The Case of the Troubling History

What is your experience with history?

Did you enjoy it in school?

Did it evade your understanding?

Do you understand history as a sequence of events?

I have a confession. I honestly didn’t think I could teach history because I had such a segmented understanding of only basic events. Often times I would recall them in the wrong order as well.

Basically, I hated history because I struggled with it.

I have only come across a handful of people that love history and feel they can adequately inform their kids on it. This topic seems to be one of the most difficult ones to teach, only second to writing. Over the years, I have tried a number of programs and a number of techniques to teach history but really, the one you use depends on your family but the way you approach the subject you struggle with can make a difference on how well a program works for you.

Read Ahead

The biggest thing you can do to help yourself, and in connection your kids, with history is to read ahead in the lessons. This works if you are doing a unit study approach and have library books on it, if you are doing a classical approach and have a spine history book with supplemental reads, or if you are an unschooler and have found some fun and engaging content you will introduce to your kids to explore. Having read the information once through already, when your kids bring up the historical event and want to discuss it with you, you will remember and it will solidify your ability to not only understand the event but to recall the it later.

Do the hands on activities

This may seem like a waste of time to some of you but quite honestly, doing the hands on creative activity with the history lesson will greatly help your understanding and solidify the knowledge in your long term memory. We do our best to make sure that our kids are actually learning history and not just memorizing to brain dump later, why not do the same for ourselves. We read about the event first, then do the hands on activity, then move on to discussing it with our kids. This repeated activation of our knowledge will help us remember better and give us confidence to help our kids.

Reenact the events

With kiddos or with teens this works well for not only their understanding but yours. Children play out what they are trying to understand, whether it’s toddlers playing at cooking, young kids playing at being parents or school aged kids playing out battle scenes. This method does not stop working because we graduate high school. When we play out certain events, our minds are able to wrap around the sequence of events better and how the circumstances may have lead to the event as well. Reenacting a historical event can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. You could just read lines with your kids and be dramatic or you can go the whole nine yards and borrow sheets or what not for costumes. This will help you learn the history as much as it will help your kids.

Review Often

Finally, remember to bring up what has already been learned repeatedly. Discuss events that had lead up or occurred previously to what you are currently learning about with your kids. Remind them how one kingdom’s fall or success lead to what is happening in the lesson. Discuss how previous cultures of the area affected the outcomes of certain empires or trades. What ever you have learned or remember as being relevant bring up in discussion and refresh yours and your kids’ memories.

It’s ok if you have trouble with history

No matter what you experience has been with history, whether you had a good teacher, curriculum that jumped around too much or not enough review, you can still teach your children history in a way that they can understand. One of my favorite things about homeschooling my kids is that I get to learn along side of them sometimes. Things I struggled with or, in some cases, never learned, become something we can learn about and bond with each other over. History can be a daunting subject. The number of years that have to be covered. The number of battles and empires to know about. The effects of all of these on how our world grew and became what it is today. This is quite intimidating if you do not feel you were properly prepared but don’t worry about it. There is a way to work around this and make History a trouble no more.

Enjoy the journey

Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we’ve been doing this for 9 years now. I am also a military spouse, so we have the added joys and some of the complications that come with it.  As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs, or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.

Reading log vs Reading list

My daughter loves to read. If I let her she would read from sun up to sun down and then keep reading when she should be asleep. She is like me in this. We love books, well written books that catch our imagination and take us on adventures. My older boy is finally a reader, but a selective one. He will re-read books six or seven times. He too will stay past bed time reading if he could. My youngest is not like either of the other two. He does not want to read but go, run, jump, and go on his own little adventures outside.

With three different reading styles, three different kids, how do I assign reading?

There are two ways that parents tend to address

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Dealing with External Frustrations while Homeschooling

Let me tell you a secret. This is one that took me a long time to not only know but to fully understand. Are you ready?

