We are back from two weeks vacation for feasts. It was a rather average week, but I’m learning that there is something to learn and something to share even during the average weeks. Here are some things we did on the homeschool front this week.
We have been learning about the seven continents. We have memorized them, and learned about one each day. We still have Australia to cover next week.
Each day I read a short chapter about the continent, including topography, people groups, exports, history, etc. Then I printed off a map for them to fill in. Sometimes we labeled countries, or landmarks. Sometimes, like with Antarctica, they drew pictures of interesting facts about Antarctica. They drew science labs and volcanoes and penguins. We also had lots of fun with an online map puzzle of the continents. Even Sadie was able to point to the correct location of each continent. It has a timer, so we kept trying to beat our times.
Sometimes less is more. I am very glad for that, because history was definitely less this week. All I did was read the chapter each day and discuss it a bit. I am glad for good living books that will stand alone. The text alone is sufficient to transport us, to envelop us, to share new experiences with us. Reading good books cannot be replaced by worksheets, printables, crafts, or projects. Those are all very good things, but they just aren’t the same as the wonderful journey a book can take us on. I think this is particularly true of history books. My history curriculum when I was homeschooled in high school was mainly made up of historical fiction. Even my “history schoolbooks” were well chosen. A History of US: 11-Volume Set put me in the seat next to Rosa Parks and crossing the Delaware with Washington.
Would I agree with everything found in a history book or historical fiction? No. But I learned that history is made up of real people in real places. They ate breakfast and went to work and got injured and lost money and struggled and triumphed, just like me. There are no perfect people in the world. There are also no perfectly evil people either. (Think about that one for a minute.) We all make good choices and bad choices and as we learn history, we learn to dissect. We learn to find the good choices that people made. We learn to avoid the mistakes that people made. We can identify right and wrong as we compare all to Torah. I am glad for the opportunity to teach my children discernment at a young age with the help of history.
We are using A Child’s History of the World. I do not recommend every word written in this book. But I do recommend this book. This week, we were in the Hanging Gardens with Nebuchadnezzar, shaking our heads when he began eating grass. We understood Jonah’s fear of the evil Ninevites. We rightly predicted the fall of Rome after learning of its wicked beginning.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20, particularly when you are wearing the glasses of Torah. 🙂
This week we learned about Noach. The kids drew pictures of Noah and the ark. We stressed accuracy in the drawings, like the lack of windows, the presence of dinosaurs, the extra kosher animals. We also read a story about responsibility as an act of love.
I have been working very hard on this concept of routine. I want to develop a predictable rhythm in our home. I have been trying to enforce the idea that “B” does not happen until “A” is complete. As I talked about in a previous post, I have been developing an evening routine. It is based on this idea, but I made it myself. It looks like this:
- clean living room
- set table
- prepare and eat dinner
- clear table
- put away clean laundry
- clean kitchen
- finish leftover schoolwork
- pick up toys
- put on jammies
- brush hair
- read out loud
- brush teeth
All of these are represented by a picture that everyone can identify. It will take some practice, but I think it will work out well. It is nice to simply direct them to the chart to see what comes next. We definitely had some trouble spots in our trial run. Putting away the laundry was nearly a disaster, and Isaac just couldn’t seem to stay focused on his reading lesson. Again, it will take work and sticktoitiveness, but I think it is worth the effort. Once we get this part of the day under control, we can move on to morning.
What I learned this week
- I really like maps!
- Africa has rainforests. How did I not realize that before?
- Sometimes I need to stretch myself to meet the needs of those around me.
- Kombucha is really fun to watch as it grows a new culture.
- My children are awesome!
I hope you had a great week, too. Shabbat Shalom to everyone!