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Suggestions for something to use in lieu of SOTW 4?


Megicce
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We have been using SOTW and have been largely pleased with it (though tbh SOTW 3 has been more dry), but I'm looking for something different for next year. My primary reason is the content warning on SOTW 4 that it contains material that's difficult (understandably so) and that you may not want to use it with kids younger than 4th grade. We do history with both of my kiddos together, and next year I will have a 4th grader and a sensitive 2nd grader. My idea is to skip SOTW 4 and then jump back into our history rotation with Ancients the following year.

 

I'd be interested in finding either an alternate resource for modern history that's...more gentle? (Does/can such a thing exist??) Or, alternately, I'd be open to finding a yearlong curriculum of American history or even a completely different focus that would fit in nicely. I'm really not sure where to start because I'm not sure what I'm looking for.

 

Something along the lines of SOTW would be nice, or I'd also be open to a unit-study style curriculum. I'd love to hear your recommendations! Thank you!!

 

PS - Both my kids are reading ahead of grade level, so something designed for a little bit older ages could be okay. :)

Edited by Megicce
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I did SOTW4 this current school year with my 7 yr old, 8 yr old, 9 yr old and 10 yr old.  You cannot escape the fact that the content is difficult.  But I do not understand why this particular volume is considered "more difficult" in content than previous volumes?

 

History is violent.  It's full of battles and atrocities that humans commit against each other.  The history that is being made today is STILL full of such atrocities.  Whether we're talking about the Egyptians and their slaves, the nomadic tribes that traveled throughout Eurasia, conquering and pillaging, the bloody kings and queens, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, etc...it's all violent.  

 

IMO, SOTW4 did not present the information any more graphically than they needed to.  

 

The one knock I will give against it is that the Workbook is definitely geared more towards older students.  The maps were more difficult and my kids missed the "coloring maps".  

 

But otherwise, the content is what it is.  

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Thank you. I appreciate your perspective and experience. I'd still be open to hearing alternative recommendations - I'm not going to shelter them forever, but I'm also weighing maturity and ability to process what we're learning about (mostly for my 7-year-old) and wanting to consider my options.

 

Thanks!

Edited by Megicce
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Have you considered doing a year of American History? It might change your overall history arc, but it is a common path on the boards. I can't think of a spine for modern history that would be more gentle, perhaps someone else will have something for you.

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One thing I've seen suggested for younger kids is to do a year of 20th century heroes - people like Gandhi, MLK, Einstein, Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, etc. etc. - so that you read biographies and get a lot of the flavor of the world, but you focus on the "good guys" instead of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc. etc. But you'd have to put it together... though if you just made a biography list ahead of time, I don't think it would be so hard.

 

I think SOTW4 is as good as it gets in terms of 20th century history for this age. However, I can't say I love the book... like every SOTW volume, it doesn't really have a cohesive narrative and I think you feel it more acutely for this period than for the previous ones. Unlike when you're doing all these different ancient civilizations or looking at the middle ages and you're immersed in what feels like another time and place, this one just feels like one thing after another (a problem that SOTW3 also suffers from IMHO). And because the idea behind the series is to emphasize the facts and not the overarching narrative (because that's interpretation, which is better left for the logic stage and above) then I think it will feel dry for you.

 

I agree that doing Story of US for a spell - maybe even for the same period - might work. It's not gentler, but it's a very different approach. It has a lot more social and cultural history. And while it covers the horrors of the 20th century stuff, it feels a bit more removed because the focus is so clearly the US and while our horrors were sometimes pretty horrible, they often aren't as appalling as some of the things that happened elsewhere. The one exception is, of course, the Civil War, which I know is right up front in SOTW4.

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When we reached a point where I felt my younger child wasn't mature enough to handle the content of the upcoming year's curriculum (we used Sonlight), we took a year off of our normal rotation and studied FL state history for the entire year.   My kids were in 4th & 2nd grades at the time.   It was fabulous, and once I got started, we found more material than we could possibly cover in a year, and took field trips throughout the year.   Here in Florida, public school students study state history in 4th grade, so by googling "Florida 4th grade state history" and "Florida 4th grade social studies," I found multiple excellent book lists, a series of articles we used as a spine, and found a publisher of historical fiction set in Florida.   Local history museums were also excellent resources to find material.

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I don't have experience with SOTW 4 and a younger student, so can't speak to that. But when DS was in 4th grade, the content struggles that we encountered were 1) quantity - there's a lot more to cover in a year and 2) So much of it was about remote places and I just got fed up trying to extract answers to the narration questions out of him when the content just seemed so irrelevant to what a 9 year old needs to know. In theory I appreciate the attempt to focus beyond Western Hemisphere but in practice, it got tedious. So I ended up just editing the book down. We didn't cover the entire book. I skipped the sections/chapters that didn't seem important to know. Out of what was left, I don't know that it was any more disturbing than wars in the previous years. I think what makes it more disturbing is that we actually have photographs and film from these events. So, the supplemental literature that you choose will determine how upsetting it might be, probably more so than SOTW itself. My pared down version probably would have been okay for a second grader, with age-appropriate books to accompany.

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I'm LOVING all of these ideas; thank you so much, everyone! I am leaning toward taking a year of American history, and I'll check into the resources mentioned. Any other recommendations for good, engaging, one-year American history resources for this age?

Edited by Megicce
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I think SOTW4 is as good as it gets in terms of 20th century history for this age. However, I can't say I love the book... like every SOTW volume, it doesn't really have a cohesive narrative and I think you feel it more acutely for this period than for the previous ones. Unlike when you're doing all these different ancient civilizations or looking at the middle ages and you're immersed in what feels like another time and place, this one just feels like one thing after another (a problem that SOTW3 also suffers from IMHO). And because the idea behind the series is to emphasize the facts and not the overarching narrative (because that's interpretation, which is better left for the logic stage and above) then I think it will feel dry for you.

