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SOTW for 1st grade?


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#1 faiths13

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

Is Story of the World a good fit for 1st grade? I used it a few years ago when we started hs'ing and my sons were in 4th and 6th.It didnt seem to easy at that time and it seems like it would be maybe hard for a 1st grader to sit still and listen too and maybe understand? I could be wrong, but Id love some input. Thanks!

#2 Lea in OK

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:54 PM

My two sons loved it in 1st grade. They love to color though so they enjoy coloring while I read the chapter or library books. Then we answer the questions in the Activity Guide, do narrations and map work. My two love history days.

#3 zenjenn

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

I used SotW1 concurrently with a 1st and 3rd grader last year, and doing SotW2 with them this year (2nd and 4th grade.)

To me, 3rd grade is perfect. 1st grade was OK. There's only so much a 1st grader is going to reasonably comprehend and remember. Just be realistic with your expectations and have fun with it. Actually I thought SotW1 with the 1st grader was easier than SotW2 with the 2nd grader. Once you get to the middle ages there's just a lot more politics that make things confusing for a young child. Given the ages of my kids, I am super glad for SotW. My older is coming away with a pretty solid basic narrative of world history, and my younger one is coming away with a vague familiarity with key concepts.

If I was only working with 1 child, I'd probably just do geography and basic "social science" concepts all through first, and start SotW in 2nd. With my 2nd grader I'm often having to *stop* and do a divergent lesson when she asks things like "Wait, WHAT is a 'country' again? I don't get it." Through 1st grade I often had to review the 7 continents, etc, because she would forget. If it weren't for the fact that I was working with the older one simultaneously, I think I'd probably put SotW on the shelf for a year or two.

But, 2nd grader is actually exceptionally bright, but in some ways, I think that makes it harder. She's exceptionally bright but she's still 7 yrs old with certain limitations that come with age. She knows what she doesn't know. So, she doesn't just sit happily and say, "Yay, I'm coloring a picture of a castle while Mommy reads me this story". I think it might be easier if that was the case. She is often stopping me and frustrated because she can't always follow everything in the narrative. "Wait, Byzantine Empire? WHO are those people again!? This doesn't make ANY sense!"

#4 faiths13

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

I would like to *try to stay on the 4 yr WTM history plan, but Im not sure if that will happen because I have a 3 yr old that will be in first when he is in 3rd. Maybe I should just read through SOTW lightly in 1-4 then do it all over again in 5-8? Or is that a bad idea? Or just do something different for history until my 3 yr old gets to be in 1st in a few years?

#5 boscopup

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:27 PM

My oldest loved history in first grade. SOTW1 was perfect for him. I'm not sure if DS2 would do well with it in first it not. He'll be doing Sonlight Core A next year and then Ancients in 2nd (oldest will be 5th). I'm leaning toward MFW CtG that year, and may add in SOTW1 as a read aloud.

Try it and see how it goes! It's just exposure at that age, so don't worry about them remembering who King Narmer is our anything like that (though actually I think my son did remember that one).

#6 SilverMoon

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

My kids loved SOTW in first grade, but they would have been mortified if I suggested they use it for a spine in logic stage. I'd go ahead and use SOTW for your first grader, and when the little one starts first grade, just roll him into SOTW 3 with his older sibling. Choose the supplemental reading and activities based on each child's personal skill and/or interest level. Then look for a different option when the next history cycle rolls around.

#7 JenniferLynn

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

We started SOTW1 in the Spring of K year and just finished it now in the middle of 1st. About 3 weeks into it, I bought the audiobook which made a huge difference. We listen to a chapter several times, do the coloring, mapwork, and narraration. Then she could listen to all prior chapters whenever she wanted, which she enjoyed and did often. She has retained a huge amount, and I was pleasantly surprised recently when we went to an art museum and she could pick out historical scenes and people from the SOTW background.

#8 Julie Smith

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:25 PM

We started SOTW when Eldest was in 2nd, and Youngest in 1st. It worked out for us. Youngest at first at trouble with it due to not liking all the talk about Egyptian mummy's. (We spent a lot of time reading extra books on the subject since Eldest was interested). So we took a break from it for a couple of months and started over again.

We are now happily working on SOTW #2 and when we are finished it next month will re-listen to #1 and #2 before starting #3.

ETA: We have the audio book. No way was I going to try to read out loud those names and places.

#9 Alice

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:26 PM

My oldest loved SOTW 1 for 1st and SOTW 2 for 2nd. He often says his favorite subject is history and I think it’s largely due to those. He hates to color so we didn’t use the coloring pages but we did lots of great read-alongs and a lot more projects those years than we do now.


My kids are also “off” when it comes to the four year cycle. I used to worry about that and try and figure out how it was all going to line up. I’ve realized now it’s fine to think ahead but I really try and plan only for the current year and the next one. It’s easy to think we’ll do this for years 1-4 and then do x for years 5-8 but it’s very likely either the second child will be different or something will happen or plans will change.


