History

Today, let’s review history curriculum!

When my oldest was going into first grade, I was preparing my curriculum for the year and I had a list of subjects I wanted to cover. History was one topic I wanted to include in first grade that I had not covered Kindergarten. I decided to start with early US history. My goal was to find a curriculum that taught about the pilgrims and founding fathers.

With that in mind, I started looking into what was available. Knowing how my kids learn, I thought the best way to teach them history would be the living books method rather than text books. That means study using story books and biographies rather than text books. After reading several online reviews I found a curriculum that fit my criteria. Beautiful Feet curriculum, specifically the Early American History for elementary grades. The Early American History curriculum is designed to be used in one year, or two. I decided to take Early American History in two years with my oldest.

Included in the Beautiful Feet Early American History Jumbo Pack for elementary students is a Teachers Manual and 20 books, picture books and chapter books that cover history from the Vikings (who discovered eastern Canada), through Abraham Lincoln. The best part for me, was that my mom had an old edition of the teacher’s manual and all of the books included in the study.

Because I decided to take the two year approach, for the first year I taught about the Vikings, Leif the Lucky, Christopher Columbus, and half of the Pilgrims study. For the second year, we finished the Pilgrims study, and continued on to early colonists, the French and Indian War, the events leading up to the Revolutionary War, the Revolutionary War, and the events after the war, namely, how the constitution was written, and how a president was chosen. I decided to stop before Abraham Lincoln as I plan on teaching about him, civil rights, slavery, and the Civil War in a full year study in the future.

One thing I felt was missing in the old edition of the curriculum was black history. Being that it is part of my children’s heritage, I felt it was very important to discuss black history during black history month. So we took a break from Early American History, and I made up my own study program. I decided to study one aspect of black history every February, and since there wasn’t a lot in the Pilgrim’s history that lined up with black history, I decided to teach about African American inventors. My mom had given my oldest daughter a very cool story book about African American inventors, What Color Is My World?:The Lost World of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and I used it as a back bone for the study. I found some other biography books that went into more detail on the specifics of the inventions and a little on their lives.

As we enter the new school year, with three children being homeschooled, I decided to take on two of the Beautiful Feet curriculum, grouping as many topics for as many of my little students as possible. This year I am using the History of Science and Around The World Part I.  We have started working through the History of Science with my older two children. It focuses on teaching the history of science, who the key scientists were that formed the study of the scientific process and the discoveries they made.  Around The World Part I is a geography, social studies unit focusing on countries in Asia, Australia, Antarctica, and Africa. Part II comes out soon and it will cover Europe and the Americas.  I am teaching all four kids the Around the World Part I. We have been working through the first 12 lessons, learning about China this month, and its been the highlight of our studies. I’ll give you an update on how that study went/and goes later on in the year.

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