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Getting the most out of SOTW OR finding something new


MomN
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We are currently finishing SOTW 2.  I do use the activity guide to find books from my library (although lots are not available).  I do not do the activities, as they just aren't a fit for us.  I use a globe and the maps and coloring activities.  I ask questions from the AG after reading and ask for a 2 sentence narration. I like the ease of it, but sometimes it feels very all over the place and I'm not sure my ds8 is getting as much out of it as I'd like.  

I don't like that it doesn't have many pictures.  I just sometimes feel like we are reading it to check it off and the value isn't there anymore.  How do you get the most out of SOTW? Or have you had a similar experience and made a switch? To what?  I have even contemplated doing US history next year and listening to SOTW 3 instead. 

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I treat history in elementary as a very sensory thing.  We don't just read - we start a simple project directly related to the work and then I tell the story.  We don't look at the pictures - we find artwork or a full on photo of something relevant to illustrate it.  We eat the food and travel the map along with the story.

That doesn't seem to be something you want, so a history volume may not be the right approach for you.  Have you considered a literature based approach instead? 

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My older two boys (8 & 11) have LOVED doing Veritas Press online Self Paved courses this year. To the point I'm loathed to consider switching but it is pricey. They both did 1815 to Present for History & Genesis to Joshua for Bible.

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1 hour ago, MomN said:

I don't like that it doesn't have many pictures.  I just sometimes feel like we are reading it to check it off and the value isn't there anymore.  How do you get the most out of SOTW? Or have you had a similar experience and made a switch? T

We didn't enjoy SOTW 1, and we abandoned ship quite early on. I didn't think DD8 was getting much out of it since it jumped around so much, the sentences were really short and unengaging, and no one was excited to read when it was time to do so. 

What we've been doing this year is reading the highly unserious Time Traveler series I posted about 😉 . I've also purchased a bunch of Oxford University Press books, and I think when we take a more serious pass, that's what we'll do. But actually, the Time Traveler books have given DD8 a nice basic overview starting from ancient Greece, and I expect that to be helpful as we learn more -- there will be things to "hook" our new knowledge on. I've never had anything of the sort myself, alas, so it's been really fun developing a more reasonable timeline in my head. 

I'll say that doing "fun history" has been a smashing success around here in terms of actually getting DD8's interest in it up -- she started finally reading through her Horrible History books and whatnot 🙂 . 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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32 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I treat history in elementary as a very sensory thing.  We don't just read - we start a simple project directly related to the work and then I tell the story.  We don't look at the pictures - we find artwork or a full on photo of something relevant to illustrate it.  We eat the food and travel the map along with the story.

That doesn't seem to be something you want, so a history volume may not be the right approach for you.  Have you considered a literature based approach instead? 

I'm not against activities in history, but I don't find the ones in the AG very engaging.  Lots of cutting things out that would be seen as busywork by my ds.  

I try to take a literature based approach, kind of.  Whenever I can, I choose a literature book that corresponds to the time period. I did this last year with SOTW 1.  This year has been harder with library closings but I'm also realizing that it takes a lot of work and flying by the seat of my pants to find good literature books on the spot that match the time period and that are good fits for the younger age.  We do picture books, like for ancient times and about knights and such, but finding them continuously has been hard for me.  Maybe I need to plan more in the summer.

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13 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

We didn't enjoy SOTW 1, and we abandoned ship quite early on. I didn't think DD8 was getting much out of it since it jumped around so much, the sentences were really short and unengaging, and no one was excited to read when it was time to do so. 

What we've been doing this year is reading the highly unserious Time Traveler series I posted about 😉 . I've also purchased a bunch of Oxford University Press books, and I think when we take a more serious pass, that's what we'll do. But actually, the Time Traveler books have given DD8 a nice basic overview starting from ancient Greece, and I expect that to be helpful as we learn more -- there will be things to "hook" our new knowledge on. I've never had anything of the sort myself, alas, so it's been really fun developing a more reasonable timeline in my head. 