My second son is in 1st grade now and my oldest is in 4th. I felt like SOTW 4 was too much for the 1st grader but I wanted to do it with the 4th grader. What is working for us is that we are also doing a year of US geography with both boys and the oldest and I are doing SOTW 4 together alone. Next year we’ll restart the cycle. I’ll use SOTW 1 for the 2nd grader and then something else for the older one. I think it’s a great book but not meant for the logic stage.



#10 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:13 PM

Yes. We supplement heavily with related library books and hands on activities and put it all in a lapbook (not a pre-designed one.)

All of my kids 17,15, and 7 are in The Ancients right now with History, Literature, and Math (Euclid's Elements for Geometry.) We just pull the newest kid into where ever we are with the oldest, but at her own lower level. We don't got through it 3 times because we spend more time in American History than a 4 year rotation 3 times allows.

#11 Walking-Iris

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

I started SOTW1 with my oldest in 3rd. It's been a bit of a drag. We dropped it a lot. I want to keep my kids somewhat in line with the history rotation, so I am going to try Ancients with my next year 1st grader. I've decided to go with History Odyssey because it gives me options and a checklist. I've decided that the sotw text is interesting, but it doesn't work as our main go to for history.

My oldest will finish ancients soon and then we'll start on us history and stay there next year. Hopefully he'll pick up some tidbits he may have missed while we do Odyssey. Then if all goes as planned they'll both be in medieval after that.

I've pegged that as my starting point, but I have decided to do history year round. To just keep going instead of planning to cover all of a period in so many months in the year. Just to wash ourselves in history continuously and to spiral back and review using other sources and activities.

I've also given myself permission to just drop certain topics or to even skip whole events in history if it becomes tedious, and to just move on.

#12 Hunter

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

I cannot understand the rational behind that book. The sentence structure is so far ahead of the style/tone or whatever I'm supposed to call it. I personally have no use for the book at any grade level, and was quite disappointed that that was so, but have since moved on.

The Usborne Book of World History was the text suggested in the 1st edition. I find the busy pages difficult to use with easily distracted and unfocused remedial students. They have a Where's Waldo feel to them. The sentence length and complexity match the rest of the book, though, SO I am impressed with that. I've been looking at it lately and thinking of putting sticky notes on part of the pages to help the student concentrate on one small section at a time.

#13 tracymirko

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:27 PM

SOTW is fine for 1st grader who is accustomed to being read to and enjoys history. If not, then it could be a stretch, but still doable.

#14 Milknhoney

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

Can't say my son loved it, but history isn't his favorite subject. But all things considered, it was the best fit for us. I read the online samples from several different texts out loud to ds and SOTW was the one that he actually understood. So that was how I chose. The most important thing to remember, as others have said, is to make sure your own expectations are realistic. Ds took all of 1st grade to learn how to give me a narration. And we couldn't do the questions, either. I had to just read one or two paragraphs at a time and then ask him what just that section was about. So you need to know what your goal is. I learned that it wasn't so much to get him to learn ancient history as it was to just give him some basic exposure to the world and also to teach him narration skills. Year two I bought the audio to listen to in the car and I think that helps with comprehension/retention a lot.

#15 mamaofblessings

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:03 PM

My two sons loved it in 1st grade. They love to color though so they enjoy coloring while I read the chapter or library books. Then we answer the questions in the Activity Guide, do narrations and map work. My two love history days.


This is exactly the same in our home. This is our second year doing SOTW and both my girls LOVE history days. They color while I read, we do the narration questions too and we do the mapwork. I'm looking forward to opening the books ALL over again as ds gets to the age of them. I enjoy them too!

#16 ~Phoenix

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

My son loved it last year when we read it in 1st grade. I just started again, and am surprised at how much my K'er is enjoying it, as well.

#17 mofbethany

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

We are using SOTW 1 this year, and my first grade DS does well with it. He does the oral narrations, activities, coloring pages (sometimes), and tests. He usually misses 2 or 3 test questions, but honestly has remembered a lot of what we've covered so far.

That said, we did American history his PreK and Kindy years, and he LOVED it. History became more than "enjoyable," it was his favorite hobby. He still knows most of the Revolutionary and Civil War battles, presidents, etc. Although I love the idea of 3 sequential history rotations, I think starting with US History in the early years makes more sense. DS enjoys history this year, but not like last year.

#18 Julie Smith

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:07 PM


SOTW is fine for 1st grader who is accustomed to being read to and enjoys history. If not, then it could be a stretch, but still doable.



That's a great way of putting it. If anything I would chance it to, "Accustomed to being read to, and enjoys it".

#19 blondeviolin

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:18 PM

My older two actually do concentrated story time. My 5yo is a big of a stretch in the retention department.

