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How to pull it together??


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Can someone please give me some simple steps on how to pull together a history curriculum? LOL I have a spine (Abeka history 4th grade) and while not perfect it is what I currently have on hand. It does cover what I want to cover but how to flesh it out??? Will someone please just give me a few steps to follow on how to pull things together for it? :bigear:


Something like this.


1. pick spine

2. divid spine into lessons

3. Pick how much time on each lesson.

4. .......


Get the point?? I want outlining to be a part of it and extra reading on important people and events. Summaries, charts to compare and contrast, essays on famous people and events. It is just that when I try to start...I get caught up in the big picture and then just stare at it without making that first step. KWIM?? LOL Not sure why this is being so difficult but any help on how to get it started would be most appreciated. A big goal for me is to use it to improve my sons writing and note taking skills while taking advantage of his love of reading and some hands on things. Maybe tie in georaphy???:confused:


Thanks! I know it is not that difficult but I think that I have to many ideas in my head and no one to really bounce them off of.... So they just go round and round and nothing gets done!

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Hmm, I'm not the best person to answer this question (I use SL so that I don't have to do the planning), but I'll try to get you started.


I'm not familiar with Abeka, but here's what I tried to do with SOTW as my spine--what I would have done if I had not been pregnant when we were using it and too tired to really follow through.


I typed up the chapters into and excel spreadsheet and divided things up so that we would get done by a target date that I had set up.


Every few weeks, look up the subject matter that will be coming up and do some research online to find books to flesh out the spine. Reserve books from the library. If you're really ambitious, you could do the whole year ahead od time, but I think that's too overwhelming. It's ok to divide it up into smaller chunks and do your research on an ongoing basis throughout the year, And I am discovering that you really don't need to add in tons of books for every subject. One or two "living books" is enough to bring a subject alive for your kids.

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I just did this (well, I'm not completely finished) with CHOW, SOTW 1 and Usborne's Ancient World... because that's what I had on hand.


I decided which I wanted to use as my main text - CHOW. So in the left column is where those chapters are listed in order. The next column has SOTW 1 as it corresponds to CHOW. Then the corresponding pages of AW.


I have links to it on the sidebar of my blog if you want to see it. I also made up all of our Timeline figures.


The next thing I did was put it in a binder with dividers. I've been using the BBC History page for a lot of information too.


Right now I'm in the process of coming up with activities, map work, etc.

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Are you wanting to take 1 year or 2? If you're wanting to do it in 1 year, then I would just use their pace (13 chapters means one every 2-3 weeks) and flesh it out. This book http://www.amazon.com/Everything-American-History-Homework-Know/dp/0590493639 will help you with the compare/contrast, list, cause/effect stuff, as it spells it out in plain english, complete with beautiful charts. Or Dinah Zike has a book book of US History that has lapbooks and stuff for that.


Outlining Abeka4 is so-so. I have it, but I'm having my dd outline the DK Children's Encyclopedia of American History instead. If you want to spend two years, use the DK book. Abeka4 really skimps on modern, btw, so you might want to flesh that out with the Story of the USA books SL4 uses. They are inexpensive, coordinate nicely, and aren't too bad, honest.


WTM new edition says to outline then pick two topics from that to research further and write paragraphs on. That's what we're doing.


BTW, I think my chart scheduling Abeka4 to the VP cards is in the files at the VP_Elementary yahoo group. It would at least give you a schedule or pacing. To cover it in one year, do two week's worth obviously. I'd just pick a finite section of that to outline, around 5-6 paragraphs (thus 5-6 sentences), not the whole reading.

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I went through this last summer when I started out thinking I would do SonLight with a little modifying. It's turned out to be all modifying so I had to get organized because it was all so overwhelming at the beginning.


I made up a chart (which seems to be too big to upload here) which I use for general advance planning. In the heading space I have the word UNIT followed by a blank line so I can fill in the name/number of the overal unit I'm planning for. Also there are estimated dates. I only have a general idea of what units will fit into a quarter so everything is just penciled in. I don't fine tune anything until I sit down to plan for the upcoming week, and even then I sometimes do some adjusting.


I have 7 columns titled Topic, Spine, Other Text, Books, DVDs, Activity and Supplemental. I put down the topics I plan to cover (usually following the spine) and during the previous chapter I go scouting to the library, online, and at Netflix (dvd rental). I jot down anything that looks promising and bring any library books home to check out further. I put any DVD's I'm considering in my Netflix queue right away or else I forget. I also make a folder in my favorites file to add any websites or those seem to disappear too. :001_huh:


My daughter loves historical fiction so I have her reading one novel pretty much all of the time. She absorbs so much from these that I spend a lot of time looking for something that will really fit in well. Sometimes I'll find a study guide online to pull some written questions from, sometimes we discuss, and sometimes I'll just let her read.


For geography I copy off one big map that she can draw, color or whatever is needed. I've also been watching for a good opportunity during each unit to work in a related geography lesson. For instance during our explorer unit she watched a DVD on the voyages of Henry Hudson and I wrote up an atlas/globe activity to go along with it.


For writing what I've planned is to focus in on a different skill during each unit. During our last unit there was a topic she was really excited about so I had her do research, write a paper, and a do a project with that. During this unit I'm looking for complete well thought out responses to questions. I can't tell you how this will work out because I haven't thought it out any further...:)


For activities we've been fortunate to have several nearby museums that had applicable displays. She also loves to cook so periodically she's researched period foods and cooked up a meal for us for lunch. I think for this next unit I'm going to have her make up a newspaper.

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Thank you everyone for your input! It really does help! I like the idea of the colums for spines and other books/activities. Sometimes it really helps to see how someone else has done something to help you get started!


OhElizabeth, just a side note. I did find the BJU history for my other son and was able to get the complete set for $31! Now just waiting on payday to order the DK book to work along with the Abeka for outlining.

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