Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Plan for SOTW 4 (Condensed to 21 Weeks) and Books to Compliment

We are in our fourth year using the Story of the World series by Susan Wise-Bauer. We have thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to history. The stories have captivated Thatcher's imagination even though we never got to most of the fun projects suggested in the Activity Guide...or the mapwork or the color pages. We simply read the chapters, often listening to them on audio-book, and talked about them when time allowed. In addition I've have always tried to have a book or two to go along with most chapters for additional reading and a few history resource books on the shelf if he wanted to learn still more. And that's been enough to for him to develop a passion for history. He loves it!!!

Each summer I pre-read the volume of SOTW we will be using the upcoming year so I can begin to prepare myself as I didn't learn much of this in my own schooling. After I read, I make a booklist using the SOTW Activity Guide, recommendations from the wonderful moms on The Well-Trained Mind Message Board, my own research on Amazon and other curriculum's booklists (Veritas Press, Sonlight, and Tapesty Of Grace {look at this site, Bookshelf Central, where you can view/buy all of TOG's books organized neatly by year}).

This past summer began like the others, with reading and making a booklist. I quickly realized, though, that this year would be different. As I began to read Volume 4 I saw immediately that this period of history is tough. Really tough. The reality is horrible events have happened all throughout history but not with such rapid intensity...or within just a few generations of us either. Also this volume seemed very redundant: new ideas lead to revolution and bloodshed which leads to new leadership only to have that leadership become corrupted. This same sequence happens again and again; the basic storyline stays the same but in each chapter it is played out in a different country. SWB addresses both issues (intense period in history plus the redundancy) in the Foreword of Volume 4:
This volume is less evocative than the precious three. I have always tried to tell history as a story, to bring out the color and narrative thread of events. But with this history, I have found myself veering continually toward a more matter-of-fact and less dramatic tone. The events of the twentieth century - the bombing of Hiroshima, the purges of Stalin, to name only two - are dramatic enough. Turned into story, they would be overwhelming.
Revolution (a dominant theme of history in this period) shatters the structures; but the men who build the next set of structures haven't conquered the evil that lives in their own hearts. The history of the twentieth century is, again and again, the story of men who fight against tyrants, wind the battle, and then are overwhelmed by the unconquered tyranny in their own souls. (Parenthetical addition mine)
After contemplating different options, I decided I would cover this period in history but condense it. I didn't want to leave anything out but I there are several chapters I didn't want to dwell on either. A simple reading of the chapter would suffice. The chapters that dealt with America's history, I decided, would be our main focus. Plus in the back of my mind I knew at some point I wanted to cover Texas history and this would be the perfect opportunity to do so! We will cover SOTW in 21 weeks and use the remainder of the year to cover state history. So here is our schedule for SOTW 4 as well as the additional reading selections I chose.

Memory Work for this period in history:
1. Gettysburg Address using this illustrated version of Lincoln's famous speech (also listed in Ch. 5 additional reading list)
2. Order of all 44 US Presidents using Yo, Millard Fillmore (currently out of print but we found a copy at Half-Price books for $2. It ends with President Clinton but we just made up the remainder of the story to cover Bush and Obama.)
3. I Have a Dream speech (selected portions) using this illustrated version (also listed in Chapter 36 additional reading list)

Week 1-
Chapter 1: Britain's Empire
Chapter 2: West Against East

Additional Reading(s) -

Week 2-
Chapter 3: British Invasion
Chapter 4: Resurrection and Rebellion

Additional Reading(s) -

Weeks 3 and 4-
Chapter 5: The American Civil War

Additional Reading(s) -

Week 5-
Chapter 6: Two Tries for Freedom
Chapter 7: Two Empires, Three Republics, and One Kingdom

Week 6-
Chapter 8: Becoming Modern

Additional Reading(s)-

Week 7-
Chapter 9: Two More Empires, Two Rebellions
Chapter 10: A Canal to the East and a Very Dry Desert

Week 8-
Chapter 11: The Far Parts of the World
Chapter 12: Unhappy Unions
Chapter 13: The Old-Fashioned Empire and the Red Sultan
Chapter 14: Two Czars and and Two Emperors

Week 9-
Chapter 15: Small Countries with Large Invaders

Week 10-
Chapter 16: The Expanding United States

Additional Reading(s)-

There is redundancy in this list because I couldn't make up my mind (and I was able to get all four books for a fraction of their new book price through either PaperbackSwap or Half-Price books). Now that I have read them all, if I was to just get one I would get Rachel's Journal. It tells most all that the others do but in an engaging first person narrative.

