Friday, July 26, 2013

More on History Lesson Planning

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I wanted to share a bit more detail about how I'm going about creating our history lessons.  I've already had two conversations with other parents who wanted to know a bit more and think it will be helpful to post it here, too.

I'm using a Timeline to track our studies.  I picked one up a year or so ago from a local homeschool expo.  It's literally a large blank timeline that is laminated.  On ones side here are dates, on the other it only has a link on it--so, technically, you could create one of your own.  I've also seen other families create their timeline in a binder format using tabs for each time period and then using blank paper to write in the dates of importance.  I wanted a chart but either way can work well. (Both photos show what I'm speaking about.)

Something I shared earlier this week is that history can be rather overwhelming when you want to 'start at the beginning.'  There is documented history that shows things started in the fertile crescent and then moved westward into Europe.  In the SOTW books, this is how it's set up, with sprinkling in of other cultures here and there.  While I like the story-format of this curriculum, I don't want to continue with the idea that nothing was happening on the continent of Africa or in Asia, for that matter, until the Europeans 'discovered' it.  Not going to perpetuate this with my children.  So, we'll still be focusing on the cultures, peoples and ancient empires in Africa for this year.

Photo credit
As I've already shared, we use notebooking and lapbooking as our methods for recording our learning for history and this will continue as both of these tools lend themselves to creating as you go.  If you're using the SOTW as your main spine, they offer nice little pictures to add to the timeline to represent different events and people.  Since African history is not a main focus of this curriculum, there aren't any pictures that go along with what I'm planning to do.  This past year, we used colorful post-it notes but as I'm looking through resources and sites, I'm compiling some icons and pictures to represent what we're studying.  I will probably make it into something others can download and/or purchase to add to their timelines.

For anyone looking into the study of Africa and/or a more rounded study of the history in this country, here are some online resources to look through.  There are a couple sites I've included that I have not looked through thoroughly, but they appear to have a wealth of information so I'm adding them now.  These sites were shared with me by another homeschooling family on Facebook.
I have some resources pinned to my Pinterest Ancient History Board as well.  I'm planning to tie Geography into our history lessons too.  This is a good time since we'll already be using a map and globe.

If you're interested in watching documentaries, both YouTube and Netflix have a good number of them.  YouTube holds several series of Ancient African Empires done by the BBC.  We watched a good many last year and will re-watch a view of them again this year as they cover a wealth of information not always found in texts.  Netflix had several on Ancient Egypt and the Pyraminds.

[When looking on YouTube, type in 'Lost Kingdoms of Africa,' and you should find a series of videos that cover the full documentary.  These are posted by RASyared and icassa2011addis.  Also search for 'Ancient Africa' another series of videos posted by WhenTheEarthWasYoung.  This should give you a good starting place and you can do your own searching for specific history of a particular group or culture.]

If you're looking for history resources for United State History, I highly recommend using Howard Zinn's books and site as he has used primary sources for telling/re-telling history and exposing the true of many of the history lessons we were taught in school growing up.  The site is geared for teachers and parents looking for resources to use with their children.  I encourage you to take a look and see what's being offered their as well.

The more I learn, the more interested I become in learning more.  My guess is that you will, too.  I will continue to share resources as I come across them.  Look for these and others on my Resource page.

What resources have you found to be useful in teaching history?  I'd love to know what things are working for you as you plan your history lessons for this year.  Comment below.

Happy Learning!

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