoever, but the stories are well suited to give the kids an insight into a topic we are already studying with our unit studies.

This summer I was able to get a used copy of volume 1 at a great price which included the activity book. E11 and R9 requested that we do the stories so we started this fall with the introduction. I figured we could start at the beginning and learn a little something about ancient cultures- a topic not largely visited in the volumes of Five in a Row.

There is an activity book that accompanies each volume. It has quite a few activities that match the topics discussed in the text. In addition, there are questions and dictation exercises for each chapter.

We started with the introduction and talked about what history is and how we learn about history. The kids did the Life Time Lines from the activity book.
The idea is to use one or two lessons spots per week to a Story of the World chapter and one activity. Sort of a light approach to Story of the World. I am NOT a believer in chronological history for younger children. The unit study approach to learning that prevails in our home is quite the opposite actually, but it works very well and as our children get older they are absolutely able to place the various stories and topics we have learned into their proper context in the chronology of history. I don't for a minute believe it has to be taught in order for kids to get it.

Still the history is valuable and the activities are genuine. The plan is to work slowly through this as long as it fits with our studies in other areas. Of course, I'm still going to use it as an extra resource when we come across history in our Five in a Row.

I'm working on a new "schedule" to begin after the new year which of course I will share. It's taking me a while because I'm trying to align it with our activity schedule. The idea is that a carefully thought out plan will be easier to maintain long term. I've got a lot of big ideas on streamlining preschool and making sure we hit the passion pursuits in the afternoon.


Debbie said...

I started using these books last year with my son when he was in 2nd grade. He LOVES them! History is one of his favorite subjects now, and I credit this series. Last year, after studying ancient history, I would often find him playing and acting out some of the history stories with his action figures. This year we're doing volume 2--middle ages. Only this time, I opted to buy the book on CD so that he could listen to the stories with headphones while I work with his sister in kindergarten. This has worked really well, and he loves to listen to the stories (I either have him narrate back to me, or I ask questions that the activity book provides). We do a lot of the activity book pages, timeline, maps, and at least one project a week. Good stuff!

SC said...

We use SOTW, too. I think they actually get the most out of the go along books she suggests in the activity book. And we love our history timeline, we actually have it in a three ring binder since we don't have the room to display it in the house. My 1st grader loves the timeline, anytime we read a nonfiction book he wants to add it to his timeline.

Elinette said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with SOTW I personally LOVE history and have been trying to reconcile adding a history book to our FIAR experience because it always seems to me like I would be going against our relax approach. I look forward to read more about how you are using this text at home.

Shonda said...

We love SOTW! We own all 4 volumes in book and cd form. And the activity guides. We also have a homeschool co-op History Club where we use the book (Vol. 3 at the moment)as the spine and rotate activity stations. My boys listen to the cds over and over at night and know so much about history. They really enjoy those cds. We have both versions (Barbara whathername and Jim Weisse.) Love them!

Kim said...

I love SOTW! I have all the books and activity guides (except the 4th activity book) and the first cd. Kids love hearing the cd, and I love it to help me pronounce some of the names. LOL!
Now confession time, we've been working on vol. 1 for 2 years. LOL!! This year I decided that doing it chronologically just doesn't work for us. I use FIAR as well and doing two separate history's right now is just to much.
So since this year we are combining FIAR and Galloping the globe. I'm using SOTW to add a little history in each country study. I love it that way!