Last week a reader (Karen Bailey) left a comment wondering about our History and Geography homeschool lessons as we were studying Egypt, Greece and The Roman Empire. On the surface, or at first glance, this does seem like a lot for a kindergartener.
Karen’s comment said:
One question I have for you is how do your boys handle all the different topics that are covered in week and how much depth does the curriculum go into?
I was wondering how your boys were coping with things like ancient Rome and Greece etc. They just seem very young to be covering such a lot of work. You also said that homeschooling is taking 3- 5 hours per day, yet I have read that under 7 year olds only need about 2 hours of individual learning.
The best way for me to answer this is to show you guys. And I bet if Karen is wondering, others are wondering because I am certain the word Geography was not part of my vocabulary when I was six and in Kindergarten.
Great question, Karen!
Our Geography and History Lesson
As I’ve shared before there is a lot of reading in this curriculum. You can choose to leave it at that, but as I’ve also mentioned before, my boys are more hands on and want something to do.
For the most part there are two main books we use during our History/Geography lessons. These books are: The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago and The Usborne Internet-Linked Children’s Encyclopedia.
The way the curriculum is scheduled, it tells us what to read each day. Generally it is 1-2 pages from the books listed above. This could take 10-20 minutes based on the degree of questions the children have. The way these books are laid out, you will see how the questions can lead to lots of elaborating about the topics. My boys have lots of questions and like to relate things to their lives.
Here are some pages about Ancient Rome.
The pages are broken up into sections with pictures and explanations.
Here the encyclopedia shows us what a Roman home looked like.
My boys love to look at what a family looked like then, they are amazed people had pets like cats and dogs and they dig into the beautiful illustrations.
We talk about the foods they ate, how they gathered their food, what a feast looked like then, the clothes they wore and how everyone worked together in their towns and communities.
Then, we have a large laminated map on one of our walls in our homeschool area. This is a map that came with the curriculum.
I outline and label (sloppy, I know) the area we are talking about.
Then we always reference back to Texas and the United States to see how far away the areas we are learning about are to travel to from where we live now.
(We learned about the seven continents the first week of school. One day we drove past a large crop field on our way out of town to visit my in-laws. Luke says from his seat, Look Dad, there is Africa. Even though it clearly was not Africa, I was so happy he was retaining the new words, knowledge and ideas he was learning about.)
The curriculum does share internet links so we can print off color sheets and get other activities and ideas to do with our lesson if we choose. My boys need and want this.
Here is a color sheet I printed for free that went with our Roman lesson. Luke colored his. Nick colored his and carefully cut it out. He wanted to use it to pretend he was in a Roman battle later. I just let them lead and utilize these things the way they wish and use their imagination.
Then, another day we made mosaic art. We learned from the encyclopedia that in Ancient Roman homes there were mosaic floors.
Initially I tried to find some mosaic templates online, but then I found myself on a wild goose chase. So, I just drew two suns and cut them out. Then, I cut colored construction paper into small squares and they went to town gluing their own mosaic suns.
Depending on the amount of questions, if we add a craft or a color sheet to the lesson, we spend about 20-30 minutes on History/Geography at a time. Some days the boys may be done with school work after doing Bible, Math, Handwriting and Read-a-louds, so we may lump two days of History together later in the week. I honestly find that to be easier. Remember, we are still getting into a routine that works for us.
Some days we spend 3-4.5 hours doing school work. Some days they are done after just two hours.
Some days we will do a couple of hours in the morning and then a couple of hours in the afternoon. The boys seem to really like that, but I hate dragging school out like the.
Really, I let them lead but with my direction, if that makes sense. I can tell when it is time to wrap things up and just finish tomorrow.
While it seems a little fancy that we learned about Egypt, Greece and The Roman Empire, it was brought down to their level and was not over saturated.
Homeschooling Week 4:
Memory Work: Matthew 7:12
Bible: The Patriarchs (Joseph and Job)
History: More on Ancient Rome (We will make Roman Bread Pudding using a recipe found in the Living Long Ago book. We might even have a Roman feast and eat with our hands.)
Geography: Italy; The Roman Empire; Israel; India
Letter of the Week: T t
Creative Expression: Recollection and Story Elaboration
Science: Because Science is the last subject on our list each day, the boys are done by the time we get to Science. And if it is not a hands on experiment they are not interested. Crazy, because they love Science.
While there are experiments that go with this curriculum, there is not an experiment each day, but there is reading each day.
I am considering 4 weeks of school work and then take a week off and only do Science. Still up in the air here. Maybe this will just work itself out?
Math: count pennies/choose larger and smaller/more left, right and middle/count 1-15/days of the week/1-9 tracing/ordinals first-seventh/complete patterns and sequence/ tell time 1:00 o’clock/ colors: orange, red, blue /shapes: rectangle, triangle