Hi, I just listened to a podcast by Sonya back in August about planning the 6 year History cycle for your family. So I stopped folding laundry (yay!) and sat down to plan it all out… but I’ve run into some snags. Would anyone mind brainstorming with me on how to best utilize the 6 year history cycle in my situation?
I have two children. This year I am studying Josh – Malachi & Ancient Greece with my 3rd grade son. My daughter starts first grade next fall. So at the top of my list is Grades 1,4 – Matt & Rome. I’ve figured it out a few different ways on paper, but am not really happy with any of the solutions I’ve come up with. I’m trying to stop myself from planning a year where we double up on history. Or where my daughter ends up studying the middle ages 3 times throughout her schooling. The podcast mentioned Early Modern and Modern Times are a must for high school so I’m having trouble figuring out the best solution. I dont want the kids to miss out on any time period but also don’t want a random period of history tacked onto the end of their high school years.
<p style=”text-align: left;”> Feel free to ask questions if any of the above is unclear. I’d appreciate any thoughts or advice!</p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Marilyn</p>
This is the blog post / podcast I’m referring to… https://simplycharlottemason.com/blog/using-the-6-year-history-cycle/sarah2106Participant
I tried to plan it all out when my oldest was in 2nd grade but realized with 3 children, there would be no simple solution so I stopped trying and just started going through the guides.
My oldest is in 8th grade and what I am realizing is that, at least for my family, as the kids get older they will start branching out. They will add in Government and Economics, maybe want to study a certain period a little more in depth or do a different history style as they get older.
So for us what is working this year is that my oldest is doing her history, but she joins us for family readings. She is old enough to make the connections and still enjoy and learn from the family books. This keeps us connected while growing the independence for her, and so far so good.
I think having a vision for the coming years is great, but don’t worry too much because there are so many years to learn and develop interests. My husband for example had an opportunity to do Military History his senior year of highschool and it was his favorite by far. Not being “locked in” but flexible gives freedom, especially in those highschool years 🙂
So make plans, but don’t write them in pen 🙂sarah2106Participant
There will always be “gaps” and things missed, but that is ok because learning is life long. I am having so much fun learning and re-learing along side my children. You can never get to everything, but if they grow to enjoy learning, they will continue reading and learning for their lifetime 🙂
I appreciate your comments, Sarah. I do tend to get caught up in checking things off a list, and lose sight of the big picture. Refreshing thoughts. Thank you.
I’m curious to see if any others have advice on how to work this out.TristanParticipant
Unless you choose to do what some other CM groups choose – keeping each child separate for history so you can follow a set sequence (ex: ancients in 1st, middle ages in 2nd, early modern in 3rd and so on.) then it will not work out in a ‘perfect rotation’ from beginning to end for each child. They simply join the history rotation when they are old enough to participate in the family studies. As a mom of 10, I choose to keep history studies family centered for my own sanity until high school.
I will say, from experience, that in high school my kids often are independent of the family and choose their own history rotation. My oldest lined up with us for some years and not for others. Her choice. (She is a college freshman now). My current high schooler (9th) chose to do something separate from the family – the history of science from Einstein to the present day. The next high schooler (next year) likes doing history with the family, so I expect she will stay with everyone else time period wise. And I have 7 kids younger than these.
We have always homeschooled and I’ve graduated one. We have generally done history in a chronological rotation with a random interest based study thrown in sometimes (Ex, if we are in early modern times but a child is suddenly very interested in Ancient Greece we will add in some books on that even though they don’t fit chronologically with what we are doing that year.)
Now I do something different, that we all love. We do history chronologically, covering creation to modern times every year. It sounds crazy, but is really simple and gives my kids a great overview of how things fit together in history. The school year begins at creation every year. Then we begin moving forward in time chronologically and each year stop in different times/people/events to study. Last year, for example, we had creation, Ancient Egypt, Middle ages/knights, American Revolution, WWII, the history of flight, the space race, to name a few. This year we started at Creation, then went to Ancient Greeks, Ancient China, Ancient India, and just moved to Vikings this week. Following this we’ll touch on Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, Explorers, Colonies, Constitution, history of Education, WWI, 1920’s, Great Depression, and Dust Bowl, among other things.
We do use a timeline and refer to it regularly to place new people/events in their position around other events/people we have studied. We review what came before or after a person/place/event. Or at the same time – which is really fun for them to see that nations histories unfold at the same time but in the early ages didn’t interact much due to less efficient means of travel than we have.Morgan1Participant
Tristan, this wya of doing history has always appealed to me. However, I am intimidated by it because of making sure all the important things get covered each time period over the course of their education. For instance.. how do you know what to pick from each time period each year to study? What does this look like over the course of their education? Does any other moms here do it this way as well? Any insights from how you implement it? I think it would be fun for them to move through all the times periods every year and learn a bit each time. I find they are having a hard time remembering everything they learned in depth from the years before. Since it’s not corresponding to anything learned this year.
Another question would be, do you put together your own plans and books or do you use a specific curriculum for history that way?
Thank you again
I agree with Tristan…with lots of kids or a big age spread, you can’t make the history rotation perfect for everyone.
I don’t do a 6 year rotation. My ideal is a 4 year rotation, but we tend toward a 3 year rotation. This year, I have children in grades 2, 3, 5, and 7. Because my 7th grader is looking at HS soon, I’m trying to plan a little ahead and figure out what to do to make sure he gets everything he needs then. But for now, we all do history together. We are doing Rome to the Reformation this year. I do not follow a guide, I just pick out the books I want (consulting lots of booklists to find the ones I want). My two oldest are being assigned extra reading for the time period and I do a read aloud with everyone. I don’t worry as much about gaps. I know I’m learning all sorts of things from the Read Alouds I do and the gaps in my education are being filled in. They can read as adults if they discover they are interested in a person or event we don’t get to cover.
The last time we did the Reformation time period, I focused on the Reformers. This time, I plan to focus on other events/people from that time period….like Columbus.
As to planning way in advance….whenever I plan far in advance….I change my mind. 🙂 So, for me, it’s better to just have a general idea of our future direction and focus on what I’m actually teaching now for now.TristanParticipant
You can make your own list of important people/places/events if you want. One way to do that would be to look at the table of contents, samples, or book lists for various history curricula and writing them down in order, curating your own giant history list/timeline. Then each year choose things across the entire list to cover (maybe put the year you are doing it by each item, put 2019 or 2020 by this year’s topics). When you have been doing this for 4ish years you may want to cycle back through some of the important topics with your family and go deeper with the kids who are now older than they were the last time you studied this topic.
Personally, I use a curriculum, and then add in a basket of library books that fit with the topics we are in. I use The Good and the Beautiful History. I like that it already does this beginning to end each year history cycle. I also like that it includes a variety of things: teacher’s manual to read information, student reader, audio story woven through the years, book lists for read alouds, student explorers (worksheets/coloring pages/articles with more topics/etc for different grade groupings to make this more in depth for older kids), history game each year, book of maps and photographs that go with different lessons, some activity/craft/hands on lesson etc. You do not do everything in that list in one lesson. Instead, they rotate through several of them per lesson, giving your history a bit of variety in how it is presented. My kids really like it, and my older kids simply dive in deeper on topics, everyone narrates, and we love having a basket of books from the library so we can go further when a topic catches someone’s interest.
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