Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Story of the World: Vol 1: Chapter 1: The First Nomads

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This is part of a series where I share about our Story of the World lessons.   Even if you don't use SOTW, you might enjoy the ancient history activities shared.

Since my son has a short attention span we did each sub-chapter of Story of the World on a separate day, and sometimes even broke that up into small parts.   I decided to break up "The Earliest People - The First Nomads"  into two parts, then did a special activity on the third day.  We used Stone Age People, a book we found at our library, to supply the pictures Story of the World was lacking.

Stone Age People is part of the Make It Work Series, which has a lot of crafts and projects kids can do related to the time period, as well as a lot of great historical information.  We mainly used it for the pictures, but might do some of the crafts later.

It does have info about human evolution.  If you're concerned about that, it's easy to skip when using the book piecemeal as a backdrop for the Story of the World reading, as we did.


On the first day, we read the first four paragraphs of the section "The First Nomads" in Story of the World.  We were doing this as part of "play school" today  (I teach a lot of my lessons pretending to be a dinosaur teacher, and my son pretending to be a number of toy students in a pint size works for us).   So some of the other toy "students" answered the questions along with my son.  My son said that he slept in the same place every night, but his toy "Lion" slept in a different place every night...we even talked about why that might be (ie, because lions needed to follow the prey).  That made a great segue to paragraph two.

At paragraph three I pulled out Stone Age People and turned to the page where they have a scene with hunter gatherers that made a perfect illustration for what we were reading.  As we read the paragraph I asked him to find some of the things it talked about, like people gathering berries and hunting.

Then we turned to the next page, where they had pictures of various types of homes and shelters, and I asked him which ones you could take with you or set up quickly if you were traveling around, which ones you could build a fire in, and which ones would be nicer when it was cold vs. when it was hot.  Then I read the last paragraph and we looked at the cave pictures later on in Stone Age People (pg 36 - 37).

Later  we read The First Dog by Jan Brett, a beautifully illustrated story about a boy and a wolf who befriended him, and became the first dog.

Day 2

On the second day we read the story of Tarak and her brother in Story of the World , looking again at page 16 - 17 of  Stone Age People.   Also, the older version of Story of the World actually had a nice illustration of Tarak catching lizards, one of the few illustrations I think is better in the older, un-revised version.

Afterwords we started a book about Tarak and her family using a cave printable I made (free to download). 

You can see she made handprints on the cave wall, like some of the cave art we had looked at, and in this story Tarak had a wolf like the story of the The First Dog (and the wolf had a pup in his version).  The green thing to the left of Tarak is one of the lizards she caught.

DAY 3 - Hunter Gatherer Hike

For our activity we decided to do a "hunter gatherer" trek on a nearby hiking trail.   I invited another homeschooling family to come along, and discovered that they were doing Story of the World too!  

I made some really simple toy bows and arrows and spears.  SERIOUSLY SIMPLE.  Those are branches from our tree and some weed stalks (we have some really vigorous roadside weeds here in Texas...I suggest wild goldenrod if it lives near you). The string is just brown yarn, and the tips are cardboard.

The bows actually sort of  worked (they could shoot the "arrows" a few feet...not fast enough to hurt anyone, but far enough to be "cool."

I attached the tips of the spears by splitting the top of the branches and inserting the cardboard ...then binding yarn around to make it tighter.  If I had thought better I would have cut a "shaft" on the tips and wrapped the yarn around that.  They might have stayed on longer that way....but they worked well enough.  The kids were happy about their weapons.

We didn't know that the trail had been decorated for Halloween, so we ad-libbed and wondered who had made these strange statues (of minions and other such things), and what they might mean.

One of the kids found snails and we talked about how that would be great in our soup that night (No, we didn't really eat wild escargot for us!).

We stopped for a break of seeds and berries my friend had brought (um..."gathered earlier"), and then hiked down to a small stream.  I had hoped to find animal prints near the muddy bank...we did find one dog print (um...I mean..."wolf" print), and lots of tiny fish we pretended to catch for supper.  AND, my friend found an edible plant, purslane, which we tried, with mixed reactions (her daughter hated it so much she drank her whole water bottle washing the taste away...but I liked it.  It sort of tastes like lettuce.).

So, if you are trying this, it might be fun to see if your library has a book on common editable plants to familiarize yourself with beforehand (in case you don't have a friend with who just happens to know of some).  Be your research well, but you should be safe with common, easily recognizable plants like dandelion (purslane actually has a poisonous doppelganger, spotter spurge, so make sure you study up on look alikes and know how to tell the difference before sampling).  Also, you want to make sure to wash anything well before you eat it (you can rinse with a water bottle), and avoid collecting anything where pesticides or herbicides might have been sprayed (our purslane was found well off the beaten path so should have been safe).

Overall the nomad hike was a great success!  The kids enjoyed it and it really made what they had read come alive.


During Reading:  
Stone Age People (for illustrations)

Supplemental Reading:

Cave Book Activity:

Nomad Hike Activity:
  • Straight Branches (and something to cut them with)
  • Yarn or Twine
  • Cardboard 




  1. What a neat idea! We just finished that section of SOTW! We are going on a field trip this week (see the post next week) to an Archaeological Museum/Center!!

  2. What a fab way to get kids learning about different periods in history! I bet they loved making the bows and arrows, hands on fun is always a great way to get out and enjoy the fresh air and learn. It's wonderful that you managed to find some edible plants as well, always a great experience for kids.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    1. Well, I actually made them for them (in retrospect, should have had them help) but they enjoyed using them. Thanks so much for the great link-up. :-)

  3. I would like to go and an edible plant course one day.There's someone local who makes stone age tools as part of bush craft skills for shows and festivals.

    1. I'd love to take an edible plant course too. I've read a lot but being out in the field having someone show you would be so much better.
      Making your own garden tools is a great idea for this chapter, especially if you had older kids who were up for a bigger project. What a great idea.

  4. Replies
    1. It was. It's one of my faves that we've done.