Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Praise of Story of the World Volume I: Ancient Times

I love this program. It's as simple as that. It's what ds and I look forward to every day (from Monday through Thursday that is), and it's what inspires us and motivates us. Can we have History first? his exuberant, hopeful voice echoes through the house first thing after breakfast. Of course I think to myself, save the best for last. Somehow we end up doing History in the middle, not all the way last, but not first either.

Susan Wise Bauer has written an engaging narrative for youngsters like ds who are just starting on this academic learning journey. She writes in a genial way, but that doesn't take away the serious connections, pathways and learning that take place between the lines. Furthermore, the Activity Guide is her masterpiece, where she combines quality reading lists with comprehension questions, encyclopedia pages linking to the subject, both fiction and nonfiction recommendations, mapwork activities, coloring pages, and projects that tie in and reinforce the learning. It's a complete history curriculum! I like the idea of incorporating reading, writing, researching and crafts all in one. Ds is having a blast and is engaged. We listen to the audio version, and ds follows along in the book. Next year I think he'll be ready to read on his own, but we have the audio at the ready to introduce and review.

A plus is that I am learning along with him! I loved history in high school and college, but in elementary it was so-so. To me, it was all a string of wars with no rhyme or reason. In my adulthood I realize I aim to see the big picture, the whys as well as the hows. SOTW 1 offers me this and more. More rabbit trails to explore, more literature, and a smile on my son's face. Thank you, Ms. Bauer!

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