I'll say that doing "fun history" has been a smashing success around here in terms of actually getting DD8's interest in it up -- she started finally reading through her Horrible History books and whatnot 🙂 . 

I'm honestly relieved to find someone else who didn't like SOTW because I know most love it.  Exactly like you said - no one is excited to read it ever (including me - although I am learning a lot).

I love your idea of fun history!

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1 minute ago, MomN said:

I'm not against activities in history, but I don't find the ones in the AG very engaging.  Lots of cutting things out that would be seen as busywork by my ds.  

I try to take a literature based approach, kind of.  Whenever I can, I choose a literature book that corresponds to the time period. I did this last year with SOTW 1.  This year has been harder with library closings but I'm also realizing that it takes a lot of work and flying by the seat of my pants to find good literature books on the spot that match the time period and that are good fits for the younger age.  We do picture books, like for ancient times and about knights and such, but finding them continuously has been hard for me.  Maybe I need to plan more in the summer.

😄One of the things I appreciated about SOTW was the ability to omit nearly all the cutting/pasting/coloring things.  I think we did 3 during vol 2: the Viking ship (after building one out of wood at our museum), the plague mask (but I found a better one online and we used that instead), and the plague wheel, I think.  The rest were weapons, food, pretend games, board games, building castles out of blocks or a Lego scene.... sometimes if I knew my kid wouldn't be engaged I would just look for something different.  I found a fabulous Canterbury Tales/Pilgrimage/Plague distribution activity that way.

You might look at BookShark or Build Your Library for year 3.  I would not suggest History Odyssey, but maybe Curiosity Chronicles?

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11 minutes ago, MomN said:

I'm honestly relieved to find someone else who didn't like SOTW because I know most love it.  Exactly like you said - no one is excited to read it ever (including me - although I am learning a lot).

I know just how you feel! Even one of my friends whose kid is at school (well, it's a small school for gifted kids, so it's kind of weird, but still) and who had their teacher give them SOTW really liked it. Never mind people on this forum, who almost all like it by definition 😉 . 
 

I know @wendyroo had a similar experience, if I remember correctly -- she's the one who recommended the OUP books to us, and while we haven't used them yet, they look great to both me and DD8. She thinks they look really engaging and also more informative than our current light series. But our current light series is definitely what's making her interested! 

 

11 minutes ago, MomN said:

I love your idea of fun history!

Thanks!! We've been enjoying it. History is absolutely my weakest area, so it's been fun to rediscover some joy in it. (I suppose you should really take my advice with a grain of salt, given how weak I am in it 😉.) 

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For the first two books we did the lapboooks every few lessons. I did most of the cutting so they could just have fun assembling and reviewing the material, and then showing it to grandma once a year. For the last two books i made nothing pages, which was just a colorful picture over lines for writing a summary.

We also did a timeline every 5th lesson or so. I spent time over the preceding summer making a timeline card for each section. i made a different timeline book for each of the four years. 

Other than those, we did pretty much what you do, few activities, lots of the books were available for us, coordinated read alouds.

In parallel, for years 2-4, they did American History at something I call "rec level" 😄 I was shooting for low-key familiarity.

History is supposed to be an enjoyable discussion here, so it was all pretty low-key. If it wasn't working for us we would have switched it, so I totally support switching to something you enjoy.

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14 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I know @wendyroo had a similar experience, if I remember correctly -- she's the one who recommended the OUP books to us, and while we haven't used them yet, they look great to both me and DD8. She thinks they look really engaging and also more informative than our current light series. But our current light series is definitely what's making her interested! 

We actually went through all four SOTW books before embarking on the OUP series. While I certainly don't think it is the end all be all, my kids did enjoy the SOTW books. Then again, my kiddos, especially my oldest, are quirky and love bland, suspense-free, encyclopedia-like books. I think they found SOTW comfortingly familiar and predictable...and I think, on some level, liked the impersonal tone set by the lack of pictures. Our main goal then was keeping lessons low-stress and low-expectation, so having the kids color the coloring pages while I read aloud from SOTW fit our needs well.

