Learning With History and Social Studies Resources @ As We Walk Along the Road: The 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair

It is week three of the Virtual Curriculum Fair this week. If you’re a new reader, you can find out about this fun curriculum fair here. The fair is hosted this week by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds and Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue. Throughout the month, I’ve been sharing resources we’ve used and liked in various subjects. In week one, I shared literature and language arts resources and in week two, I shared science and math resources. This week I’m sharing some of my very favorite resources for subjects I love- history, social studies, and geography.

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When I was in school, I enjoyed history. But it wasn’t until I began teaching my own children and using a Charlotte Mason style of learning that used living books that I began to really love history. Instead of dry textbooks that were a collection of facts, I began reading real stories of real people and events in history. My high school was a traditional Christian school, and we had focused more on American history instead of world history. When I began using curricula that was more classical, focused on world history cycles, I was so interested. And because I’ve come to really love history myself, I’ve enjoyed sharing it with my kids.

My Father’s World is one of those curriculum choices that I will always wish I had discovered sooner. I would love to have used all the way from my first days of homeschooling. I discovered it last year when I was looking for a literature based high school curriculum that Kathryne could use mostly independently. I had heard of it before, but I was leery. Most of the time when I tried a packaged curriculum, I didn’t like it. I had tried a few unit study type curricula and really didn’t like them. But when it looked as if My Father’s World would be a good fit for Kathryne, I prayed and then took the leap and bought it for everyone.

Last year Kathryne used the high school curriculum, Ancient History and Literature. And Charles, Ashlyne, and Rachel used the 4th-8th grade curriculum, Rome to the Reformation. I did most of the reading for their curriculum aloud, and we did many of the activities together. Kathryne did hers independently, just checking in with me as the curriculum required.

This year I am using Exploring Countries and Cultures (for 3rd-8th grade) with the two younger girls. We took a break in the history cycles. We’ve been following the cycle for many years now, and I don’t think we’ve ever done anything specifically geography related, so I decided to break in the cycle and continue on with the Age of Exploration next year. We are absolutely loving the cultures study. We use real books, not textbooks, to read about the different countries. We’re also reading missionary biographies that go along with the cultures we’re studying. The biographies are from YWAM, a publisher that has great kids’ biographies of famous missionaries. Right now we are reading the biography of George Mueller who established orphanages in England because we’ve been in Europe in our studies. Kathryne is using World History and Literature this year and is reading classics like Beowulf, Pride and Prejudice, and others that really help her get a glimpse of the time period she’s studying.

 I could probably gush for hours about My Father’s World. It just fits us well. I love that it totally revolves around the historical time period- or geographical location- that we are studying. Everything ties in and is related- from Bible to literature works to historical fiction novels to living history books. I learn so much, and my enthusiasm carries over to the kids, so they get excited also.

Charles isn’t using My Father’s World this year. Although I would truly love for him to follow along and use it, the amount of reading just frightens him away. Although Kathryne loves the reading and doesn’t have any trouble with the amount of reading in the high school course, Charles does struggle with reading long books at his grade level. He is doing American history this year. We began the year using a resource that I reviewed quite a while ago- American History from New Leaf Publishing. This is a traditional textbook that is supposed to be student directed with little teacher input. He carried on with it for a few weeks, and then I realized it wasn’t working. The reading level in that book is really high, and I realized that he wasn’t understanding much. Having already started the year, and not having the budget money for something different, I had to scramble.

I had on my shelf the American history series from the history channel a few years ago- America, the Story of US. To go along with the DVD series, the history channel has all kinds of teacher’s materials on their site. I decided to break up the DVDs and the activities and combine it with books of my choosing to create his history and literature curriculum. The history channel series is definitely not written from a Christian worldview, and it tends to be pretty liberal in leaning. But it is well done, and it does a good job of presenting a complete picture of American history. In addition to the DVDs and activities, I am choosing living history books that are written on a middle school grade level. He’s reading books that correspond with the time of history. So far, he’s read:
Early settlers: Calico Captive (Speare)

The Landing of the Pilgrims (landmark)

American Revolution/US beginnings: Around the World In 100 Years (Fritz)

Johnny Tremain (Forbes)

Civil War: Slopes of War (Perez)

 I’m not sure about history for Charles for next year. I’m open to suggestions. Seriously. The girls will continue using My Father’s World. We often get goodies thrown in that I’m reviewing, and I like adding those to our regular curriculum or taking a break from the regular and using the review curricula. Perhaps something great will come along for Charles to use!
You can check out the other blogs that are participating in the virtual curriculum fair below, and you can even link up your posts about social studies, history, and geography resources.
Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

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