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When DrDaddy and I sat down at the beginning of this process and thought what we would like the outcomes of our schooling adventure to be, one of the things we decided was important to us is that we laid a broad groundwork of general knowledge down in the kids. By general knowledge we’re not talking about thousands upon thousands of factoids, but rather a broad general base of understanding of how the both how the world works (physics, chemistry, geography, biology) and where we as peole in this era come from, and how we got here (history). For this reason we have introduces all of these subjects into our education plan right from the start. We want to give the kids a conceptual framework into which they can slot all the new knowledge they come across as they explore more and more subjects and ideas on their own.

Over the last two days we have started introducing history. We have chosen to use the Story of the World books and activity books by Susan Wise Bauer. I loved the look of this “curriculum” for so many reasons. Firstly because it covers history in sequential order. When I was taught history at school we jumped around in time and I never quite managed to understand where events fitted in, and the “whys” of what was happening – which is probably what led to me dropping history as soon as I was able! The idea of a chronological story of the world appealed to me hugely. Secondly it looks at the history of the WORLD, and not just Western civilisations – we will be looking at India, China, the Americas, Africa as well as Europe. For children who will be adults in an increasingly globalised world I feel this is important. It is in addition a fantastically hands-on curriculum – more about that in a moment…

So yesterday and today we began to look at the idea of history: what it is, why it is important to know about the past, and ways in which we can find out about history. Each lesson begins with a short reading from Susn Bauers book, which is written in a very easy-to-read style and is very narrative (she uses stories about people often to illustrate points rather than just dishing out the facts). The kids then tell me what they remember about what they have read, and we discuss anything that arises from that. We then have a look at the relevant pages in our Usborne internet-lonked Encycopaedia of World History – a wonderful, exciting, vibrant, full-colour book (which I catch the kids paging through in their down-time too!) The book contains website addresses which we also take a look at. Today for example we looked at a website all about an archaeological dig – with wonderful animations and pictures of all the aspects of a dig – from tools, to techniques to finds – and even a video clip of archeologists at work.    

Then follows a relevant activity – and the two we have done this week have certainly captured the kids imagination. Yesterday they made a time-line of their own lives using old photos. They dived into this and I couldn’t pull them away. In fact they were both busy still putting finishing touches on their masterpieces this morning!

Ross's LONG timeline

ProfessorBiggs's LONG timeline

LadyLol displays her work-in-progress

LadyLol displays her work-in-progress

 

Close-up of LadyLol's timeline

 

 

 

Today we turned the sand-pit into an archeological dig. This was a great success – especially

 after watching the real dig on the internet.

The dig area is marked out into sections with string
The dig area is marked out into sections with string
The first find.
The first find.
The find is carefully removed from the soil
The find is carefully removed from the soil
sand removed from the site is carefully sifted
sand removed from the site is carefully sifted

All finds are carefully cleaned with a soft brush

finds are logged, and what they tell us about the "sandpit people"is discussed.
finds are logged, and what they tell us about the “sandpit people”is discussed.

All the finds and the final log

LadyLol had informed me that she is adding “Archeologist” to her list of possible future careers.
ZooMomma
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