How I Teach History in a Large Family

Teaching and learning history helps me to appreciate the classical method of education.  Going though the rotation of history in chunks every four years makes sense to me. History is our most “classical” subject, it’s one that all of us enjoy so it makes sense that it is the cornerstone of our homeschool.  

We also like learning through unit studies. I appreciate when everything fits together nicely and connections can be made across subjects. That’s when learning really takes place. Not just learning for right now, but the learning in a permanent and concrete way.  Tapestry of Grace merges both of those things well.

Tapestry of Grace has fit the bill for us in so many ways.  If you have been a long time reader, you will know that a favorite of our family is Five in a Row.  I feel like Tapestry of Grace is Five in a Row on steroids! 

This is our first year using Tapestry of Grace, and we are barely scratching the surface of all the goodness. While researching TOG there were many warnings that it was too overwhelming and just too much. I had a great deal of encouragement from my friends Tricia and Barb and I just felt like it was going to be a good fit for us. Here is more on why I chose Tapestry of Grace.

How I Structure our Day with History

The first thing the older kids and I do each morning is watch CNN Student News. It kicks off the day with a bit of current events. Note: CNN is not where we get our daily dose of “real” news, but this is a great overview of what is going on in the world. Then we have the opportunity to discuss and share our worldview with the kids. 

Sarah has a this day in history calendar and we read the tidbit from the calendar. Then all the kids come to the table, we pray a decade of the rosary and the big kids go off to independent work and I work with the younger children.  We all meet up again before lunch to do our TOG reading.

I let the kids keep their hands busy with a quiet toy while I’m reading. Right now the Rainbow Looms are a good listening activity!

Sometimes we read our supplemental books in the afternoon, depending on how quickly we moved through our core books in the morning. Jacob, our 7th grader, has further reading that he does on his own.  Even though I do have strong readers, none of my kids particularly love to read. While I do  a good majority of the reading aloud, I don’t mind.

We also make time for field trips and other hands on learning. Ideally we will start incorporating more of the projects and other activities in Tapestry of Grace.

A month or so ago we read a historical fiction book about the state of Florida.  We loved the book and wanted to explore a bit more about pioneer life in Florida so we took a field trip to a pioneer village. These are the things that make history come alive for our children and for us. I may not be a crafty mom, but I do like to explore with my kids. 

All that to say history is such a joy to teach! History is hands down my favorite thing to dig into with the children, most of the time I feel like I am learning right along with them. Like science, history can be another go and do activity. It’s not just a dry and boring old subject.

That’s what works for us right now for history!
Be sure to check out the rest of the Winter 2014 Hopscotch series

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