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Just now, wendyroo said:

We actually went through all four SOTW books before embarking on the OUP series. While I certainly don't think it is the end all be all, my kids did enjoy the SOTW books. Then again, my kiddos, especially my oldest, are quirky and love bland, suspense-free, encyclopedia-like books. I think they found SOTW comfortingly familiar and predictable...and I think, on some level, liked the impersonal tone set by the lack of pictures. Our main goal then was keeping lessons low-stress and low-expectation, so having the kids color the coloring pages while I read aloud from SOTW fit our needs well.

Ah-ha. I didn't remember whether you had gone through all of them or you hadn't -- thanks for clarifying. I just remember you reporting that even your little one enjoyed OUP more than SOTW. 

My kids are both really, really into fiction and really, really bored by encyclopedias. DD4 actually wasn't hating SOTW, but I really didn't feel like aiming our history reading at the 4 year old!! 

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We did SOTW  almost entirely on audio in the car.  I would check out picture books from the relative time period to look at and read.  We didn't do any structured formal activities, but we did do a lot of informal "activities" that we made up as we went along, as our mood suited us: the kids incorporated a lot of history into their free play, we made costumes, ate food from various times and places, baked hard-tack, built a trebuchet to fling apples, duct-tape weapons, etc.  It was very organic and somewhat unschooly.  They've retained a lot.

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5 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

You might look at BookShark or Build Your Library for year 3.  I would not suggest History Odyssey, but maybe Curiosity Chronicles?

Will check these out!

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

History is absolutely my weakest area, so it's been fun to rediscover some joy in it. (I suppose you should really take my advice with a grain of salt, given how weak I am in it 😉.) 

A weak area for me too.

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5 hours ago, SusanC said:

History is supposed to be an enjoyable discussion here, so it was all pretty low-key. If it wasn't working for us we would have switched it, so I totally support switching to something you enjoy.

I totally agree.  Never thought I would think of switching, but now I am considering it.

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4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

My kids are both really, really into fiction and really, really bored by encyclopedias. DD4 actually wasn't hating SOTW, but I really didn't feel like aiming our history reading at the 4 year old!! 

Yes!  Mine are all about the fiction books but HATE encyclopedias.  I've tried a couple of really beautifully illustrated encyclopedia-type books and we haven't made it through 10 pages.

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3 hours ago, wathe said:

We did SOTW  almost entirely on audio in the car.  I would check out picture books from the relative time period to look at and read.  We didn't do any structured formal activities, but we did do a lot of informal "activities" that we made up as we went along, as our mood suited us: the kids incorporated a lot of history into their free play, we made costumes, ate food from various times and places, baked hard-tack, built a trebuchet to fling apples, duct-tape weapons, etc.  It was very organic and somewhat unschooly.  They've retained a lot.

I love the idea of doing the audio version.  But I'm also questioning if I just want to finish SOTW to finish it, or if I actually think it still could be of value to us.  I am really trying to uproot all of my curriculum choices that are there just to check the box.  And that is so my personality.  

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If SOTW isn't floating your boat, don't be afraid to switch.  But, if you do want to think about tweaking it rather than dumping it, here are some thoughts.

We do the "academics" as a family week by week, but get together with another family every two weeks for activities.  It's fun for the kids to have friends involved, it's fun for me to get to chat to another parent, I have the accountability of preparing something for more than just my kids, and I am only responsible for finding activities once per month.  If it's not practical for you to find a friend to share the load, perhaps you could still plan to have an activity afternoon once every 2-3 weeks.  That way you're doing some hands-on stuff but you won't burn out constantly having to think of or prepare things.  You might consider inviting the grandparents or a similarly appreciative audience to come over once per term for a "look what we learned night" where your DS can show things he's made (you might frame an especially good narration or artwork as well), recite memory work if he has any, and perhaps be part of cooking a meal that connects with some aspect of your learning that term.