Week 11-
Chapter 17: China's Troubles
Chapter 18: Europe and the Countries Just East
Chapter 19: China, Vietnam and France
Chapter 20: Revolution in the Americas...War in the World

Week 12-
Chapter 21: A Revolution Begins, and the Great War Ends
Chapter 22: National Uprisings

Additional Reading(s) -

Week 13-
Chapter 23: "Peace" and a Man of War
Chapter 24: The King and Il Duce

Week 14-
Chapter 25: Armies in China
Chapter 26: The Great Crash and What Came of It

Additional Reading(s)-

Week 15-
Chapter 27: Civil War and Invasion
Chapter 28: The Second World War

Additional Reading(s)-
Snow Treasure (Ch. 28)

This chapter for me covers one of the absolute hardest things we will ever learn in history. I picked several books and will gauge carefully Thatcher's responses to determine exactly how much he needs to be exposed to at this point. For me personally, I learned about WWII in fourth grade and I spent the majority of that year learning everything I could, especially seeking out biographies of children who survived concentration camps. Still, different children have different emotional capabilities and I don't want him to learn too much too fast if his little heart isn't ready quite yet.

Week 16-
Chapter 29: The End of World War
Chapter 30: Partitioned Countries
Chapter 31: Western Bullies and American Money

Week 17-
Chapter 32: Africa and China after WWII
Chapter 33: Communism in Asia
Chapter 34: Dictators in South America and Africa

Week 18-
Chapter 35: The Cold War

Additional Reading(s) -

Week 19-
Chapter 36: Struggles and Assassinations

Additional Reading(s)-

Week 20-
Chapter 37: Two Short Wars and One Long One
Chapter 38: Two Ways of Fighting
Chapter 39: The 1980's in the East and Mideast

Week 21-
Chapter 40: The 1980's in the USSR
Chapter 41: Communism Crumbles-but Survives
Chapter 42: The End of the Twentieth Century

Did I miss any of your family's favorites? If there is a must-read that I have left off, I'd love to add it to the list.


Sea Star said...

You have done a lot of work! I wish I was more organized.

I too had trouble with Volume 4 for my little guys. I have ended up focusing more on biographies and the history tends to fall into place as we learn about the people. So we learned about Florance Nightingale which of course lead to a discussion of the Crimean war and where it was fought and why. But the focus was on the person. We did the same with Queen Victoria and others. We did do a full Civil War unit which also was more about the people Presidents, Generals and Abolitionists than the fighting.

I haven't planned our year all out but so far it is working alright. Today we read all about Helen Kellar and next week it will be Thomas Edison. Of course we will end up studing a lot more American and European history this way but at my little guys ages this is what will work for now. We will do Vol 4 during the next 4 year cycle. They may be more ready for it then.

We love all those "You wouldn't want to be...." books. You have many of them on your list. We have learned so much from those. My kids are so excited when they see a new one in the library bag. I went through all the ones the library had and made a list arranged by time so we won't miss any of them.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! We are just now in SOTW 1 (I have a 1st grader and a pre-Kindergartener), but I can imagine facing the same issues you face in a few years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sharing your plan. I plan to rely on it heavily next year :-)

Robyn said...

Thanks for this! I was thinking we'd just go back to Ancients after we finish SOTW3, but now I'm going to rethink that... thanks for sharing your hard work!

Darcy @ m3b said...

I probably took the easy way out - we skipped SOTW 4. The subject matter was just too tough for me. My kids would have been in 4th, 2nd and preK/K last year for year 4 and I just couldn't do it.

Instead we did a year of geography and started over with SOTW 1 this year. I plan to do 4 in this rotation and when we get there I will have an 8th, 6th, 4th grade aged kids and we'll see how I feel about letting the youngest one read along.

It's important stuff. But tough - really tough - subject matter. These kids' innocent hearts are so so filled with love and acceptance. I just couldn't bear to share the hatefulness.

... Even though it's reality. I just wanted to buy a bit more time.

I know you will tackle these moments with grace and love and embrace the teaching moments within them. But through it all - I wish you the best teaching such important and emotionally heavy material.


Green V-Neck said...

Oh, thank you, thank you for posting this! I wanted to do the exact same thing: listen to SOTW 4, focus on what I felt my youngers could handle, and then spend time on American/TX history. I am so relieved to not have to figure it out all by myself. You are a genius!

Mommy of 5 said...

You did a lot of work. thank you SO MUCH for sharing. The school year has already started and my choice for curriculum was already too heavy for my kids so I am switching gears. I think this will be perfect for my bunch. I LOVE the memory work! Thank you!!!

Caroline Moore said...

Thanks so much for spending the time to organize this and share it!! I have been at a loss this year for History. We have tried and failed a few curriculums. I am going to make the best plan using SOTW to get us to the finish line. I really needed a well thought out plan! Thanks again for sharing your hard work!!