This is exactly what I haven't loved about SOTW3, which is probably also part of my reason for seeking out something more fun and engaging for next year. I'd like to find something that lights my kids up and gets them intrigued and passionate about history, as opposed to leaving them bewildered by a litany of historical events that they (especially the littler one) don't really have the ability to absorb yet.

 

I like your idea about 20th Century heroes and will consider that as an option! Thank you! :)

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I don't have experience with SOTW 4 and a younger student, so can't speak to that. But when DS was in 4th grade, the content struggles that we encountered were 1) quantity - there's a lot more to cover in a year and 2) So much of it was about remote places and I just got fed up trying to extract answers to the narration questions out of him when the content just seemed so irrelevant to what a 9 year old needs to know. In theory I appreciate the attempt to focus beyond Western Hemisphere but in practice, it got tedious.

We have definitely experienced some of this with SOTW3 as well. Thanks for sharing your experience and ideas! Edited by Megicce
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I did vol. 4 with a 4th grader and 2nd grader. I can't remember exactly all of the details. I am sure she probably sat in on all of the aloud readings of every chapter, but I know as far as output, what I expected of her was much different than what I expected of her older sis who began simple outlining and created a picture timeline book with the timeline cards in the back of the AG. If I was having the 2nd grader do an oral narration or a written summary, it was of a picture book or biography on something related, and was usually more US focused. I didn't have her do all of the maps, things like that. I had a Complete Book of Maps and Geography workbook that she started that year. I think it says 3rd grade and up, but the beginning is quite simple cut/paste on how maps work like of your own house and such.  We all did more work on U.S. topics. So her focus was really on other books that I was reading to both of them. I just let her get whatever she got from the SOTW4 readings.  Doing this wasn't difficult, as I used the books lists from vol. 4 and just pulled other picture books from the library shelves while I was there. 

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If you are okay with the format, how about the Kingfisher history series?  We got the original multi-volume series, and it is beautiful.  We have it along with Usborne books.  Usborne may seem too simple for a 4th grader, but Kingfisher seems more advanced.  It isn't same format as SOTW though.  Sorry that I do not have an alternative to that. 

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As part of a year of American history we are enjoying Pioneers and Patriots...it is short stories, told from a child's point of view, of historic events. So the founding of St. Augusting as told by two spanish children, etc. 

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Some ideas of alternatives to SOTW 4:

 

 

Skip SOTW 4, but do Modern History with a Focus on the Positives

- medical advances
- technological/scientific inventions and breakthroughs
- exploration/explorers of the past 150 years
- biographies of inventors, explorers, scientists
- sports, sporting events, and athletes
- artists and musicians

 

Resource ideas in these past threads:

"The sunnier side of modern history -- need a book"

- "What to do with a third grader when the rest of the kiddos are on 1850 to Modern?"

- "Modern History in the 4th grade?"

- "Videos, DVDs, Movies for Early Modern to Modern times -- age appropriate for a 7yo"

 

And more resource ideas here:

- Guest Hollow: books and movies 1800-1899, and 1900-present

- Sonlight books in WTM order

 

 

Drop History and Focus on World Physical/Cultural Geography

- Guest Hollow: Geography (gr. 2-6)

- Galloping the Globe (gr. K-4)

- Winter Promise: Children Around the World (gr. 2-6)

- Africa -- Teacher Created Resources unit (gr. 3-5)

 

 

Do 3 12-week special units -- pick from a wide variety of Social Studies topics -- examples:

- a unit on your state -- geography, capital, state flag, key landmarks, key people/events, etc.

- states and capitals -- US geography, flags, key landmarks, etc.

- Native Americans

- civics/voting/government -- American Government Today books (gr. 3-6)

 

 

Switch to an American History focus

- Complete Book of U.S. History + lots of readers & read-alouds + lots of hands-on

- Guest Hollow: American History (gr. 2-6) -- year 1: 1492-1860; year 2: 1861-1990s

- Sonlight: grade 3-4 (colonial to Civil War), grade 4-5 (Civil War through 20th century), or grade 4-6 (1 year US History)

- American Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty (gr. K-12)

Edited by Lori D.
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We have been using SOTW and have been largely pleased with it (though tbh SOTW 3 has been more dry), but I'm looking for something different for next year. My primary reason is the content warning on SOTW 4 that it contains material that's difficult (understandably so) and that you may not want to use it with kids younger than 4th grade. We do history with both of my kiddos together, and next year I will have a 4th grader and a sensitive 2nd grader. My idea is to skip SOTW 4 and then jump back into our history rotation with Ancients the following year.

 

I'd be interested in finding either an alternate resource for modern history that's...more gentle? (Does/can such a thing exist??) Or, alternately, I'd be open to finding a yearlong curriculum of American history or even a completely different focus that would fit in nicely. I'm really not sure where to start because I'm not sure what I'm looking for.

 

Something along the lines of SOTW would be nice, or I'd also be open to a unit-study style curriculum. I'd love to hear your recommendations! Thank you!!

 

PS - Both my kids are reading ahead of grade level, so something designed for a little bit older ages could be okay. :)

 

The Current Build Your Bundle sale -- Elementary #2 bundle has the Truthquest American History for Young Students with accompanying binder builder

 

You could use that instead.

http://www.buildyourbundle.net/shop/elementary-bundle-2/

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