Sunday, January 18, 2015

VCF- Globe Trotting

This week's Virtual Curriculum Fair, hosted by Susan over at Hearts and Minds, and Stacie at SuperMommy to the Rescue, includes content areas such as geography, history, world cutlures, worldview, biology, botony, geology and anything else under the scope of the social or science. Happy sigh. We love this stuff. In fact, Feeche took Anthropology last semester in college and score the highest grade in the class. The apple fell- kerplop.If you'd like to read what I've written for the VCF in past years on this topic, go here and here.

Let's start with Geography. Curriculums we l.o.v.e: Mapping the World with Art; Memoria Press Geography I and II, Classical Converstaions Foundations and Ch. A- we've been doing our fair share of Map Blobbing. We are liking the Map blobbing very much, though, admittedly, it is a bit intimidating first off. We have also used MCP's Maps curriculum, which I think is a great introduction to geography.Maps and globes in our house are de riguer, as well as some very beautiful Atlas' and star charts.

I have had some exceptionally geography oriented kid- globe carrying, map studying, history verifying, cross referrencing types. It didn't take muich to teach them- just throw maps on the wall, globes around the house, curriculum that enforces maps as essential to learning nad knowing and understanding the world in which they live and viola!  For kids not oriented that way, teach them geography- it is the grammar of history and culture.

We have traveled extensively and lived across the country- in New England, on the West Coast, Midwest, Southwest and Great Plains, and that in-itself, gives one great perspective on geograpy and how terrain and water and weather determine culture, traditions, economy and language. As we've traveled we have hit up every musuem, national park, state park, science center, living history museum and park we could afford and make time for. Our goal has been to seek out and experience what we can, where we are at. We are intentional about doing so.

World cultures has been pretty easy to teach when our family was younger and we lived on the west coast among internationals and our neighbors were from all over the world and many colors of the rainbow. It's a bit different living in the upper Midwest where people of color vary mostly between pasty winter pale and summer tan. That being said, there ar e still people here from all ovah the place and we have befriended folks from the Middle East and Europe and Africa. Kwowing poeple from other places and listening to their stories, is one of the best ways to teach world cutlures that I know.

Secondly, reading widely is also a great window into other places, cultures and people groups. Songlight curriculum and Bethleham books both have great reading lists.
Science- I mention the same thing every year: start with Magic School Bus books, take lots of nature walks, read the entire Tiner Series and then in 7th grade jump into the Apologia series, starting with General Science. Spend copious amounts of time watching science related videos like Moody and listeniing to CD's like Apologia's eled MP3's and tons of time going through the NOAA and NASA web-sites and have magazines lying. aroudn like Ranger Rick, NAtional Geographic for Kids, Science News and Biblical Archeology Today. Sign up for an on-line class or program, if you can afford it like Aurora Lipper's SuperCharged Science or a Bridgeway Academy Science Lab- both of which are very much worth the money.

Good science is the constant search for accurate information so teach your kids what that means and how to find it. This includes teaching the scientific method, vocabulary and hypothesizing. For us, the half and hour of Science activity found in CC's Foundations Community program has been invaleuable to teach the scientific method, (i.e. begining logic) in a way that is accessible, doable and memorable to young kids. Furthermore, in Challenge, Science is taught as natural outcome of the child's curiostiy, their need to know and their need to express about that knowing. Which I love. I see how effective this method is: priming the child's natural curisity and feeding it and then allowing the child to express what they've discovered. This is so much like Dr. Dh. His passion for finding answers to the things and his natural curiousity and zeal fro the natural world  has led him us on some amazing paths.

Don't underestimate the importance of Green Time. In other words, get outside. We live in the country and are surrounded by nature. We have seen hawks, eagles, beaver, marlin, skunks, possums, deer, coyotes and much more just by virtue of where we live. My kids are naturalists and know an amazing amount of information about the Great Plains because they are out in it. In California we had the beaches and mountains and an amazing, world class park (think botony) system. In New Mexico, the star gazing was, quite literally, world class. The city, too, has zoos and parks and streams, museums and nature centers. Maximize the resources of your location (i.e. think geographically).

History, how do I love thee? Timeline, baby, is foundational to truly understanding history. I've written about how and why to study a timeline here and here. We have memorized the 160 timeline cards in the VP pack and then switched over to the CC pack. The first 160 points on the timeline were hard work. The next 160 points on the timline were not so much. Pretty soon, we all have a lot of points on our timline memorized and it all started with the first 160 points, taken from cards. Pretty easy, eh?

We love Story of the World volumes 1-4. It's a must have for any educated person, but essential to the homeshcool. From there, get the History of the World, volumes 1-4, they are must haves for any educated person. You might not agree with everything. That's fine. It's a good, basic, solid overview of world history, devoid of doctrinal bias and not cultural-centric In other words, it's a true history of the world, including all of the continenets. The CD's are must haves. We've listened to them for years.
Diana Waring and Mystery of History CD's are good add-ons.
Bethleham Books, Sonlight, Veritas Press, Memoria Press are our go-to for good read-alouds, along with G.A. Henty. Forget what you hear about him being a racist- he was a man of his times and, while he writes formulaically, if you want to know some history, you'll find his written some good accounts.
We are very much enjoying Notgrass American History. Cub and Flower are reading it outloud to each other and I have nothing but great things to say about it.

We also study my myths and legends and classic literature- which allows great insight into cultures and the why of things. Cub is taking Myths and Legends through Bridgeway Academy this quarter and it is a great humanities overview. D'Aulaires Greek and Norse Myths- the Greek is now on CD (!), and more. Which takes us into World Religions. We do some overview but focus much more heavily on what our faith traidtion is- Christianity and how Jesus transcends space, time, ethnicity and culture to bring Salvation to all people. We celebrate the festivals and feasts and Hebrew roots, eytmological studies and in-depth Bible study. And we read Christian fiction and watch movies and listen to a ton of music- Chrsitian and Messianic and folk.
And lastly, Classical Conversations - you knew I get around to it, right? Listen to the CD's - the history sentences and the timeline songs. If you memorize all three cycles of history, that 72 history sentences. Think what a neurologically rich historical web your kids are creating in their little minds by memorizing the Bill of Rights and the Premble and so much more, complete with dates, people, places.

There's more, always more, but I have other things I have to get done. Go here to LINK UP and share your best resources for the Social Sciences! 

includes history, geogr aaphy, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geoloies gy, etc., etc., etc. @Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

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