My 6yo, though, can name and point out all of the major rivers we have discussed. Her Sunday School teacher was bowled over when she commented that something "looks like the Pelopponesian peninsula." Then, when her teacher stood there with her mouth dangling open, Abby said, "You know... Where Greece is!" I'd say she's retaining fine. LOL

#20 Walking-Iris

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

I disagree. My oldest ds loves reading and he has always been read aloud to since birth and he enjoys it. At 10 he still loves to hear read alouds (we're reading aloud The Hobbit at the moment). But he detests that SOTW text. He likes WWE and does well with questions and narrations in that area. But questions or narrations in history just drive him crazy. Honestly I feel SOTW has been even slightly responsible for killing any interest in history he may have had.

So I wouldn't necessarily say with any confidence that a child who loves read alouds will be fine with SOTW. It's a good program, but just not very interesting to all kids, even kids who are accustomed to read alouds and enjoy it. IMHO if one can find the topic in history that sparks an interest for kids, that will encourage them to learn about other periods to and go deeper. Some kid smay be fascinated by Assyrians or Egyptians. Mine is NOT. And it's an unnecessary drag to keep pulling a kid lock step through a history rotation when they really want to learn about Colonial times instead.

I like the bare bones plan of the history rotation, but it needs to be tailored to an interest imo. If I had done a whole year of Ancients just doing Greeks and Romans and never even breathed the word Assyrian, my ds would have been ten times happier. he was also disappointed that there was a tiny bit about ancient Africa and then moving on back to that awful Egyptian drudgery. He was interested in that other area of Africa but SOTW gave me very little to encourage that interest.

Anyway I still say it's a good enough program but falls short in a lot of details. The recommended books for example. *IF* SOTW1 is for 1st grade, why in the world is something like Mara Daughter of the Nile recommended as a read aloud??? It's basically an Egyptian harlequin romance novel. It's those details that confuse me about the whole program. It just isn't usable as is for my family.

#21 ByGrace3

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

I am kind of conflicted on this issue. We used SOTW 1 for first, and are using SOTW2 the audio as a part of BP this year. My dd struggled last year with all of the details. There are a lot of details. I felt that for my dd, she needed a little less details and more overview on certain topics. Others, the more narrative story chapters she did fine. This year, she is doing better, but it is still a lot of detail, but my k ds seems to do fine, perhaps a little better than dd. I think it all depends on the child. For the record, we read aloud a lot.... To both kids, but they are very different. ;)

I don't think we had much retention, and I don't think we would have had much retention this year using just SOTW, but using it as a part of BP has increased the retention and enjoyment for us. SOTW is now just a part of history, not history.

#22 Harriet Vane

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

I think it's great for first grade.

#23 faiths13

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

Thanks for all the great input! very helpful!!

#24 Tanikit

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

My DD in K is enjoying SOTW1 - she is quite kinaesthetic though and so we do a lot of projects and play acting out scenes and she loves that. Her memory of fine details is not really there and yet she still remembers more than I realised as I have heard her make references back to what was read when she is playing sometimes months down the line. She is used to long read alouds, but if there is no play-based element or project or story involved then she can get lost. I think it needs to be tailored to the individual child.

#25 AngelBee

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:03 AM

This is what we are doing. We did AO and SOTW 1-4. Now olders are still using SOTW but using TOG. I love SOTW! I read them and have learned a ton!

I would like to *try to stay on the 4 yr WTM history plan, but Im not sure if that will happen because I have a 3 yr old that will be in first when he is in 3rd. Maybe I should just read through SOTW lightly in 1-4 then do it all over again in 5-8? Or is that a bad idea? Or just do something different for history until my 3 yr old gets to be in 1st in a few years?



#26 54879525

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:11 AM

I used it for first grade for both of my kids and worked out just fine. I started them both on volume 1.

#27 tomandlorih

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:53 PM

Used it for first.. I skipped the Activity Guide and did Evan Moor's Ancient Civilizations History Pockets instead. http://www.amazon.co...history pockets It worked out great. You startr a pocket when you first see a civilization and then keep working on it whenever the chapter is about that civ. Pre-plan a tad so you get them finished. DD enjoyed it. I wished I had known about the lapbook since we probably would have done that instead but maybe next time around. The lapbook is here.. http://runofthemillf...volume-one.html I also recommend the cd's.

#28 faiths13

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:42 PM

Thanks! I have seen those history pockets before - they look fun!

#29 2_girls_mommy

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

It worked great when we did it with my then 1st grader and a tag along 4 yr old that got introduced to picture books, crafts, and museum exhibits on the cultures.

I am back in it for the 2nd time around now. The 4 yr old is now 3rd grade, and it works for her again. We all love it here.

(and the suggestions like Mara, daughter of the Nile are for the older siblings that may be reading along...)


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