Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Charlotte Mason Education: History

And now for another installment in my Charlotte Mason education series. Today I'm going to talk a bit about history. Here again living books are of great importance for Charlotte Mason's history method. In any time period we are studying, I supplement general information about the era with primary source material, biographies, historical fiction, poetry, art, etc. The method also suggests creating a Book of Centuries, which is basically a timeline that you and your child create, but in book form. Simply Charlotte Mason has free pages that you can print out that have the time period on the top while the remainder of the page is blank. I printed these out, 3-hole punched them, and put them into a three-ringed binder. Now every time we study a historical period or concept, or a historical figure we add it/them to our Book of Centuries.

This year we've been using the book The Story of the World, by Susan Wise Bauer as our main history text. We're starting with the Ancient Times book, which is the recommended book to begin with. I love this book for several reasons. The history text is very well written, and includes many stories to illustrate particular information about each time period. I bought the Activity Book too, which includes review questions and narration exercises, lists additional living books to read, plus crafts and projects to go with each chapter, and in the back it includes fun activities like maps, coloring pages, and crossword puzzles. There's so much information in this book, we can delve as deeply as we want into each chapter, depending on Lucy's level of interest. I also bought the audio book version, and Lucy and I enjoy listening to each chapter together. I'm learning a lot too! I'm hoping that Lucy will listen to the audio book on her own too, so the information will really stick in her head.

The Ancient Times book starts out with the concept of history in general, archaeology, and prehistoric times. Along with using some of the suggested reading in the activity book (many of which I've been able to find at the library), I bought a wonderful series of art books, the Art in History series by Susie Hodge. Right now we are reading Prehistoric Art, which has wonderful color photos and includes a couple activities to try for yourself. Lucy recently made her own cave painting. I highly recommend these books!

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