Saturday, July 22, 2017

Family Studies Part 1: History, Geography and Science

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that my children can learn many of the same topics together.  Of course they each have their own individual skill based subjects--math, spelling, grammar, the like.  However, there's something special about that one room schoolhouse feel that can be provided with a living education.  Many subjects are less dependent on age and sequential skills and can be enjoyed together, giving us more to discuss and share with each other!  That means, our history, science, geography, literature and more are all done through living resources, and we do them together!

Curriculum Choices - History, Geography and Science
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I think this is our lineup for the year.  I have honestly changed my mind a few times over the last several weeks and bounced back and forth a little on this decision, but I think I've figured out loosely what I want to "do" this year!  These are the subjects that my 5th and 3rd graders will be doing together . . . though I'll be adapting as necessary to make them all more Charlotte Mason friendly. {For the record, I would call us eclectic with a CM influence.}

A History of Science - Beautiful Feet Books
When I first saw this course, I knew I wanted to try it.  It just looked delectable!  When we started Early American History last year, I found myself on the website looking at it, and Elliott said "I want to do that one!"  The boys love science.  Their favorite book from history last year was the Benjamin Franklin biography.  I'm really excited for this course.  I just had to wait until Emory was old enough for it.  It is written for 3rd-7th grade, with a suggested pace of 3 lessons/week for middle schoolers, but a slower pace for younger students.  We're going to loop it with the geography, so it might take us longer than a year and I'm okay with that.  It's a pretty heavy course and I'd rather go slow and enjoy it, then feel we have to cram it all in by some arbitrary deadline.  We will get a lot of history through the biographical approach, while still studying the scientific principles of many scientists.  It appears to cover a wide variety of topics, giving us a general overview year (or more) for science.  History and science, all rolled into pretty living books?  Yes, please!

A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books

Geography through Literature - Beautiful Feet Books
I've been wanting to try this one for awhile too!  We already own a couple of the Holling C. Holling books and they are great, but I haven't been able to use them to their full potential.  I think the boys will love the mapping, so I ordered them both a set of maps.  This is a robust course if completely fleshed out, and could easily be expanded into a history/science/geography literature study if you wanted.  It very much reminds me of Five in a Row, in that sense.

Geography through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books

Five in a Row - Mixed Volumes 
We will continue to intersperse FIAR as desired.  These books are just lovely for all ages!  It makes me a little sad when I hear parents say their child is too old for picture books.  Surely we are never too old to appreciate a well-written and beautifully illustrated book!  I'll probably also use some of the other books that we aren't specifically rowing for the basis of some of our literature/language arts as well, especially Beyond for Elliott.

Five in a Row and Beyond Five in a Row

World History

We are using A History of Science for science, but because it uses the biographical approach and includes so much history, I don't want to overload the kids at this age with another full history curriculum.  I feel like the better option is to start with some "overview" living books and see where that takes us.  I bought this book, A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich, to use as a spine. I found good reviews and felt like it was the best choice for our needs. If we find specific interest in a topic, I have plenty of resources (Great Empires, ARTistic Pursuits, various reference books, etc) to expand, and of course we'll add living books and documentaries.

Elliott will also be keeping a Book of Centuries for all subjects, and this will help with the cohesiveness of study.

Nature Study
I reviewed this awhile back for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (I need to get my review posted on the blog!) but I've been inconsistent with using it. It has weekly nature study ideas, discussion starters, and journaling ideas.  Just a few of the extras include book suggestions, a poem, an art print to look up, and several craft, journaling or observational extension activities.  Although nature study is an all-ages endeavor, and this curriculum is adaptable for all ages, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this for someone who wanted a "curriculum" for Pre-K or Kindergarten.  I have not been the most consistent with nature study, but I'm adamant to buckle down on all of the enrichment subjects that make a Charlotte Mason education so rich.

Small Adventures Journal by Keiko Brodeur
I bought both boys one of these journals, because we do a lot of impromptu nature study through our outdoor time, but as I said, I struggle with intentional studies.  The journals have some interesting prompts to help us get started, but I think the boys can do it fairly independently without much guidance from me, so this is something they can do on their own if they wish. Since some of the activities will need to be recorded in a separate book, they'll use these in conjunction with their regular nature journals.

I have more to share - more literature, fine arts and other enrichment studies, as well as the boys' 3rd and 5th grade curriculum choices, but I have already written about Eleanor's Pre-K Plans.

Pre-K Plans

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