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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?