Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: European Explorers

We're back on to history now, after taking last week for science. We had started with Leif Eriksson a few weeks back, and now we've come to Columbus and other European explorers. We are using Notgrass's America the Beautiful  and I really like it so far. It's got a short Bible passage for each day, lots of pictures, biographies and American landmarks included in the history lessons, and short enough lessons that it's not too drawn out.

But it does focus on only American history, so I've also supplemented with Story of the World Vol. 3. I love how SOTW reads like a storybook, and the kids definitely enjoy it. We read about various kings and queens and in Europe during the 1600s...Charles, Phillip, Ferdinand, James, Mary, Elizabeth...It was fascinating to hear about the treachery and drama that went on with the various people taking over thrones and plotting overthrows!  We also got to hear a bit about the struggle between Protestants and Catholics during this time period, which the kids really knew very little about. The kids were captivated by all this! I have to admit, I know very little about European history, so I found it fascinating myself!  It also put a lot more relevance to where the names King James Bible and Jamestown came from!

So we read a lot about various explorers, and I remember learning and memorizing a bunch of facts about each explorer in 4th grade. I don't know that it really helped me in my life to memorize those facts, so I tried to just make sure the kids have heard of the explorers and the areas they explored, and we made the connection of where they came from and where they explored, to the influence that they had on the current languages spoken and culture of these areas today. We also talked about their motivation for exploration(gold, and looking for trade routes), their treatment of the Natives, and the spread of the gospel in to the New World.

We also found an iPad game called European Explorers: The Age of Discovery, which has them exploring "new" land and outfitting a fleet, and in the process, reading brief bios of various Captains that explored long ago.

This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrapup.