Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our History Program

We are getting ready to start our new school year. I have almost all of our subjects planned out and ready to go. I tend to start planning around the subject of history, since it is the spine to our academics. I love history and find that far too many ignore it. It is shocking to me that, as we speak, the school systems of this nation are throwing Thomas Jefferson and others out of textbooks and rewriting history! This is because, as you probably know, the Texas School Board has decided that Thomas Jefferson will be removed from all textbooks. My Aunt Deb, who is a textbook writer for elementary and junior high grades, says all textbook publishing companies follow whatever the Texas School Board wants, as they order the most textbooks. Why the heck does one school board get to decide how children in this nation are educated?

"A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable." - Thomas Jefferson

What is our country thinking?! How bad are the school systems going to get?! If we don't teach our children about their nation's and the world's past, who will?

"A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia." - David McCullough

Anyway, I will get off my soapbox and just say that I am so glad that I am able to be home and give my children as even-handed, non-biased and broad education as I am able.

This year we will continue with Story of the World (SOTW) Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 as our spine with about 55 additional picture books and numerous hands-on projects. (We only have about eight chapters left in Vol. 2). We plan on "traveling" through history from about 1500 to 1850. Yes, I am a bit daunted by the task of covering that many years of world and American history. Thankfully, I am not required to make it all the way through to 1850, as I can set my own rules for the curriculum. If we need to slow down, we will. I would rather they learn from the past and make the connections necessary to understand the present. I am really excited about this next year. We finally get to America, and we get to cover this year some of my favorite people in history.

We hope to take some field trips to some great historical sights. I won't tell them yet, since they are still in the early stages of thought and planning.

I organize the books I already own with a post-it that shows which chapter in SOTW it will go with. In my SOTW activity book, I have post-its of which books are in the library that I may wish to check out.  I try to add in as many biographies as possible. We will continue with our timeline that is coming along nicely. I am using little figures that I make from templates found at the website Making Friends.
Here are the first three I have made for this year (Martin Luther, Shakespeare, and Queen Elizabeth). I just have about 20 more to go!

Well, there you have a really long peek ahead into what we will be doing for history.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I totally agree with you. The thought that TJ will be written out of history is horrifying.

  2. That whole TJ thing is confusing. 1) I don't understand if this was for an AmHist course or just a specific study? 2) Can't kids study both Jefferson AND Calvin? My kids study both.

  3. Forgot to add...I love the little people for your timeline. I think I might be inspired, even.

  4. How fantastic!! I'm just starting to plan now for our year. Check out the book All through the Ages by Christine Miller. She breaks history chronologically. Each section has a timeline, resources for all ages, books listed by gade level for overview of the era (specific events, literature, historical fiction, biographies, and culture) Its a wonderful source book and spine to use. I've already decided that will be our spine for the year and we will focus on the events on the timeline that I want the kids to know. It will be a blast! Have a great year Dawn!

  5. In Colonial Williamsburg, Patrick Henry always answers questions in the future. Although he assures us he is not a soothsayer, he can know the future because he knows the past. He alluded to this textbook thing by stating that he and the other Founding Fathers would be highly upset about it.

  6. Hi Dawn. I'm glad you get on your soapbox about history. More people should, but so few really know history now that it is easy for the government (ours, the UN and other "leaders") and our "beloved" NEA to rewrite history. Nobody cares anymore! Most people want the government to do everything for them, and they are just fine with the government running their lives, cradle to the grave. So many people don't care about history. They don't care about their future or the future of the next generation. They just have their hands out, and as long as the government keeps dropping a morsel into it, they'll just follow along like a herd of buffalo over a cliff. My husband gave me something yesterday to post on my blog regarding history. I'll get to it this afternoon, but it was timely.
    OK, stepping off my soapbox now . . . . I began organizing our books for history a few days ago. I bought All Through The Ages late last year and love it! Wonderful resource, as Michelle mentioned. I bought it before I was sure of the direction we wanted to take, though. At first I wanted to start with the Ancients and work through world history, but now I have decided to use TruthQuest History. We're starting with American History for Young Students I. Truth Quest guides have commentaries and book lists. I still love All Through The Ages, and use it when I can't find books that I want from the TruthQuest guide. I like your idea of the post-it notes. Last night I was trying to think of a system so that I would remember which books I'd planned to use. I'm bad about saying, "I thought we had a book about such and such", and then we'll all look for it, not find it, and then a month after we've moved on, my husband will discover a box of books buried in the cache that has just what we needed a month before. Yesterday I cleared a place on the bookshelf and gave him a list of books I'm pretty sure we have "someplace". Wish we had access to a library.
    Sounds like you have a fun year planned with your children.
    God bless,

  7. Good job! We use SOTW as well - to a certain extent anyway. It's going to be more of a jumping off point for us this next year - I referred to the timeline in the Appendix for our topics and the girls are going to create a notebook of research that they do on each. History is such an important subject!