As I settle into the first week of June, I am already excited about round 2 of homeschooling. We had such a great year using a mostly “classical” approach, that now we are ready to add-to and take-away and make it even greater.
I absolutely loved using ancient history as our guiding light throughout the past year. We started with Story of the World volume 1 and even though my daughters were in grades 4 and 5, it worked beautifully. Being an avid reader and writer myself, I enjoyed creating my own worksheets, reading comprehension pages, and tests for my girls. I have recently made some of these page available for download through the Teachers pay Teachers site! (Please email me if interested!)
We started with the dawn of civilization in the Fertile Crescent, and we didn’t rest until we had memorized the first 15 emperors of the Roman Empire. Yes, our history spanned 5,000 years and a massive amount of geography, but through it all we stayed focused and streamlined, creating artwork, writing assignments, watching films, and reading books that fit in with our time period and culture.
Our science followed suit: we studied biology with an emphasis on animal life the first semester, anatomy the 3rd quarter, and plant life the final stretch of the year. We memorized early scientists who made great contributions to biology; we constructed lap books and foldables; we created powerpoint and poster presentations; we read lots of encyclopedia entries and library books. And above all, we enjoyed learning!
Of course, grammar work, writing, math, Bible, piano lessons, keyboarding and playtime permeated every single day. But the true highlight was our afternoon time spent diving into ancient history and science. We decided we didn’t really agree with most of Hammurabi’s law code, and we loved Carl Linnaeus for giving us such an organized system for learning animals. We thought many of the ancient rulers were unusually cruel, but we admired Hatshepsut for her graceful, productive reign. We discovered frogs that were no bigger than our pencil eraser, witnessed the anger of the kiwi bird, and were frightened by the angler fish’s smile. We greatly admired Alexander, and we fully respected Julius Caesar. My girls were particularly sad to hear how his life ended and that Rome wound up ruled by a tyrant after all.
And we’re ready to move on! We will take a short break this summer, with plans to read Little Women and Bridge to Terabithia together. The girls will attend a few summer camps and work on crafts to enter in the fall fair. And I, hopefully, will reflect and refuel. I will nourish my soul so that in just a few short months I will be fully ecstatic to start it all again!