Talkin’ School – History, Geography & Science

History, geography and science have been some of our very favorite subjects this year.  We begin our school day with them (after our calendar/bible time) and it’s a fun way to start our lessons!  We do Science 3 x’s a week on M, W, and F.  We do History twice a week on T and Th.


I love, love, LOVE our History curriculum and we’ll stick with it as long as we can.  We use Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer.History - the Middle Ages

We actually started with Vol. 2 instead of 1 but I figure we’ll circle around and study the pre-history era after going through Vol. 4.  Volume 2 is the Middle Ages (From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Middle Ages).  We’re a little over halfway through it because we’re taking our time and having a ton of fun with it.  I try to make sure we do at least one of the optional activities that are in each chapter.

A sample of one of the activities in the Viking chapter.
A sample of one of the activities in the Viking chapter.

Story of the World comes in two books.  The History textbook or reader is wonderfully entertaining.  I truly enjoy reading each segment to my boys and they seem to remember the events and details very well because the writing is so engaging.

The Activity book is awesome as well.  Every chapter has at least one coloring page that the boys can color while I read.  And these aren’t any wimpy coloring pages.  They’re neat, action-filled images that keep the boys attention.  (Even my #2 who doesn’t really like to color.)  I highly recommend the activity book because it has so much in it!  There are questions to ask the kids at the end of each segment to make sure they’re soaking in the info.  There’s recommended literature that you can check out to expand on each subject.  There is map work for each chapter.  And each chapter has 4-6 different activities that correspond to the history lesson.  We usually only do 1 activity per chapter but have done a couple on occasion.  I’m impressed with the many types of activities in this book.  There are art projects, sewing/costume projects, cooking/baking activities, poetry memorization, play-acting, games, and much more.  Every family is different and we always pick the activity that seems the most fun for us.  We love cooking together and have had a lot of fun making the many different meals that are throughout the book.  The recipes are quite tasty and I think the boys retain more with these fun activities tied into each lesson.

We will continue to work through the Story of the World curriculum at our own pace and bring in the 3rd volume once we finish the 2nd.  I highly recommend this History curriculum!

So do these Maori warriors!
So do these Māori warriors!



School Curriculum4

We used Evan-Moor’s Beginning Geography (Kindergarten) and Daily Geography (2nd Grade).  I thought it was very adequate.  The boys learned about how to read maps, globes, determine compass directions and learned about continents.  My kinder actually got a little more new information and did a lot on landforms and bodies of water.  It seems like my 2nd grader just did many different questions about different maps each week.  The plus side is that Geography went by very quickly and didn’t take much work at all.  The downside (for us), is that we LOVE Geography and we want to get a bit more in-depth with it!  We will probably not stick with the Evan-Moor Geography series for next year.  I’ve decided to post on Friday about the new curriculum we’re excited to try next year.


Early elementary botany We’re so happy that we’ve found the Apologia science curriculum.  This is a definite winner for us and we’ll probably stick with them through many of our elementary sciences.  This year we did Botany.  I was totally not looking forward to botany.  It just didn’t seem fun at all and I wasn’t sure how in the world we’d be able to spend all year learning about plants.  That said, this was a surprisingly fun and interesting course.

And I credit it all to the Jr. Notebooking Journal!  This journal made the difference for both me and my oldest son.  My younger one did some of this course but being in kindergarten, was too young to really care that much.  Especially at the beginning. (He’s definitely progressed throughout the year and does a lot more work along his brother.  I just copy pages from the journal for him to work on.)  The textbook is kind of a dry science textbook.  It’s full of information that you can either read straight to the kiddos or just highlight the main ideas.  It does emphasize creation over evolution which I like but sometimes it felt a little too preachy for a science course.  Apologia Jr Notebooking Journal Botany

The note booking journal made botany fun and my son absolutely loves the finished result.  It’s a journal filled with facts that he’s written, pictures of kinds of plants that he’s drawn, some coloring pages, plant parts that are glued into it, science projects/experiments, and best of all, mini books and different activities that are added in the appendix in the back.  Some of the activities were fact wheels, some were pop-up booklets that he made and glued in, and some are pull-out slides that he’s written facts on.  All of the mini activities are beautiful and colorful and look great when he’s finished what he needs to do on each one and glues them in on the appropriate pages.School Curriculum7

The science project pages focus on the scientific method and are fun to do.  Not that I’m cool enough to have time for us to do them all.  But I try my best and sometimes you’ve just got to leave it at that.  We also tramped outside a bit for nature finds when looking for specific plants or plant parts.  The boys loved getting outside for these explorations and it changed things up from the usual ‘sitting at a desk’ routine.

Now that we’re finished with the Botany, we’re moving on to a subject that we’re much more interested in next year – but we’re definitely sticking with the Apologia science curriculum!  And next year little #2 gets a notebook of his very own.


What are your thoughts on these subjects or curricula?  Have any publications that you’ve absolutely loved?



  1. I’m glad to hear such a positive review of Story of the World. It’s the curriculum we’re planning to use with our kids. Are you doing classical homeschooling, or just using the one classical curriculum?

    1. We didn’t start out planning to do classical schooling. I had just liked what I’d heard about Story of the World. In fact, I’d never really heard of what it was until I met a friend here who home schools her two children and they do Classical Conversations once a week. After hearing such positive reviews from her and many other families I’ve since met, we are thinking about enrolling our boys in Classical conversations next year. I will probably not move over to classical education completely but will base our other curriculum on whether it works for us or not. 🙂

  2. I had a tough time with Story of the World. It looks like you found a good balance with it. I found it overwhelming but maybe I need to revisit it at some point. We are going to do US history this year.
    I have never looked at the Apologia science due to the creationism over evolution part, but I really like the sound of the notebook. Do you need the textbook to do the notebooking?

    1. I think so. The notebook doesn’t have any subject matter that you need to get from the text. If you don’t want to teach the creationism, it is possible to skip over. Even though we believe that way, it got to be a little much for me at times so I just skipped over those sections.

    2. OK. Thank you! I will keep that in mind as we continue. I like the notebook idea, especially with my little guy. He loves making books and creative learning.

  3. Wow, you are doing a great job. I can’t help with any advice or recommendations unfortunately but am impressed as I definitely don’t have the patience to home school! It sounds like you are having a great time with it.

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