2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair-Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science

This week’s topic for the virtual curriculum fair is Exploring Our World.  And I’m going to share a little of our journey to finding the best fit for a history curriculum. (As I have added on each post- I am an Amazon affiliate, and if you purchase through any link, I may receive some compensation.)

When my oldest children were young, I taught American history. It seemed the thing to do.  The Christian school curriculum that I had used as a teacher before I had children focused on American history until well into middle school.  So I started down that road.

I used Celebrate America, an arts an crafts book that taught some of the basic holidays of America and what they meant.

Then I used Christian Liberty Press’s History for Little Pilgrims. It was a very basic, early reader American history book.

Neither of these resources really thrilled me, and as I learned more about a classical homeschooling approach and a Charlotte Mason homeschooling approach, I really liked the idea of teaching world history and teaching it in cycles.  I began this on my own by creating my own Middle Ages curriculum.  At the time I was an Usborne Books consultant, and I used quite a few Usborne books to put together my own readings from the time period.  We had a great time that year, but putting together all my own ideas and activities was exhausting.

A friend introduced me to Story of the World, and we started through the ancients.

We used Story of the World quite happily for several years.  It was nice for teaching multiple ages, and it was easy to use.  All the basic information was right there, and I didn’t have to hunt for much.

Last year, I decided that we really needed something different.  I didn’t like that Story of the World didn’t have a Christian world view.  And as my older children were now in middle school grades, I felt like they needed more depth than we were getting with Story of the World.  I purchased Truthquest at the beginning of the year and started with the modern age- where we left off with Story of the World.

I loved the Christian worldview, and I would have been able to use it successfully with multiple ages, BUT I couldn’t ever find many of the recommended books.  Truthquest is basically a reading list with quite a bit of commentary.  Unfortunately, the books were never in my library, so I had to request them.  And then I had to turn them in, and if we weren’t finished, I had to request them again.  I was so frustrated by mid year that I threw up my hands….and went back to Story of the World.

I was determined to find something different for this year, so I turned to a curriculum that I had been looking at for a long, long time.  Diana Waring’s history curriculum.  This curriculum is perfect for us for several reasons:
1. Multiple ages are accommodated well.  The reading and listening material is appropriate for all ages, and there is a supplementary elementary activity book that helps me tie it together for my younger set.
2. It is a total package, and I don’t have to search for books. There is a complete textbook that is easy to read and a “living book.”  And there are CDs with various talks from Diana and from other speakers.  Supplementary books are suggested, and I do look for some of them, but they aren’t absolutely necessary.
3. It is very Christian in the worldview. I love, love, love the way that Diana continually relates it all to God and His plan for our world.
4. There are a variety of ways to learn.  There is the reading from the text and supplementary books.  There are speaking sessions to listen to on the CDs. There are hands on activities.  There are maps and timelines.  There is art and architecture from each period to look up.  My older kids especially like that they get to choose a project at the end of each unit to demonstrate knowledge of that unit.

We started over with the ancients in the Diana Waring curriculum, so I plan to just move through the cycle again.  It’s a little more pricey than some of the history curricula I’ve seen, but it is so worth it!

So there you are.  One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can change and adapt and keep or not keep a curriculum based on how well it works for our families.  And every once in a while we find that one thing that is a perfect fit, and we go AH HA!

You can check out what others are using to explore our world here:

Exploring Eastern Cultures with Sonlight by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Cell Unit Study – Mitochondria and Energy by Julie @ Highhill Education

Our Blended Social Studies by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair-Exploring Our World: Social Studies and
more Science by Leah C @ As We Walk Along the Road

Exploring Canada by Annette @ A Net In Time

Project Passport: The Middle Ages by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings

Virtual Curriculum Fair- Exploring Our World by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me

Our Absolutely Positively Favorite History Curriculum Ever by Wendy @
Homeschooling Blessings

Science Our Way: learning to use what you are given by Piwi Mama @
Learning & Growing the Piwi Way

Historical Significance by Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

How We Are Exploring Our World as Homechoolers by Laura O in AK @ Day
by Day in Our World

VCF:  Week 3 The Social Sciences by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

A Trip Around the World:  Homeschool-Style by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Exploring Our World: Biology by Dawn @
Guiding Light Homeschool

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Learning about our World  by Joelle @
Homeschooling for His Glory

Science is Cool by TechWife @ Playground of Words

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