Monday, January 21, 2013

VCF: Week 3 The Social Sciences

It's week 3 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair!
This week's topic is history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology.
Do you hear/see me doing the happy dance?
These are topics that I L.O.V.E.
First of all, you do know that Dr. Dh and I are social scientists at heart and vocationally, right? Secondly,  let me re-iterate that I am a lasagna educator (you know, layer upon layer). I like having a plethora of rich (read diverse) resources.  We utilize CD's, DVD's, books, time lines, history cards, magazines, maps, globes, people, language and whatever else we can get our hands on to re-iterate the lessons and learning that we are doing about specific topics.
If you've read my blog for very long, you've probably realized that literature is the back-bone our educational life. We love Sonlight, Veritas Press, Bethlehem Books, TWTM  reading lists and are always for another great read.

By far, one of the simplest resources that we use is a large wall map. I've had a couple over the last couple of decades and there is usually one on our wall somewhere in the house. The one we have now is a laminated world map. We refer to the map regularly- when reading, when talking about the news or looking up stuff from a magazine. Get your kids in the habit of looking at the map and pretty soon they'll be going there first.

We also try to contextualize history for our kids. One of my pet peeves is how often folks judge history by today's values, economy or politics. I love doing forensic history. Years ago BAR (Biblical Archeology Review) looked forensically at why Herod (you know, the guy eaten by worms) died. It was disgusting and very fascinating. I love that kind of thinking and we try to keep in mind the context of what people's lives were like at the time they were living, rather than what their lives were like compared to ours (which is why I still like and use G.H.Henty's books- sure they are pedantic and formulaic and I guess Henty is a racist if you want to look at it that way. But the real thing is that Henty was a man of  his times and rather imperial, more than racist, if you ask me. If you want to learn the details of a historical time period, his books are a great place to start).

We try to have good, intellectually based magazines around the house; National Geographic, BAR, Science News. These magazines not only frequently offer a distinct world view from our own, but they examine issues scientifically and intellectually. We don't always (often) agree, but it's great discussion/thought fodder.

World View is current groupie talk for where are you coming from. Our world view is Biblical. It is decidedly Christian, but directed by principal, not doctrine. We do teach world view. We do this by talking with our kids about what we are reading and thinking, sharing our opinions, which they appreciate or not, and having a family life that is actively, vibrantly pursuing a walk with the Living God. This is worked out in our worship, study and prayer life. We pray with and for our kids. We pray about simple and profound things. We take time to pray and to listen. We study the Word, which informs our wold view. This includes language, history, archeology, and of course, great books like those written by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, L'Engle and others.

Science is something that we love 'round here. We read/study a ton of science. We are great observers of nature. Our kids get the scientific method. The best curriculum I know for teaching your kids science is to have a science obsessed parent (read Dr. Dh, here). He is an astronomy, archeology, weather buff. So are his kids. They love the NASA and NOAA web-sites. They read BAR and science news. I wish I could take credit but by far my best contributions have been introducing the Magic School Bus books and teaching my kids to draw so that they can record their observations.

I'd also like to throw out language study as a great way to understand culture. We've played with learning Latin for way too long (that pesky first law of the Teacher haunts me) but have gotten some Spanish, Latin and German study under our belts, along with some ASL. We're not fluent, but we understand a bit, along with the important and relevant fact that culture defines and determines language. I love movies that reflect this, like the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice.

And of course, don't forget travel to learn about history, world view and cultures. We have traveled (and lived) across the U.S. and we seek out living history re-enactments, plays, shows, museums, along with aquariums,  nature preserves, and national parks. 

I could go on and on about this topic but I'll wrap up by sharing some of our fav curriculum resources:
Rosetta Stone language (we currently have and use Hebrew and German- love it).
Powerglide languages
Classical Conversations memory work CD's and geography PowerPoint discs
Veritas Press history cards
Story of the World CD's and history books (my kids never tire of listening to the CD's)
Mystery of History CD's
Apologia eled Science CD's (brilliant idea, Apologia!)
Smithsonian Mag
Nat'l Geographic and Nat'l Geo for KidsMag
Ranger Rick
Biblical Archeology Review
Science News
National History Day (haven't done it yet but I've sure been tempted!)
NOAA and NASA web-sites
Memoria Press Geography
For more great curriculum finds:
Exploring Eastern Cultures with Sonlight by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Cell Unit Study - Mitochondria and Energy by Julie @ Highhill Education
Our Blended Social Studies by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair-Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science by Leah C @ As We Walk Along the Road
Exploring Canada by Annette @ A Net In Time
Project Passport: The Middle Ages by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings
Virtual Curriculum Fair- Exploring Our World by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me
Our Absolutely Positively Favorite History Curriculum Ever by Wendy @ Homeschooling Blessings
Science: learning to use what you are given by Piwi Mama @ Learning & Growing the Piwi Way
Historical Significance by Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
How We Are Exploring Our World as Homechoolers by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World
VCF:  Week 3 The Social Sciences by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
A Trip Around the World:  Homeschool-Style by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Exploring Our World:
Biology by Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Virtual Curriculum Fair: Learning about our World  by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory


Kristi said...

I have never heard of BAR, but I think this is something I'll definitely have to look into. It sounds fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing.

Susan said...

I love, love, LOVE this post, Lisa. Yes, yes, yes---exactly this. So much can be learned about other times and other places from literature. And there's not a day that goes by that we don't refer to one or more of the maps on our walls. Thank you so much for contributing to the Virtual Curriculum Fair!