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  1. #1

    Default Secular history for lower elementary

    Hi I am planning on using MBtP with my almost ds5 but history and science seem thin so I've been looking to supplement. I've been looking at CHotW and SotW but both seem too religious for me. I don't mind the religious content as long as my son understands fact vs belief first and maybe an overview on religions in general. I was thinking of adding DKs What do you believe? book and oh the things we believed by Becker which talks about fact vs belief. Did anyone go a similar route? If so did you find a book on it or just discussed it. My 4yo believes everything told him as fact atm... So SotW worries me a bit

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  3. #2


    Honestly, I would skip teaching history as history to younguns. There is a reason they dont do it in public schools....
    Pick topics like ancient egyptians, incans, chinese, greeks, etc and study whats fun about them. Make pyramids, wear togas, just touch on what doesnt interest him and play with what does.
    Youre going to be learning a lot about what he likes and doesnt like, might as well not be trying to teach a scope and sequence of history.
    (I tried that whole 4 year cycle of history with my older... gave up in 2nd year. Going te BYL and a visit around the world wih my little one in the fall...)
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.


    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  4. #3


    We really like Usbornes Encyclopedia internet linked World History (new one with a full knight that I could only find through the publisher for $19.99 not amazon one with just a helmet). Recommend to us by Build Your Library First Grade – The Ancient World great activities but easily could be done completely on its own with the Usborne online links. It's a very thorough book that I can't recommend highly enough. The videos were my 3yos favorite part, the book was a winner for my oldest.

    You can check out the videos for free on Usbornes website. They are pulled from science centers and YouTube (Discovery, National Geo, NASA etc) not ones they specifically made. Just videos that tie into the pages covered. To get an idea of what is covered before buying. Just search history on their website.

  5. #4
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    We also gave up on history at that age. I thought it was over my kiddo's head. We focused on social studies for the early years. Different cultures, festivals, celebrations, holidays - that type of thing.
    DS 12, DD 10
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  6. #5


    Oh and for science at 5/6 is usually nature studies. However if you have a budding chemist dying for rockets and light wave manipulation Supercharged Science has some free videos with step by step directions and usually household or easily attainable items easily enough free videos to get you through the school year at this age.

  7. #6


    I don't plan to do anything serious but I was thinking to just read one of them as a book of stories since he's book crazy. Especially since we'll be using mbtp.

    I think BYL 1 history/LA seems pretty thorough with fun books. Does anyone know how long it takes at the 1st grade level? I couldn't seem to find that info anywhere.

    As for science he kind of is that kid lol. He's gifted so I'm always needing to add more in or he gets bored.
    Last edited by mnuvoletta; 04-20-2017 at 09:21 PM.

  8. #7


    Well, we loved doing history and science at that age. I could never get my kids into nature studies. The whole classical approach worked very well for us at that age, though we did a year of physics, not biology, for first grade. And it was wonderful. We played with toys and observed forces.

    I assume from your post that you want to do world history starting at the beginning? I think the basic options are...

    1. Tweak SOTW. Or use one of the programs like Build Your Library or History Odyssey that uses SOTW as a spine and tweaks it for you. I haven't used HO, but I understand it's too much for some families in the early grades. One of the things to know is that tweaking SOTW does get radically easier in each volume. SOTW1 is not secular. SOTW2 literally only has a couple of problematic bits in the whole book. And I have yet to find anything or have anything non-secular pointed out to me for SOTW3 or 4.

    2. Use one of the other children's histories out there. You mentioned CHOW. Gombrich's A Little History of the World is a good one. And I love Builders of the Old World. The thing is... these are vintage, so while they're written from a much more liberal perspective in some ways (for example, they include lots of social history, unlike SOTW), they're also older and much more Eurocentric and they still assume a Christian audience.

    3. Use an encyclopedia. The drawback here is that there is no narrative to read. That's the really excellent thing about doing SOTW. There's a central narrative instead of these broken up blurbs and pictures. I think this is just tough with a younger kid. And you'd still have to piece it together a good bit on your own.

    4. Cobble it together yourself. We did a full history cycle in elementary - four years, plus a year of American history focus. And we did DIY things at various points. It's not impossible or too hard for many parents. On the other hand, it's not open and go. And I know and love history and children's books already, which is a big boost. If you're not naturally a history person and you don't know what children's books are out there, that does make it harder.

    Of course, there's another option... do American history. There are so many more resources for it. For that, I recommend the Story of America series by the Maestros. It's beautiful, detailed picture books that go from pre-history to the 1820's. I also recommend the USKids History series from Brown Paper Schoolbag. It's OOP but easily found. The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong is a great picture story book. And there are some wonderful activity books (also useful series if you cobble together world history) like the series that includes More Than Moccasins and the series that includes Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself.
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  9. #8


    We read books and watch videos.

    I created a giant, blank, timeline that goes back to the Big Bang (which I have posted on my blog and it can be freely downloaded) and then we placed events on it, like family birthdays, the opening of Disneyland (an important milestone in history for DS) and other things to give him ideas of time. Then as we came across historical events we would place it on the timeline.

    Read Magic Tree House and picture books from the library. Watch fun videos that are historical in nature. Go on field trips to see the big giant thing or museums with interesting things. I never worry about catching everything, just whatever DS thinks is cool. Consider the Big History idea, if they are into dinosaurs and the like and those can be located on the timeline.

    I will not use SOTW, ever. There are historical inaccuracies that are passed off as history. And then there is the whole, not secular POV. I would rather read historical fiction.

    I started talking history from preschool/kindergarten. We celebrate DŪa de los Muetros and I talk about my ancestors. The holidays we celebrate like 4th of July have historical meaning. History is in many things, just like science. I can talk about when I was growing up or when my mother was growing up and that is history too.

    As I mentioned, I have a timeline that goes back to the Big Bang. I bound it (with tape) accordion-style, so that I can fold it up so we can look at it as if it were a book, but it also can be stretched out down the hall of the house. While the spacing is not accurate (the first page covers billions of years, where as the last page covers 10 years) it is very long and gives DS some idea of very, long time ago. Then I print pictures I find (or can draw & color some) and we glue them to the time line.

    It's chaotic and messy, but I like that we just follow rabbit-trails through history. The timeline gives it some coherence.
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  10. #9


    WOW thanks guys. I'm going to look up all those older books to pick from and add in the usborne internet linked world history encyclopedia. It looks like CHOW might be the best for a 5yo.

    I think I plan on just reading it during down time like I'd read a chapter book and maybe show him the connection in the encylo. I know if I link in an encyclopedia he'll look through it himself and make me read about what he wants to learn about over and over (he does this with science already). Then I can expand and grab books on the topics he likes.

    I love the idea of adding it all onto a huge timeline for a great hands-on understanding of time and history. I'll be printing that one!

  11. #10


    I tried CHOW too.... if you didnt like SOTW, youre not likely to like it. At least SOTW has a more modern zeitgeist to it.

    I do regret not having a world timeline that we could add things to as we came across them in context. Its definitely on my list with upcoming DS

    BYL has a timeline you can buy (with lineart you can add in, I think), but I may just beg one off Mariam.

    Good luck! Remember if its not being enjoyed, you can change to something else, or drop it all together! This isnt high school!
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.


    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

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Secular history for lower elementary