Since my last post about narrative-driven history study, I’ve had some wonderful conversations and some questions about what we’re about to do next in our own home classroom. So I will tell you: we ended out last year with the Age of Enlightenment and the American Revolution. Being the ever loyal Anglofile, we will continue our timeline on both sides of the pond, studying the Victorian Era the first semester, and Westward Expansion in the United States the second.
There were a few things I wanted to accomplish during this history study.
- I wanted to have our literature study be handed to us, which it was. Poe, Dickens, Twain, Jane Austen, the Romantic poets, I mean. There’s lots of good stuff in this era, and I didn’t even have time for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is a tragedy given that gothic literature is my husband’s Thing.
- I wanted to wrap up our Victorian study by December so that we could have a Victorian Christmas, incorporating all the wonderful British decor, recipes, songs, games, high tea, etc. we could pack in, and of course read (again) A Christmas Carol. It worked out perfectly.
- I wanted to dovetail our history timeline with our biology study. Again: it was so easy! As I was creating my course outlines, I noticed that handily we got to Darwin in history just as we were getting to him in biology. Points of connection like that are so fabulous.
- I wanted to make it fun, incorporating movies, comics, novels, activities and documentaries into our study.
- Finally, I wanted to accomplish all of this in two short semesters: September – November, and again in January – February. In my three years of homeschooling, I have observed that we all want a long December break from normal study. We always pack that month full of practical and holiday-related activities: watching documentaries of the history of the December holidays, gift-wrapping, song-writing and performing, game playing, and general creative time. We also burn out by March and become absorbed in band concerts, public speaking, Science Olympiad, etc. The kids need more open-ended time at home during the last three months of the spring semester for creative exploration, and this year I’m determined to give it to them (and me).
Husband-Jamie and I along with the kids and dog, are in the midst of a cross-country vacation. We drove 36 hours from North Dakota to South Carolina in a 5-seater Camry so that we could visit our respective families. During those long drives, Jamie, who is a Victorian scholar, helped me create my outline for the year. Though it’s a rough draft and is still vague in some areas, it’s a great start. Feel free to contact me here or by email if you want to talk more about it.
Pip-pip cheerio and all that sort of rot! Until next time….
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