Highlight activities from SOTW 3 for my family included: making a Guy Fawkes stuffed with straw, and actually burning it on a bonfire.  We had pottage from the activity guide for dinner that night, which looked like bowls of glue and grossed the kids out, but was surprisingly tasty.  We made paper boats for a Spanish armada and English navy, and set fire to them in the bathtub.  The scorch marks on the tub are a less fond reminder! 😏  The kids made wooden models of forts and cannons and painted a china tea set for the American revolution week, then had a "poetry tea time" with the tea set while someone read out Paul Revere's Ride.  (There are loads of picture books for this topic too, and we read several and did a picture study of The Battle of Bunker Hill during the same tea time.)  For the "Changing World" chapter a friend with a cotton farm gave us some cleaned and raw cotton and the kids spent time noticing the difference and trying to clean it by hand as slaves once did; then they made choc chip cookies in a "production line" where each kid was in charge of one particular part of the process.  You can probably see that not all of these activities come from the ac guide, and that some of them took a reasonable amount of planning or effort.  That was manageable because each family was only planning activities once every 4 weeks - about 9 times over the whole year.  Over the course of a year there'd be a mix of craft, drama, cooking, video input, perhaps an excursion or two.  Our group had 7 kids, of whom five were grade 1 or younger, so some of our activity choices might seem odd to someone who doesn't have a bunch of tag-along littles 🙂 

I actually agree with you that the chapters can seem quite jumpy sometimes, because SWB is prioritising chronology rather than theme or geography.  Don't feel you have to do every chapter or even do them in order.  On our last loop of SOTW 3, we wanted to include a term of our own country's early history, so we cut down SOTW to about 30 of the 42 chapters and arranged them a bit more geographically (eg France chapters together, England chapters together...).

If your art schedule isn't already full, it's a great subject to tie in - especially if you have only one kiddo and thus things like drama aren't really going to fly.  You might try Artistic Pursuits' Art in America curriculum (whether you stick to SOTW or do a US history year) - click here and scroll down for an unreasonably long way: https://artisticpursuits.com/k-1st-2nd-3rd

Simply Charlotte Mason has collected a portfolio of (public domain) large format artworks that you can purchase either printed or as a PDF, with the odd name "The Stuff They Left Behind: From the Days of Early Modern" https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/stuff-left-behind-days-early-modern/ (or you could use their list as a starting point and find them yourself through sites like Wikimedia Commons)

There's a nice picture study book called The Trail West by Ellen Galford.  It has classic artworks loosely themed around the Oregon Trail, including a couple by native American artists, with lovely "zoomed in" sections and extra info to help you appreciate the painting.  It's out of print but readily available at Thrift Books or Amazon - Amazon link is here: https://www.amazon.com/Trail-West-Exploring-History-Through/dp/1587284421/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+trail+west+picture+that&qid=1618115138&sr=8-1

My last suggestion is to try to find a day over the summer where you list out the SOTW chapters (in the order you plan to do them) and a couple of key words for each - so "A Changing World" is about technology, specifically James Watt/steam engine and Eli Whitney/cotton gin/replaceable parts.  Then spend time on Amazon and your library catalogue, seeing what resources are out there and deciding what you need to buy.  Some libraries even let you reserve books for a future date, so you might be able to queue the whole year's books in July and pick them up as you need to.  The list helps you avoid buying ten books for a minor chapter and then having none for the next six weeks in a row 🙂  I would run out of enthusiasm to go looking every week of the year, but if I do it in advance it's easy to just pull it from my shelf/the library's reserve shelf when the time comes.

Good luck - I hope you find a program and system that is life giving for you ❤️

 

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10 minutes ago, caffeineandbooks said:

You can probably see that not all of these activities come from the ac guide, and that some of them took a reasonable amount of planning or effort.  That was manageable because each family was only planning activities once every 4 weeks - about 9 times over the whole year.  Over the course of a year there'd be a mix of craft, drama, cooking, video input, perhaps an excursion or two.  Our group had 7 kids, of whom five were grade 1 or younger, so some of our activity choices might seem odd to someone who doesn't have a bunch of tag-along littles 🙂 

I think these activities sound amazing and my ds would love them, but I also know that I don't have the margin in my homeschooling days to make these happen consistently.

