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View Full Version : 2nd grade history curriculum help needed



ajsmami
06-30-2010, 03:45 PM
I can't seem to decide between unit studies using hands-on activity books vs story of the world vs history odyssey vs A child's history of the world. I would really like to do an overview of ancient times all the way through to the modern world which is why unit studies and a child's history of the world appeal to me, rather than focusing on one period in history per year. How hard is it to come up with Unit studies? I should add that this is our very first year homeschooling and I'll have a newborn at home in a couple of weeks. Any help or ideas will be greatly appreciated:)
Ali

Marmalade
06-30-2010, 04:18 PM
You can find tons of great pre-fab unit studies online as well as hints and guidelines for creating your own. I would suggest starting with the ones already made and then working your way into them and figuring out how you would like to handle them as you go along. We just finished our first year of HS and I can't tell you how many times we changed things up.

2nd grade is a great grade to introduce Magic Tree House if you haven't already. Each book is either history or science based...their website has an awesome timeline that shows their books and when they took place.

Another great resource I've seen (but have yet to use and hope someone chimes in and tells me what they are like) are History Pockets (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=history+pockets&sprefix=history+poc). I would love to start using them this year.

Another great idea I read about was a family who had a giant piece of long paper hanging in their hall-which they then turned into a timeline...and when they learned about a certain time they would write it on that paper. (Forgive me if I learned about that here...)

Jilly
06-30-2010, 04:31 PM
For my second grader we are going to use Winter Promise's Hideaways in History as a starting off point. I have their schedule, SOTW volumes 1-4, “Make-Your-Own” Hideaway Book, “On-the-Spot“ History Fun, Creating Clever Castles and Cars, and the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. The guide also schedules in the series You Wouldn't Want to Be..., and we have purchased these books to go along with it. This year the program comes with a different spine called Let's Hideaway in History, but I am sticking with SOTW as I think it is more appropriate for seven-year-olds and for a secular family. My son is so excited to start; he has been looking at the Creating Clever Castles book daily and has already made his own hideaway.:)

hockeymom
06-30-2010, 04:49 PM
We are very interest led when it comes to history and geography. DS has a running list of places he wants to study, which naturally leads to history, cultural studies and so much more. At some point I became convinced that we should learn history in a more classical way and I bought Usborne's Encyclopedia of World History as a jumping off point. However, the book totally stresses me out and DS shows no interest in it, so I think we'll continue with our interest led style (we are starting grade 2 this year, after bringing him home from ps mid last year). It totally works for him, and he has plenty of time to work on piecing it all together. For now, it doesn't confuse him to learn about dinosaurs one month, modern South Korea the next, Ancient Egypt at another time, and the mythical Atlantis somewhere in between.

I LOVE the paper timeline idea! I hope it's okay that I totally steal this idea! :)

StartingOver
06-30-2010, 05:16 PM
I did A Child's History of the World, with Calverts activity guide many years ago. We did enjoy it.

I am really looking forward to doing SOTW this time. I plan to just use the activity guide, and some history pockets.

sadie423
07-01-2010, 01:46 PM
We didn't do structured history until...well we are starting it this year. For grades K-3, I did interest based. We did a lapbook on ancient Egypt, read a lot of random books, did a lot of previous presidents, etc. All based on what my boys wanted to know or found interesting once I brought it up. This year, I start formal history. 4th grade was my starting point and my oldest is in 4th grade (of course my 2nd and Ker will be doing it along with us). I chose SOTW because as I started to do my own like I do for science I got too stressed and realized history is probably the one subject I need a script/book for. So SOTW Vol 1 is for this year- more or less depending on how fast we go through it. I plan on adding my own activities and using their guide (which is pretty good). A friend of mine did Sonlight and didn't like the Child's History of the the World, she thought it was written in a condescending way...I've never read it though. I didn't like the History Pockets....

I personally think History units are the hardest to write...I can do science and other social studies, but history is hard. If this is your first year and you'll have a newborn you may want to buy something instead of doing it all yourself, just to ease your load a bit.

hjdong
07-01-2010, 07:01 PM
We do interest led as well. There's a lot at the lower level for surface type studies, but when your child wants to study one region in depth, that's when it's more work to pull things together.

We also have SOTW on audio and DS likes to listen to it.

ajsmami
07-02-2010, 12:15 PM
Thank you all for all the thoughts and ideas! I'll be researching the history pockets as well as looking for unit studies online:) Any hints on finding those would be greatly appreciated. I think interest lead is a great way to go. We already read the Magic Tree House books and my dd really enjoys those. I'll have to look on their website for their timeline.

Jana-Did you feel that A Childs History of the World was not really secular? I have read reviews and have seen both opinions in which christian based homeschoolers say it's too secular and secular homeschoolers say it's too religious. I'm interested in your thoughts about this. I was able to read the table of contents online and saw a few bible stories included in the book.

Has anybody tried these activity books? These were the ones I was thinking of basing my units on http://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?sid=1278087199-813472&subject=14&category=4191 I hope the link works:)

Ali

StartingOver
07-02-2010, 01:22 PM
Jana-Did you feel that A Childs History of the World was not really secular? I have read reviews and have seen both opinions in which christian based homeschoolers say it's too secular and secular homeschoolers say it's too religious. I'm interested in your thoughts about this. I was able to read the table of contents online and saw a few bible stories included in the book.



Well it has been a while, but the book hasn't changed. ;-) There was a chapter that was about the creation the earth, beyond that it was not overwhelmingly christian, it was very easy to edit on the fly. I am not rabidly secular though LOL. I believe is isn't young earth enough for some, and is overly religious for some ( mainly one of the beginning chapters).

There was nothing in the book that couldn't be discussed with my children, "Some people believe...". My boys really enjoyed the book occasionally the writing jumps all over the page, up, down, diagonally, hehe. All of my children went back and read it on their own later. I think it is a good overview of history for young children, I will use it again with my littles.

If you are an athiest or want no religion at all then it might not work for you.

elkhollow
07-02-2010, 02:24 PM
I have mixed feelings about SOTW. I continue to use it because it has sparked a love for history in my dd, and that thrills me. But I do have problems with it, from the perspective of a former history teacher. All of the re-working I have to do is worth it to me to see my dd loving history so much. That allows me to share my own passion for it with her, and that's priceless. I also like the narrative approach to teaching history, particularly to younger students. I would wish for something heavier on the multi-cultural side, but many of them don't have as much of that as SOTW does. Our Island Story is terribly dated but I have enjoyed using it nonetheless. It only covers British history, though. You didn't mention Gombrich's A Little History of the World-it's pretty good but my dd doesn't like it quite as well as she likes SOTW. Gombrich's does have a bit of religious perspective in it, but I haven't had a problem with it.

History Odyssey is very similar to the SOTW activity guide, IMO. I ordered them both for first grade and regretted it. There was a lot of overlap and I wish I had saved the money.

I have not looked at the Winter Promise history book. I have looked at their website, though, and their curriculum is written from a Christian worldview, so I assume that they carry providential history texts, like Beautiful Feet does. If you are aiming for either a secular approach or at least history which is not corrupted to promote the Christian world view you might want to beware of those.

We have used History Pockets and they are a lot of work for the amount of learning gained IMO. It's a lot of cutting, coloring, and pasting and in the end it looks like your child really accomplished something, but my dd didn't learn much when it was all done, so I quit buying them. Each child is different, though. Some people love them.

Best of luck!

StartingOver
07-02-2010, 04:12 PM
I have mixed feelings about SOTW. I continue to use it because it has sparked a love for history in my dd, and that thrills me. But I do have problems with it, from the perspective of a former history teacher. All of the re-working I have to do is worth it to me to see my dd loving history so much. That allows me to share my own passion for it with her, and that's priceless. I also like the narrative approach to teaching history, particularly to younger students. I would wish for something heavier on the multi-cultural side, but many of them don't have as much of that as SOTW does. Our Island Story is terribly dated but I have enjoyed using it nonetheless. It only covers British history, though. You didn't mention Gombrich's A Little History of the World-it's pretty good but my dd doesn't like it quite as well as she likes SOTW. Gombrich's does have a bit of religious perspective in it, but I haven't had a problem with it.
!

I have enjoyed SOTW as an introduction. I homeschool the wtm way, following a 4 year cycle. The idea is to put up pegs to later hang more facts on, then question those facts even later on. I think it does a very good job of exciting children's love of history. I think some things get into to much detail for little ones. I will not be using them in 5-8th though, I will want to dig much deeper then.

CHOW ( Child's History of the World ) is similair but can be done in a year, which is what we did before twtm came out in 1999. We didn't focus on any historical time period, way back.

Marmalade
07-02-2010, 05:13 PM
We have used History Pockets and they are a lot of work for the amount of learning gained IMO. It's a lot of cutting, coloring, and pasting and in the end it looks like your child really accomplished something, but my dd didn't learn much when it was all done, so I quit buying them. Each child is different, though. Some people love them.



Good to know about the History Pockets. I think I'll get one to begin with and see what we think of them.

ajsmami
07-03-2010, 01:19 PM
Jana-I am actually Catholic. I just believe that history and religion should be taught separately rather than in combination. That is just what makes sense to me.

Ashley-Thank you for all your information. I was looking at history pockets yesterday, and I don't think my dd would enjoy them. She hates coloring so those would be more torture than anything else.

If anyone is interested, I found some interesting reviews about A Child's History of The World. I'll place a link in case anyone wants to read them.
http://www.abebooks.com/9780899669380/Childs-History-World-Hillyer-V.M-0899669387/plp
It looks like we will be doing Unit Studies based on the Hands-on Activity books that I posted earlier. I think that will work best for us. Thank you all for all the opinions and ideas.

Ali-Homeschooling 7yo dd (2nd grade) with a newborn on the way!