We Are Human

Now, you might have just thought, “Well, duh,” but bear with me a moment. Yes, we know we are human and we have human needs that must be met and things that we need to get done every day. Yes, we know that we need to sleep and we need to eat and some of us even understand the need for quiet time. We get that we are a living, breathing, human being. My point is that, as humans, we will get frustrated and that frustration twist, turns and knots up, sometimes bleeding over into other aspects of our lives.

As a home schooling house hold, this is something we need to try to avoid.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about all the day to day

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Am I Late??

Confession time. I waited too long to order my kids curriculum this year. I know some of you cringed because you feel my pain. Let’s be honest. There is nothing about this past year that has been simple or easy. Least of all ordering curriculum. Some of us met with financial hardship which affected the school year. Some of us had to change our living situations. Some of us ordered our curriculum with what used to be enough time but everything is back ordered or shipping is delayed. You know what?

It is ok.

Yes, that one family on Instagram started two months ago. Yes, your home school friends started 2 weeks ago. Yes, you planned to have been in full swing already. As

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I’ve covered the Core Subjects but what about PE??

With the new home school year upon us, many of us are starting to get into the swing of things. We have made the plans, ordered what was needed and done our version of organizing. We have made sure we are covering the basics and all supplies are available to our kiddos. We picked the language arts curriculum. We’ve found a math that will keep our kids engaged and learning. The science has been a hit and is done with enthusiasm. Geography and history as well. We have fallen into a rhytm with our school day when suddenly we have a thought….

What about PE???

Now, if you are the athletic type this may not be a concern of yours. Maybe you are a natural PE teacher and your kids join you easily. Or, maybe you are athletic but

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How to Start the School Year

There are many things to we need to consider before starting a new home school year.

Are you going to do year round home schooling?

What curriculum will you be using this year?

What subjects do your kids need for the new year?

What the start date is going to be? What breaks will be taken?

One of the things to consider is;

How do you want to start the school year?

Some people will swear by one method for starting back to school while others will insist the exact opposite is better for children. Even if you are a seasoned homeschooler, it is not difficult to see how you might easily

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Having Fun with Back to Home School

The best part of going back to school when I was young was getting new school supplies. Yes, just about everyone can say they liked that part but usually they mean the back pack and clothes. Maybe even a fun trapper keeper. Me, I was all about the new pens and pencils and notebooks and the ideas and things I could put in them.

When I first started homeschooling my kids, I was sad because I thought

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Sharing the Joy of Learning Despite the Frustrations

It goes without saying that this new school year is unlike any other. Quarantine has created a confusing academic atmosphere in schools and even in homes. To avoid potential health risks and to hopefully provide a calmer learning environment many families have chosen to home school. Some parents were already considering home schooling. Some have never even heard of home schooling. Some parents might have never even considered home schooling for their family. However you came to be teaching your kiddos at home this year, welcome to the journey, it is such a joy.

You get to see them work through a challenge, comprehend something new, and succeed!

You get to share what you know with your kids and you get to help them explore as well.

You get to go on adventures and conquer quests together.

The learning possibilities are endless.

With all of this joy and fun though, there is also frustration. To pretend there is no frustration will only add more to it. The best way to

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A Look at Math: Fractions

Am I the only one who cringes when I see math problems that include fractions? Even in recipes, I can sometimes stumble when I am trying to increase the recipe by 1/3 and the recipe calls for 3/4ths a cup of something. It seems simple but I am terrified when faced by fractions.

Why? I was not taught how to properly handle fractions.

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When I was in school, we were taught to find the decimal

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My Go-Tos for Summer Time

Typically our summers are full of fun, travel, and time spent with others. We thoroughly enjoy driving to historical locations and exploring all the old landmarks there. We spend a lot of time traveling to see family in various states, often spending a long weekend with them seeing the local sights. We also really enjoy hosting cookouts for our friends and family as well, sharing food and laughter. This summer seems to be shaping up into a very different kind of summer though.

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We are still under social restrictions.

We still are being told to stay six feet apart from others.

We are told to keep gatherings to a minimum and to a

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