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Category: Books

History Resources for Grades K, 2, 4, and 6

I wanted to write about what I plan on using for resources once I get our homeschool up and running. Feel free to use what I’m using. Please cite my blog as a source if you choose to blog or somehow share this online. Finally, all links to Amazon are affiliate links. Thank you. 🙂

For all the kids, I’m utilizing selections from Home Learning Year By Year by Rebecca Rupp. This book is awesome. It has everything laid out grade level by grade level, and each grade is broken down by subject and then each subject has a general idea of what SHOULD be taught at that grade. And then you get suggested resources for each subject! Glorious! I don’t use it religiously but like to keep it on hand to make sure we are hitting things that need to be hit in order to make conversations with medical professionals more smooth. And it gives me some much needed peace of mind.

In my state we just have to have hit a specific number of education hours, so I have spent a lot of our corona quarantine analyzing (deeply) what works and what doesn’t work and am changing up resources to better suit each individual child.

Blossom and Root Kindergarten has history included, focusing first on the history of the child in that we get to take a trip down memory lane and revisit all sorts of fun things like what movies and songs were popular, who was the President, and whatnot when the child was born. From there it expands to learning about the child’s family, and then local, state, national, and world heroes, and even has a nice section on the future. Love it.

We’ll add in some well-written biographies about interesting people, and watch shows like Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum on PBS.

Second Grade
My second grader isn’t totally into history, she’s much more into arts and crafts. She also prefers to bounce around like Tigger as opposed to sitting and listening to a story. History for her should be hands on as opposed to strict Charlotte Mason.

We are covering the War of 1812 right now with her, so we are using books like Dolley Madison Saves George Washington, Mr. Madison’s War, plus several books we own about the American flag. Curiousity Stream has a four-part series about the War of 1812 that she may be interested in, so we will add that in as well. Her narrations will still be oral, but also drawn and will employ liberal use of Playmobil and Lego as needed.

Are the books considered “living” books? Probably not. But, I know they will hook and engage her, and will be enough to get her interested in the War and may lead to more stories down the line. Also do I care they’re not living? Nope.

Fourth Grade
If we did nothing BUT history for my fourth-grader, he’d be in hog heaven. Despite his love of history, I’ve had some problems finding books that hook him. He particularly loves military history and of course there aren’t many military history books that are appropriate for a fourth-grader.

We’re giving Joy Hakim’s “A History of US” a spin. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on it, but I found some cheap copies of the volumes I need on Thriftbooks so if they don’t work for us, I’m not out much. We’ll spend some time on the French and Indian War and read Calico Captive and The Matchlock Gun.

For World History, we’ll focus on the Scientific Revolution with The Human Odyssey volume 2, and biographies of the great minds of that time – Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, and wherever else we end up. We’ll add in shows like

  • Curious Minds: Science in Society: How Did Newton Change World History (Curiousity Stream)
  • Once Upon a Time – Discoverers (Amazon Prime Video) (has Galileo, Newton, and more)
  • The Who Was Show (Netflix) (has Franklin, Einstein, Newton, and Galileo)

Narration is still oral, and will also include props and Minecraft as well.

Sixth Grade
My sixth grader is rather ambivalent towards history. She likes to read, she likes to watch shows. She’s also sensitive so I do have to be careful for what we talk about. We will start talking about immigration to the United States, always fun as my mom is an immigrant. I’m hoping we can get some excellent oral history from her, but with the coronavirus we can’t get together and my parents don’t have internet. Phone calls may have to work but they aren’t always the clearest.

Books we’ll use: Joy Hakim’s A History of US: Age of Extremes, Dragonwings, Inside Out and Back Again, A Different Mirror for Young People.

For world history, we’ll be hitting up the Dark Ages. I couldn’t find books that I thought would work for my sixth-grader, so I decided to give History Odyssey a try. We’ll use The Middle Ages at Level 2 and see how that works for us.

She will be doing both written and oral narrations. She is a strong oral narrator and typically doesn’t rely on props, but we may bring them in to help organize her thoughts for written narration. She also loves Minecraft narrations so we’ll throw some of those in there as well.

Once all the kids have finished these books in however long it takes (paced for sure), we’ll move on to the next chronological thing for them to study in history. Get more books, wash rinse and repeat. I’ll share the topics and book selections once we get there.

