Earlier this year, I purchased a new history curriculum that I had read about and researched online as well as heard the praises of in forum that I follow. The children were really excited when we started the book (Story of the World). It reads in a story-like format and follows up with various activities. I liked the fact that the book followed chronological order and thought this was a plus since it seems logical to study what happened in the past in order! However, I noticed from the beginning that the lessons seemed to be very shallow and left out a great deal of historical information.
The main topics in the book only cover the most basic of information. I knew from the beginning that I would need to find supplemental information, but I did not realize just how much extra would be needed. I also begin finding some ideas in the text that did not line up with what I was finding in other books and online. For example, while studying Egypt, I found some name discrepancies when comparing the Story of the World text with another text that we were using to supplement out studies. I was a little cautious after I found this, but I continued with the book. However, after completing our study on Egypt (which my children thoroughly enjoyed), I discovered that some of the lessons that followed were not historically accurate. In an effort to make the book take on the story form, I felt that the author took a lot of liberties in adding information that was unnecessary and did not correspond with what I believed (the stories were of a Biblical nature). At this point, I could not ignore my leeriness of the book any longer.
We have since discontinued our Story of the World history text. I still would very much like the kids to study history in chronological order. While I have been diligently searching, I have been unable to find a written curriculum book that will fit our need. I do want to continue to teach the history as a
"group" lesson rather than having them learn separate topics on their own. Needless to say, I began my history lesson research today. I have created an outline of study that we will work through over the next however many months it takes to bring us to present day "history." I will be using various sites that I have found online as well as documentaries from the library and YouTube.com. I hope to start our independent history study next week.
On a side note, for the next week, we will be using the Scholastic site found here. It is a part of the Black History month activities that they have put together. It is a great lesson/online tour/story activity that you can follow to learn about the lives of slaves and their use of the Underground Railroad. We have already completed part of the site. Not only have my children enjoyed it, I have too. It is really fun to learn new things right along with my children! If you are a home schooler and have not joined the Scholastic Teacher's Site, I would highly recommend it. At Thanksgiving, they had another activity site up that followed the Pilgrims and even had a Live Virtual Tour/Interview that we were able to watch Live online. It was very interesting. Here is some more information on the Scholastic Teacher's site.