Monday, February 25, 2008

Someone already thought of that!

I should have known. I’m not the only homeschooling mom who thought of using literature books instead of a textbook to teach history.

In fact, “my” brilliant idea of not using a textbook has long been in use. Rea C. Berg, a homeschooling mother of six who holds a Masters Degree in Children's Literature, has even published a series of History Through Literature study guides. What a great relief and tremendous help to me. So I won’t have to do the research after all!

Of course I didn’t know about this series and may not have discovered it, except that I shared my great and not-so-unique revelation with Nita. Yesterday she came over with US and World History Study Guide to show me the book that she is using. Wow, it was exactly what I had in mind! What a great relief and tremendous help. The books are not only picked out, but there are lists of suggested activities, questions (and I hope answers), and even relevant websites.

I ordered my copy today. And when I get it, I’ll get to buy even more books to go along with the study!!



Henry Cate said...

Another idea you might consider is having Jacob read several biographies. I think textbooks have a place for providing an overall understanding of history, but to really learn and enjoy history it helps to read biographies.

One of my favorites is "John Adams" by David McCullough.

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Thanks for the suggestion! I've copied it into my "to read" document for American History, which I'll be teaching next year.

Last night I ended up ordering several biographies by Albert Marrin. This year I'll have Jacob read "Stalin" and "Hitler" because we're studying Global History. I also found books on tape at the library, and since my son still doesn't like to read, I may opt to have him listen to a book as a break from actually reading it.

Anonymous said...

I agree. For history, reading original books is essential, for various reasons. One is that textbook authors have their own biases. Of course, authors of other history books do too, but you can choose the books individually and find the best on each subject, as well as reading multiple books on the same subjects.

Regarding "to read" documents, mine contains several hundred entries of books I'd like to read...

As for American history, I'm currently reading "The Roosevelt Myth" by John T. Flynn, and so far it's excellent, very readable and insightful. It was written in 1948 by a journalist who covered Roosevelt's administration as it progressed. He also uses a lot of published memoirs and documents from those close to Roosevelt, often quoting or referencing some cabinet member of another. I also have to recommend, of course, The Anti-Federalist Papers and The Federalist Papers, as essential for understanding the period surrounding the ratification of the Constitution, and thus all subsequent American history.

"The Creature from Jekyll Island" by Griffin is essential to understanding our modern economic system and its faults (of particular notability lately...).

Recently I finished "They Thought They Were Free" by Milton Mayer. It's about Nazi Germany, but in many ways it could be about America or any other country. It's about the people living under the Nazis and their experiences and opinions. The author visited Germany around 1950 and spent a year getting to know Germans who had lived under the Nazis. It was very readable and I could barely put it down. Seems like it would be a good complement to a biographical book about Hitler himself.

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Thanks for all those suggestions! I've copied them into my "to read" file.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)