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2019-2020 Curriculum Choices

It’s been a few months, which means I should work on regularly posting how our homeschooling adventures are going.

I came to a nice happy place of blending Wildwood Curriculum with a DIY approach, which provided us with a very nice first week of school. It was a little hectic, but I attributed that to the general “we’re still trying to find our groove” sense. We were looking forward to slightly redesigned schedule for week 2.

Then we were the victims of a hit-and-run car accident.

Happily, we only had our youngest in the car with us and his carseat protected him so well. My husband and I have some injuries, but nothing severe. We tried to do week 2, but the constant phone calls with our auto insurance, the police, the doctor, imaging done to check for broken bones; and the fatigue that comes with being in pain – I decided to reboot our entire school to account for my fatigue and pain (hopefully both of which will be short-lived). I decided to combine all the kids! into all the subjects! and using my 6th grader’s subjects as the template to follow.

Here’s my selections for Term 1 of our 2019-2020 school year. Links to Amazon are affiliate links, thank you for your support!

Language Arts

  • Spelling: copywork and Phonetic Zoo (sixth grader), copywork and spelling lists I find online (everyone else)
  • Handwriting: copywork and Harry Potter cursive (sixth grader), and a cursive workbook for my second grader. My fourth grader will keep working on refining his printing.
  • Reading: all kids have read-aloud time with me each day so I can monitor what they’re getting stuck on. My dyslexic child has some gaps to fill with regards to reading, so we’ll be using the “whatever works for us at this time” method. I have at my disposal: Progressive Phonics, Phonics Pathways, MCP Plaid Phonics, and lots of easy readers and graphic novels.
  • Grammar: everyone is getting focused grammar. In addition to reading well-written material, we’re using grammar workbooks from Amazon for my sixth grader.




World Religions, Logic, and Philosophy



I’ll post what we’re doing for Afternoon Rest once I finalize what exactly we’re doing! I have some ideas but I need some uninterrupted time to think and figure out if I’m overloading everyone or not.

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Book Notes for: Rewiring Education

Title: Rewiring Education: How Technology Can Unlock Every Student’s Potential
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc
Authors: John D. Couch, Apple Inc’s First Vice President of Education and Jason Towne, research fellow at Harvard University

Why I read this book: I’m always interested in how technology and education fuse and I’m especially interested in challenging educational norms. I’m a product of the public school system and while a lot has changed since I went through it; a lot has still stayed the same.

The premise: our current educational models are in dire need of reform. The traditional public school system was designed to produce workers, not thinkers. In a technological age we are in need of thinkers. Before we can revolutionize education we must first understand aspects of learning such as potential, motivation, and even the learning environments. After we’ve understood that, how can we harness and utilize technology – and encourage our kids to become creators, not consumers? How can we use the technology our kids know and love to transform their education, to enable them to solve problems – but more importantly; how to think.

Interesting to note: David Thornburg (an educational futurist) talks about three learning spaces – the campground, the watering hole, and the cave. Couch and Towne add the mountain. Campground is one to many (think stories around the campfire), the watering hole is peer to peer (think of workers in the office or a group project in school), and the cave is one to one (reflective assimilation of what you’ve learned). The mountain is the environment where mistakes are encouraged and supported (like climbing a mountain, you’re going to slip and stumble from time to time).

Examples: Mythbusters, Sal Khan, Wifi on Wheels, Apple Camps, The Primary School, Ad Astra School, Minecraft

Worth Googling: challenge-based learning, Health Without Borders, blended learning

Overall take-home message: Technology can be the great equalizer in terms of giving every child access to a watering hole. An online course for coding can link children all across the United States regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds, geographical locations, or schooling choice. Provide access, opportunities to build things, and teach your kids to code. Coding teaches kids to THINK – even if they never go on to be computer programmers. Technology is just like any other tool – used well and it can do great things for us, used poorly and it can be extremely detrimental. Therefore, it’s important to look at psychology long before we look at technology; so we can make sure we are using technology appropriately.

Recommended for: people interested in the intersection of technology and education, people looking for an outside the box approach to education, people who need some positive information about technology and kids, homeschoolers or afterschoolers who are tired of the same old approach to learning that they experienced

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