Thursday, March 20, 2008

Future Trips Inspire New Learning Plans for World History

We’re going along with our homeschooling world history plans. We’re doing history in a chronological manner and are presently at about 1100 AD. I use the Story of the World book and the Activity Guide and supplement with living books. We do geography mixed in with this also. We also study the cultures and do some literature from the various countries as we go along.

However we have two (good) bumps in the road our family was recently made aware of.

The first is a wonderful opportunity. My husband has to go on a business trip in Washington D.C. The kids and I can go along and stay in his hotel room for free. So now we suddenly have a trip there and we have not studied anything about Washington D.C. in depth. I’m considering a little unit study before we go so they have some kind of context and interest in the monuments. Other things like viewing fine artwork and visiting the Smithsonian will be more fun and general enough that I’m not going to do any special teaching on those subjects.

The second issue concerns Boy Scouts. We have selected which Boy Scout Troop my older son will be crossing over to. We just found out the Troop is doing a family campout near Gettysburg. So now we should touch upon the Civil War before we head on down there.

It would be a shame to view things up close and personal and have no context and no background information at the time. Then again sometimes going to museums sparks an interest that we then study more in depth after the fact using books and documentaries.

I am thinking of either dedicating more time to our history studies than normal and speeding through the years 1100 to 1700s, then after the Washington D.C. trip we can continue the sprint up to and including the Civil War before the camping trip (in June).

I could also pause our study of history in the medieval years and just go right to American History in the 1600s and move forward from there.

It is nice to have choices and freedom with homeschooling. I am grateful to be able to change homeschooling plans on the fly like this. I am fortunate to live in a state with little government oversight and I’m not (presently) forced to study certain topics in certain grade levels. I want my state of Connecticut to maintain this freedom. (Note, at present a bill, SB162 was edited by the Education Committee Chair in a way that would in my opinion, stifle our freedoms, but that is another story in and of itself which I’ll not delve into at this very moment.)

Homeschooling also gives us the freedom to participate in these trips. If my kids were in school they would not be able to miss days in order to do the business trip to Washington D.C. with my husband as it is not a 'school vacation week'.

In my area, public schools have been cracking down on parents who pull their children out of school in order to go on trips, fun trips or educational, it does not matter. My friend's daughter's public elementary school makes it very clear in their school handbook that absences due to family trips will be counted as unexcused absenses and that three in a row will count as a label of truancy. In this state the school can report the parents who are truant to DCF for "educational neglect". I heard two stories from two mothers about how their children were hassled by public school teachers about work that was going to be missed due to taking a trip to go skiing with their family. One teacher refused to give the assignments up front and now the student is behind. The other student missed a test and the teacher has been refusing to give the make-up test. I asked a relative who is a public school teacher about this. I got a nasty response saying "we can't take time off like that so neither should the students". Yikes.

Anyhow, I'm happy for homeschooling freedoms. Regarding what I'll do, I’ll have to ponder it more. I’m leaning toward spending a lot more time on history and going along as we were doing with Story of the World Volume Two and concentrating hard on history to move forward in time. If I do that I'll need to spend time this weekend pulling out books and organizing them for easy access when we'll need them in the coming weeks.

These are the three Story of the World Volume Two products that I own and use.

Story of the World Volume Two book

Story of the World Volume Two Audio Book narrated by Jim Weiss (a nice alternative to reading aloud or to hear the story while in the car)

Story of the World Volume Two Activity Book

Story of the World Volume Two Tests (I don't use these but perhaps you'd be interested in them?)

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1 comment:

russman said...

We use story of the world as has taken us a year to get through half of the first book as we do a lot of the extra reading and activities.
D.C. is such a treat! We live in MN and are fortunate enough to have family in VA, so we drive out every summer and visit the Smithsonian.