We are using Mystery of History Volume 1 as our core history curriculum this year for 3rd grade, kindergarten, and preschool. I have tried other history options in the past and finally settled on Mystery of History because it’s easy to stay on schedule while still being flexible enough to allow us explore some topics more in depth than others.
I believe very strongly in teaching for mastery, however that doesn’t mean that I expect my kids to master the history of the world at their current ages! They have specific facts, people, and dates that they will memorize this year, but my purpose in using Mystery of History is to give them an overview and expose them to the great cultures of the past.
We do history 4 days a week, following the 36 weeks of the Mystery of History curriculum. On the first three days we cover one lesson. I read from the text book and then add in extras. Sometimes we watch videos online. Other times we read library books. On the fourth day, we put the events of the week on Bebop’s timeline.
With my two younger boys, who are both currently pre-readers and pre-writers, I try my best to have at least one hands on activity each week to help them remember the events we discussed. In the above picture, they boys are building their own Stonehenge out of jenga blocks.
I also put together a tub inspired by the various sensory tubs we’ve had over the years. I collected various items from around the house, like toy dinosaurs, toy rocks, river beads, and wedgits (for building pyramids) that can be used to retell historical events.
After making the notebook and timeline for my 3rd grader, the two little boys also wanted to have some kind of history notebook. I was able to get composition books very inexpensively at the back to school sales, so each little boys now has a journal.
As we are doing a lesson, I have the boys color a page or draw a picture that relates back to our lesson. Magoo prefers to draw a picture while Doodad prefers to color.
In the boys notebooks, I write the titles along the margins of the paper. They then glue in whatever they made during our lesson. Rubber cement works best for gluing to prevent the pages from getting wrinkled.
After debating back and forth with myself, I decided to go ahead and make 3 year old Doodad a journal for history just like his big brothers. This absolutely falls into the category of developmentally unnecessary! Doodad will sit and listen to the stories and color just like his big brothers, but he doesn’t really remember much past the memory work.
Can you guess his favorite color?
Here are some examples of Doodad’s drawings. Neither really relate back to the stories, but he enjoyed being at the table and doing his “assignment”.
The dinosaurs was a day in which Doodad didn’t want to draw or color. Instead he played in our history box on the floor while I read. On the right, I outlined the map and Doodad colored in a few parts. Again, not necessary but fun.
What are you using to teach history this year?