Step 1: Combining Subjects
In Homeschool 101 Part I, I shared about Teaching Bible using a gentle classical method. So, the idea is to teach Bible one day, History another, and Geography another. This Christian Study Course can be taught right at the breakfast table.
Here's a few sample schedules.
A 3-day week could look like this:
A 4-day week could look like this:
A 5-day week could look like this:
or like this:
The history book you select will help make your scheduling decision. If you spend one day at co-op (or other outing), then you might choose the 4- day schedule. The idea is to have this course as a family together study, first, in the morning!
Step 2: Choosing the History Spine(s)
Next, you will want to choose a good living book for your history spine. This is an engaging story you can read aloud to the entire family.
While World History is important, equally so, is American History, and is often neglected in curriculum plans.
I recommend teaching American History every year along with memorization of our founding documents. Don't teach all of American History every year, but a portion, and build chronologically as you go along, year-by-year.
This is easy to do with a simple plan such as . . .
Or, if you follow quarters, then study American History the last quarter.
So, now let's talk about choosing a good history spine. Here are a few suggestions:
#1 The Story of the World Series by M. B. Synge (free online & Christian):
#2 The Story of the World Series by Susan Wise Bauer ($/neutral) - gives the broad scope of world history and can be enjoyed by grades 1-8. Even as an adult, our family has learned from this series because of its clear explanations; the language is, however, simpler. There are a few mythology stories that I would skip since they are not history and are not presented from a Biblical perspective - as the sin of worshiping false gods.
#3 Landmark Books - these biographies would make great reading fillers as you go along. You might find many of these at your local library or google search for bargains (or try thriftbooks.com).
#4 A Child's History of the World by Hillyer ($/secular/neutral) - gives the broad scope of world history, but is more appropriate for grades 1-4. The beginning does not include a Christian perspective, but could be skipped. You could probably find a good used copy by google search since it's hard cover.
#5 Mystery of History Series ($$$/Christian) - while not a living book, does a great job of piecing together world and Biblical history. If you have extra money to spend, it could be a good resource for teaching. It is quite expensive, so I would google for a used copy, although most are soft-cover.
Bonus! Let's not forget about your American History living book! May I suggest the American History Stories by Mara Pratt (Free Online). For an additional teaching resource, I highly recommend Abeka's 4th Grade American History Book which is quite good and thorough and from a Christian perspective! This book includes American Documents in the back.
Step 3: Teaching Method
On days when you plan to teach history, simply follow this simple pattern: Read, Talk, Write, Recite! Let's look at that in a little more detail.
That's it! When you begin your next lesson, always start with a recitation. Get out the Recitation Notebook and review by reciting aloud your key terms and definitions. This will help you build long-term memory of the important details. For older students (grades 7-12), you will find that discussions of more advanced ideas, found in their assigned reading, will come up naturally.
A Few Additional Notes