 

12 minutes ago, caffeineandbooks said:

My last suggestion is to try to find a day over the summer where you list out the SOTW chapters (in the order you plan to do them) and a couple of key words for each - so "A Changing World" is about technology, specifically James Watt/steam engine and Eli Whitney/cotton gin/replaceable parts.  Then spend time on Amazon and your library catalogue, seeing what resources are out there and deciding what you need to buy.  Some libraries even let you reserve books for a future date, so you might be able to queue the whole year's books in July and pick them up as you need to.  The list helps you avoid buying ten books for a minor chapter and then having none for the next six weeks in a row 🙂  I would run out of enthusiasm to go looking every week of the year, but if I do it in advance it's easy to just pull it from my shelf/the library's reserve shelf when the time comes.

Good luck - I hope you find a program and system that is life giving for you ❤️

 

Will definitely check out the links!  Thanks!

This last suggestion is great - especially the key words for each chapter and reserving books for a future date!  I'm pretty sure my library allows me to reserve ahead, but I've never tried it. Genius!  I definitely think having the supplemental books planned out for the year would make my days a lot easier.

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I used it as the main text but used library books for pictures (I gave up trying to find the ones suggested in the book after one trip to the library to look for those...took way more time to find even a couple than it was worth).   In stead, I found I could go to the ancient history section, which every library I've been to organizes by civilization, and there were good books on "ancient civilizations" or "middle ages"  that had anything that didn't have it's own section.   I'd just plop and browse...I didn't care about the writing just the pictures.   I could usually find some books with some good ones (I especially liked those lift the flap ones) and I'd stack them open as I read Story of the World and just stop and point out things.  

It's a hassle but honestly I enjoyed it.  Gave me an excuse to browse historical pictures and that's just fun for me.

We supplemented with a lot of videos too.  YouTube has a lot of short videos that put visuals to a lot of the chapter content.   Extra Credits History was my fave.  TedEd has a lot of good stuff too (their History vs Columbus one stunk, I should warn as someone who researched the death out of that topic, but they have different authors and so I don't think that bodes poorly on their other videos). 

What I'm discovering recently and loving is 365 degree panoramas you can explore on places like http://www.airpano.com/ and http://roundme.com .   These are great for any monument that's still around, or for just seeing landscapes from the various places we read about.  Super simple and easy and you can even let them explore while they listen to the book. 

I've done that with youtube videos too...found ones that were panoramas and just let the video play while I read the chapter.   I blogged about one of the chapters I did like that (the Indus River).






 

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9 hours ago, MomN said:

I'm honestly relieved to find someone else who didn't like SOTW because I know most love it.  Exactly like you said - no one is excited to read it ever (including me - although I am learning a lot).

I love your idea of fun history!

We really enjoy SOTW and don't do near the activities that it sounds like you do. So, yeah, maybe another curriculum would be a better fit for your family. Find something you're excited to read with them!

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15 hours ago, MomN said:

Or have you had a similar experience and made a switch? To what? 

Partway into SOTW 3 we switched to K12's History 4.  I had the same complaint as you--that SOTW was all over the place.  I've described it before as "sacrificing coherence for chronology."  The K12 course ran chronologically as well, but it was also organized by theme, which made everything come together really nicely.  Also, there were way more pictures, which my son loved as well.  We didn't do any of the activities--we just read the lessons (from a laptop on the couch) and did whatever little online quiz questions were included.  We also did a bunch of supplemental reading.  Then I had my son write one paper each week about what he was learning.  So sometimes it was history (with prompts like "Tell me about the French Revolution") and sometimes it was science or something else.  

I really like K12's approach to telling the story of history.  I also used their concise version of the Hakim books for US history in elementary school, their Human Odyssey series for world history in middle school, and their American Odyssey for US history in upper middle/high school.  We just read the books (which you can get used on Amazon) and never did the courses.  Just lots of discussion and sometimes a bit of writing.

