I have a very relaxed approach to studying history and science with our boys. We do a lot of reading together. In the fall, as part of our Native American History study, we began reading Turtle Island, The Story of North America’s First People. The book shares what life was like for indigenous people of our continent before Europeans came.
The boys (and I) have really enjoyed it. L has loved pretty much every bit of it, and A has really enjoyed the “Imagine You Are” sections. Due to life being pretty hectic for us, we are actually just finishing it up now. We had to return it awhile back, so I made a note of the page we were on, so that we could finish it when we were able to check it out again.
In Turtle Island, the authors explain why historians now believe that the Bering Straight theory (as I was taught in school) was not the only, or the first way that indigenous people came to inhabit this continent.
I was having a hard time understanding the time-table and how they came to this conclusion, so we started a visual time-line of the world. All three of us are visual learner so it has been tremendously helpful.
Our timeline is on a massive roll of paper starting with the Big Bang (which we learned was not actually a loud banging explosion) and goes all the way to present day.
I’m sure it will take years to complete, and likely some cutting and adding of more paper to make room for everything. But seeing the dates visually on a timeline really helped us to understand the research. I won’t go into detail here, but it has to do with when the Ice Age ended. (see above photo).
On a trip to the library a few weeks ago, I found What Was the Ice Age? I realized I really don’t remember much from school about this topic and figured the book would be a great resource for our timeline of the world work. We started reading it this week, and the illustrations make it even more clear how historians came to their conclusion that people somehow arrived in North America pre-Bering Straight.
Yesterday morning we needed some educational screen-time during L’s morning breathing treatment. I remembered an episode the boys watched previously about glaciers on The Magic School Bus. I hadn’t paid much attention to it, but figured it would go well with the Ice Age book.
The boys informed me it was actually a Magic School Bus Rides Again. So we popped on Netflix, and I paid attention this time. The episode title was The Tales Glaciers Tell and so much information was packed in about glaciers, the earth’s climate throughout history and the warming trend over the last 200 years.
Along with our non-fiction resources, we have been reading The Birchbark House, which I think would be classified as historical fiction. Written by Louise Erdrich, the book is based on research the author’s mother and sister did into their own family history. The book tells the story of a young native girl, and her family, that live on an island in Lake Superior during the mid-1800s.
As someone who was an A-student that HATED history, I am so happy to have discovered this relaxed approach to learning history. I have loved filling in my own educational gaps and have an on-going list of books I plan to read for myself. Not only that, the boys are enjoying and learning so much.