Oh history. It can be a thrilling subject; I’ve spent hours engulfed in the History Channel. I adore that channel, it happens to be one of the few reasons I would ever consider getting cable or satellite again. While watching the History Channel is great, teaching history, on the other hand, can turn an interesting subject into a total nightmare. When you take away the trained narrator with his/her amazing voice inflection, leave the re-enactments on the cutting room floor, turn off the well-rehearsed musical piece, you are left with just the bare bone facts. And facts…well they can be rather boring, especially to children.

Now in an ideal world I would be able to turn on the History Channel, or acquire one of their many DVDs, and just allow TBM to sit and soak up all the history knowledge they could ever possibly need. We don’t live in an ideal world though…we live in reality, and in reality TBM find the History Channel to be just as dull and boring as ever history class I was ever forced to sit through. Those were actually genuinely boring, a lot of note taking, monotone documentaries, and tons of dates to remember. Did I learn anything in those classes, no not really, I spent my time lost in daydreams or reading the stuff I wanted to learn about. I didn’t appreciate history until I became a regular History Channel watcher, years of knowledge missed because of the way the subject was presented in school. I don’t want TBM to miss out on the experience that is historical learning, because I failed to present it in an enjoyable way.

So I’ve mulled over various ways to go about it without feeling like I’m sacrificing certain ideals we hold dear*i.e. purchasing curriculum materials that go against the core values in our home*. After a good six months of book buying, internet searching, review reading, and scheduling I think I have found what will work for us.

Truth Quest History! ...JUST KIDDING!! I promise that was a joke! Ok so what I have I really found? Well, a combination of various materials with lots of hands on stuff thrown in, hopefully this will produce enough information for a solid foundation on this year’s history topic while allowing things to be fun as well.

This upcoming school year we are tackling the Middle Ages! If only we lived near a Medieval Times! There is a lot that can be learnt during this time period, but I honestly don’t see the point in cramming a bunch of facts into small children’s heads. They need to experience the material first, so when the time comes to learn the facts and figures they are actually eager to do it. That’s the way I see it anyways.

Using History Odyssey as my guide I went through and plucked the items I felt would produce a well-rounded understanding of the Middle Ages for elementary level students. Considering how we will be revisiting this time period again due to us using the Classical approach in relation to history, I see no need to sweat the small stuff right now. I did make one major tweak to our studies; I will be weaving the study of various religions in with history this year unlike last year.

Christianity and Islam both play major roles in the shaping of our world during the Middle Ages, I feel I would be doing a disservice to TBM’s education if I continue to ignore the religious element of human history. I of course planned to hit it head on later down the line, but I’m starting to see that the present is as good a time as any to start the enormous task. I’ll break down what I intend to cover and then touch on how I’m planning to work in the religious element.

For the 2011-2012 School Year we will be covering:

The Roman Empire

“The Dark Ages”

England & France


The Crusades

The Black Death

Queen Elizabeth

William Shakespeare *we will be reading some of his various works for our language arts studies*

China & Japan


The Middle East

The Americas

These will be broken down over the course of our year *we school year round with our year broken down into seasonal quarters (summer, fall, winter, and spring…we start our school year during the summer)*. We will still do our hands on “day in the life” geared learning this year, with us having actual outfits (that I intend to sew before the 4th of July) to go along with our learning. Being the Middle Ages there are tons of fun things to do from castle building to epic swordfight battles. The possibilities are endless and I’m really looking forward to our hands on work this upcoming school year.

Now comes the “fun” part, bringing in the religious study. It won’t be too in-depth, more of a taste of what people believe and a building of the groundwork that will help them understand the impact these beliefs had on the world.

I’m going to start first with a study of Judaism, followed by Christianity, then Islam, and lastly a brief overview of the religious beliefs of various American civilizations (Mayan, Inca, Native Americans, etc.), Buddhism, and Shinto. These studies will correspond with the main history topics being taught. I’ve figured out which religions to teach and when to teach them, the materials for teaching though still elude me.

As much as it pains me to do it I think I may purchase children’s study books for the major monotheistic religions, this will give me something to use as a core spine for those three. I will just have to deal with the issue of each painting itself in a picture perfect light as we make our way through the books. The others though I will have to do some digging *and a few library visits* to find what I’ll use as my guide. I think as long as TBM walk away from their studies with a basic understand of these religions I’ll be happy. I still plan to go more in depth with the big three at least, so just like with our core history studies I won’t be sweating the small stuff when it comes to the religious studies this upcoming school year.

That pretty much sums up our history for this upcoming school year. Wow that turned into an extremely long post! Now to finish sorting the supplies and hunting for fabric for our period themed garments!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but be warned if you are here to be hateful no one will see your comments...unless I'm in a foul mood at which point I will let my minions loose on you. Muwhahahahaaa. ;)