Monday, September 14, 2015

How Dragons and VBS Helped Us Out of Our History Rut

Sometimes, when you love something, it makes it harder.  I LOVE history, so choosing a history curriculum was HORRIBLE for me.  I just obsessed about it and couldn't decide.  It didn't help that  my child had shown no interest in history, and that my attempts to start without a curriculum just with library books fell flat.  Last year, after that, I didn't even try.  It just seems so hard to fit all the wonderful historical details of any historical topic into the bite size attention span of my 6 year old.

Now he's a year older, and, thanks to "How to Train Your Dragon" he suddenly showed an interest in vikings.  Could this be a way in?
Be A Viking! Postcard
Be A Viking! Postcard by thinkytees
(Affiliate link from which I could earn commission
...but mainly using it cause I think it's funny.)
But Vikings are sort of a weird place to start really, right in the middle of things...and I still sort of had my heart set on going chronologically.

So, I decided to just...ask him.   The coversation went something like this:

ME: We need to start history soon. Would you like to start in really ancient history, or would you rather start by learning about Vikings, and then we can go back and learn about other stuff later? Or we could start with learning about how America started?

HIM: So, ancient history is like...dinosaurs? (With excited look)

ME: Well, yeah, but we've studied a lot about that already. I was thinking about what came after dinosaurs.

HIM: Oh, like there's this extinct rhinoceros that...
(I cut him off)

ME: Actually, I was thinking about learning about people.

HIM: Oh. Well, Vikings are pretty ancient, aren't they?

ME: Yeah, they are. Though there were people before them. Like (I get out paper and draw a pyramid) one of the first civilizations were Egyptians...we learned about them in church. Do you remember when we did VBS and learned about Moses and how the Isrealites escaped from Egypt a couple years ago?"

HIM: Umm...No.

ME: Remember when we set up all the tents and stuff..

HIM: OH yeah! I remember that!

(Our church does a Vacation Bible School where we do sort of a living history version of a different Bible story each year)

ME: Well the Isrealites had just left Egypt (I try to draw a Spinx to go with the pyramid). And after Egypt there were a people called the Romans. Rememeber the year before that when we did Rome in VBS?

HIM: No.
(I pull up some pictures of Romans on the internet and then he remembers..."Oh, yeah...Rome! I remember Rome!")

 This was the year our church "visited" Rome.

And then I pull up pictures of Vikings, and tell him that they came a while after Rome.  And I pull up some pictures of Egyptians for him to look at...cause why not.   When he sees the pictures of ancient egyptian stuff he gets all excited and asks "Can learn about mummies and stuff?!

Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun Postcard
Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun Postcard by bridgemanimages
(I shamelessly decorate with Zazzle links from which I could earn commission.)  

 And of course I say YES.  (BIG HAPPY GRIN, CAUSE ANCIENT HISTORY IS REALLY WHERE I WANTED TO START ANYWAYS!)    AND, I had already been looking hard at Story of the World, so...I ran out and bought it on ebay (review to come soon). 

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  1. They learn so much more when it's something they're interested in :)

  2. Ironically, I hated history until I started teaching it to my own children. Now I can't get enough. My oldest son was a sponge and would spend months on one time period absorbing everything he could about the dress, culture, foods, beliefs, geography, etc. His enthusiasm was contagious. I now have a list a mile long of places I want to visit!

    1. I was never that fond of it in school...though I loved Historical Fiction. What got me into the non-fiction was, of all things, volunteering for Vacation Bible School. Our church has done 5 years of "Holy Land Adventure" VBS where we "visit" a different story and recreate the place it takes place in as well as we can with cardboard, paint, and such. Our first year was Egypt, and a little online treck to research my character lead to hours and hours of exploring, making up a guide for the other volunteers, and getting hooked on history.

  3. I've always enjoyed history, but learning it again in our homeschool has been so fun. It's my favorite subject!

  4. Great way to be creative! As long he's learning, it doesn't have to be the way "we learned". Obviously, he loves dinosaurs. And now maybe mummies!

    1. Yes, we only got half way through Story of the World this year, but we DID get to Mummies, and he loved that part. We mummified an egg. I'm going to be posting about it this summer or maybe next year.

  5. I have loved going through ancient civilizations this year! We are currently studying about Rome using Sonlight's curriculum, with the addition of a few other books and resources I found. Teaching history to a seven-year-old is sometimes like teaching a baby to speak full sentences, but with the help of Pinterest and a little of my own creativity I managed to make it both interesting and fun!

    1. That's so true..."Teaching history to a seven-year-old is sometimes like teaching a baby to speak full sentences." But its been fun too. Just been breaking it up into itty bits and adding lots of creative activities, like you. :-)