Saturday, June 2, 2012

Diving Into Ancient History

We've finally dived into our world history curriculum and I couldn't be more thrilled!  We are using The Story of the World: Volume 1 , which is part of a four volume cycle that takes children from the earliest people through modern times.  There's nothing textbook-y about this book!  SOTW treats history like an intriguing story.  The author, Susan Wise Bauer, stresses that at this age we shouldn't aim for mastery of the subject.  Instead we are simply exposing our children to world history in order to give them a background they'll later build on.  The book is supplemented with a wonderful activity guide and many outside reading recommendations.

Some people might feel that a world history curriculum is too dry for this age group.  I've hear many people say that they'd rather their children have time to play and just be kids.  These things are not mutually exclusive!  After reading the chapter on cave dwellers, Crazy Bug spent hours pretending to live in a cave.  As we played, she frequently asked questions about how the cave dwellers ate, cooked, and made tools.  Before this, she hadn't played make believe games for a while because she'd grown bored with all the scenarios she could imagine.  Learning about history actually enlivened and reignited her creative play!  To me, that's exactly what education is about!  It gives children the skills and information they need to enjoy their world.

As you explore the activities shown on my blog, try to keep that goal in mind.  I don't teach my daughter about Chihuly and Matisse so she can recite their biographies back to me.  I teach her about them so she can discover new styles and materials to create with.  She doesn't get bored by pulling out the same watercolor set over and over again.  Instead she is constantly inspired by new ideas!  Likewise, I don't teach her how to write just to make her seem smart.  Her head is filled with so many ideas and thoughts that she wants to share.  Learning to write allows her to express herself clearly so she can communicate her thoughts to others.

Don't be afraid of education.  No, we should not sit our young children down at desks and overwhelm them with worksheets, drills, and rote memorization.  But that doesn't mean we shouldn't teach them!  Instead, do a little teaching, then let them use and explore the knowledge they've learned.  The result?  Happy, eager, curious kids who have a strong foundation for their creative pursuits!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I was working in my son's classroom last week and we were doing an experiment with the Sphinx Moth from 1850s England. I asked every single group if anybody could tell me about the Industrial Revolution. My son (excuse the moment of bragging) was the only kid who's hand shot up in the air. Thank you very much SOTW volume 3!