Edited by EKS
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12 hours ago, wathe said:

We did SOTW  almost entirely on audio in the car.  I would check out picture books from the relative time period to look at and read.  We didn't do any structured formal activities, but we did do a lot of informal "activities" that we made up as we went along, as our mood suited us: the kids incorporated a lot of history into their free play, we made costumes, ate food from various times and places, baked hard-tack, built a trebuchet to fling apples, duct-tape weapons, etc.  It was very organic and somewhat unschooly.  They've retained a lot.

We do it almost exclusively as audio in the car as well. And that's all. I don't do any projects. Sometimes I'll get a library book on a subject we recently listened to, but we don't do any projects. We listen to a few chapters a week and when we finish the series we start over again. They will have listened to the whole series several times before middle school. They enjoy it. I do consider us as more unschooling history though. SOTW is just one resource we use informally. 

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2 hours ago, MeaganS said:

We do it almost exclusively as audio in the car as well. And that's all. I don't do any projects. Sometimes I'll get a library book on a subject we recently listened to, but we don't do any projects. We listen to a few chapters a week and when we finish the series we start over again. They will have listened to the whole series several times before middle school. They enjoy it. I do consider us as more unschooling history though. SOTW is just one resource we use informally. 

Same. 

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13 hours ago, goldenecho said:

What I'm discovering recently and loving is 365 degree panoramas you can explore on places like http://www.airpano.com/ and http://roundme.com .   These are great for any monument that's still around, or for just seeing landscapes from the various places we read about.  Super simple and easy and you can even let them explore while they listen to the book. 

I've done that with youtube videos too...found ones that were panoramas and just let the video play while I read the chapter.   I blogged about one of the chapters I did like that (the Indus River).

Thank you for the link to your blog.  From it I found your links to Open Library books - I had not heard of this before!  This will significantly expand my access to books my library doesn't carry.  My wallet is very pleased! 😍

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Other than the year they did SOTW in our very small co-op, my kids have used it as car listening. We all enjoyed it--DH and I had virtually no world history in school. 

We mostly use get 'er done resources for history, but we have always had lots of related books around, listened to podcasts, watched documentaries, etc. I did do "fun" history my first year of homeschooling, but it was difficult to do in later years and still get everything finished. Also, my second kiddo had a LOT of coordination issues, so hands-on stuff was just really difficult later on unless I had a LOT of time to devote to it.  

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18 hours ago, goldenecho said:

We supplemented with a lot of videos too.  YouTube has a lot of short videos that put visuals to a lot of the chapter content.   Extra Credits History was my fave.  TedEd has a lot of good stuff too (their History vs Columbus one stunk, I should warn as someone who researched the death out of that topic, but they have different authors and so I don't think that bodes poorly on their other videos). 

What I'm discovering recently and loving is 365 degree panoramas you can explore on places like http://www.airpano.com/ and http://roundme.com .   These are great for any monument that's still around, or for just seeing landscapes from the various places we read about.  Super simple and easy and you can even let them explore while they listen to the book. 

I've done that with youtube videos too...found ones that were panoramas and just let the video play while I read the chapter.   I blogged about one of the chapters I did like that (the Indus River).
 

Will definitely check these out!  Panoramas sound awesome!

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12 hours ago, EKS said:

I really like K12's approach to telling the story of history.  I also used their concise version of the Hakim books for US history in elementary school, their Human Odyssey series for world history in middle school, and their American Odyssey for US history in upper middle/high school.  We just read the books (which you can get used on Amazon) and never did the courses.  Just lots of discussion and sometimes a bit of writing.

Will definitely check out K12.  What grade did you use Hakim's concise US history books?  

Edited by MomN
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11 hours ago, MeaganS said:

We do it almost exclusively as audio in the car as well. And that's all. I don't do any projects. Sometimes I'll get a library book on a subject we recently listened to, but we don't do any projects. We listen to a few chapters a week and when we finish the series we start over again. They will have listened to the whole series several times before middle school. They enjoy it. I do consider us as more unschooling history though. SOTW is just one resource we use informally. 

It's so funny because my ds begs for audiobooks in the car.  He's listened to Ramona, Henry Huggins, The Penderwicks, The Land of Stories ... those types of books.  I've NEVER thought of putting on SOTW in the car.  Definitely have to try this!

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19 hours ago, goldenecho said:

What I'm discovering recently and loving is 365 degree panoramas you can explore on places like http://www.airpano.com/ and http://roundme.com .   These are great for any monument that's still around, or for just seeing landscapes from the various places we read about.  Super simple and easy and you can even let them explore while they listen to the book. 
 

These links are absolutely amazing!!!!! Definitely want to start incorporating panoramas weekly.

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So, this post has really helped me identify my main goals in history.  I want my kids to enjoy it, even if this means I ditch the SOTW AG 3 guide I just bought new 😐  I might try out SOTW 3 in the car to see if it's a hit for us.  I think my "history" time at home will consist of reading fun books for now.  What these are I don't really know but books other than the Time Traveller series suggested above (these look awesome!). I want to try this for a year.  Any more "fun" history books you can suggest?

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Just now, MomN said:

So, this post has really helped me identify my main goals in history.  I want my kids to enjoy it, even if this means I ditch the SOTW AG 3 guide I just bought new 😐  I might try out SOTW 3 in the car to see if it's a hit for us.  I think my "history" time at home will consist of reading fun books for now.  What these are I don't really know but books other than the Time Traveller series suggested above (these look awesome!). I want to try this for a year.  Any more "fun" history books you can suggest?

Well, there are "Horrible Histories," but they are very piecemeal. Have you seen those? My kiddo has been reading them herself for fun. 

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33 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Well, there are "Horrible Histories," but they are very piecemeal. Have you seen those? My kiddo has been reading them herself for fun. 

I have heard of those.  I thought they might not work, but I think I should let my ds decide that so I'm going to try a couple.  He might just love them.  Thanks!  I also just found a series called History News that looks pretty good.

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Just now, MomN said:

I have heard of those.  I thought they might not work, but I think I should let my ds decide that so I'm going to try a couple.  He might just love them.  Thanks!  I also just found a series called History News that looks pretty good.

Oooh, what's History News?? 

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6 hours ago, caffeineandbooks said:

Thank you for the link to your blog.  From it I found your links to Open Library books - I had not heard of this before!  This will significantly expand my access to books my library doesn't carry.  My wallet is very pleased! 😍

You're so welcome!   Open Library is a gem.   I sometimes even use them to preview books my library DOES have, to see it's worth a trip over there to get them.  😉

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It has been almost four years since my last time through SOTW2, but I always think of it as my favorite for activities.  We've made illuminated manuscripts, learned calligraphy, build model castles from cardboard boxes (life size, that was my idea from some large donated cartons, not a SOTW project, but we learned about castle defenses and challenged co-op classes to design defenses for their castles. ) 

I love books from the library with great pictures, but daily, in just reading at home with my kiddo, to enhance it, we look at the internet,  I am currently in book 1 with my dd7,  Last week was Roman Construction.  We looked at several roads online that are still there, and we will make the model road of five layers project from the A.G.  I find there is so much that is not cut/paste, that we have to space them out and just pick one or two a semester.  But for day to day, my little one likes the board games in the books.  They are really just roll a dice and answer questions type games, but she enjoys that, plus looking up on the internet, watching some documentaries from National Geographics, and reading library books keeps us steeped in history here.  We just finished a three part docu on Greece from Natl. Geo. from Disney plus, are reading Greek Myths to Read Aloud ( a SOTW suggestion that we ended up buying so we could read them all...) in our bedtime reading stack, and planning the Roman Road construction when we have some time, plus looking at the online pics at each reading session and of course using the globe while doing the mapwork and such.  Mine does not always color the picture, but it is there if she wants it.  

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We listen to SOTW in the car. Then we discuss what we just heard while still in the car. We do not go in to depth on every single topic. But when we do, we just pick whatever books we can find, not just the ones from the activity book. SWB even said she only added those lists because her publisher wanted her to. I have tons of books now. For pictures, you can use the color pages, books, or even the internet. But I do not worry about it for every single lesson.  I do, however, pull all my books from a time period and put them out at home so that the kids constantly see them and can pick from them.

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12 hours ago, MomN said:

 I also just found a series called History News that looks pretty good.

These are well worn in our house.  In fact, I have the Roman one in two different sizes (two publishers), and my kid won't let me get rid of either.

If you can get your hands on them, there used to be a series called Learning Through History Magazine. They're black and white pages filled with stories and simple activity ideas.

We also liked the You Wouldn't Want To Be (US) / Danger Zone (UK) series for elementary, and Then And Now style books, where there are overlays showing what something looked like then and the photograph of its current state now.  My kid was too young to appreciate the text the first time through (it's wordy and geared toward adults), but was fascinated by the overlays.

 

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On 4/11/2021 at 9:29 PM, MomN said:

So, this post has really helped me identify my main goals in history.  I want my kids to enjoy it, even if this means I ditch the SOTW AG 3 guide I just bought new 😐  I might try out SOTW 3 in the car to see if it's a hit for us.  I think my "history" time at home will consist of reading fun books for now.  What these are I don't really know but books other than the Time Traveller series suggested above (these look awesome!). I want to try this for a year.  Any more "fun" history books you can suggest?

My kids really liked historical architectural books for kids:

David Macaulay's Castle, Pyramid, City, Cathedral

Stephen Biesty cross-section books.  Man of War is wonderful (HMS Victory)

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On 4/11/2021 at 11:18 AM, MomN said:

I'm honestly relieved to find someone else who didn't like SOTW because I know most love it.  Exactly like you said - no one is excited to read it ever (including me - although I am learning a lot).

I love your idea of fun history!

My kids disliked it when they were younger.  We are doing SOTW4 this year at nearly 12.  I just read and do some books.  So far history is pretty laid back here.  I just don't have much time and DS isn't really a project person.

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6 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Not the OP, but my kids just didn’t want to. They prefer narratives. DD8 reads all day, every day, but she doesn’t read for facts.

Mine are exactly the same. 

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On 4/10/2021 at 6:05 PM, Not_a_Number said:

What we've been doing this year is reading the highly unserious Time Traveler series I posted about 😉 . I've also purchased a bunch of Oxford University Press books, and I think when we take a more serious pass, that's what we'll do. But actually, the Time Traveler books have given DD8 a nice basic overview starting from ancient Greece, and I expect that to be helpful as we learn more -- there will be things to "hook" our new knowledge on. I've never had anything of the sort myself, alas, so it's been really fun developing a more reasonable timeline in my head. 

I just checked out the Time Traveler series at my library, and the books are awesome!  I think we will start with these next year.  I love how thorough yet humorous they are!

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13 hours ago, wathe said:

My kids really liked historical architectural books for kids:

David Macaulay's Castle, Pyramid, City, Cathedral

Stephen Biesty cross-section books.  Man of War is wonderful (HMS Victory)

All of these look awesome!

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14 minutes ago, MomN said:

I just checked out the Time Traveler series at my library, and the books are awesome!  I think we will start with these next year.  I love how thorough yet humorous they are!

Oh, I'm so glad you like them!! I've been surprised how much I've been impressed with them. They actually have a LOT of information given how funny they are. And they're organized relatively well. 

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I really wanted my kids to be interested in a lot of the Story of the World activities, but they just weren't.  We read the series together once and my kids each read each of the books on their own a second time and they really liked it.   We've read some of the other books mentioned here as well as The World in Ancient Times books - which my kids loved!  Right  now they're a little over half way through the A History of US series and it's the first time we're doing anything extra (just maps and timeline).  Something they really like is going to historical places using Google Maps - it's like a mini virtual field trip.   

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