We are starting the four-year cycle for both history and science this year. The four-year cycle method of teaching history and science is central to classical homeschooling and has been made popular by The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.
The idea is to teach history from the beginning. That means starting with ancient history and then studying the middle ages, early modern history, and modern history in subsequent years. Students who begin the cycle in first grade will be able to repeat it three times by graduation. Each cycle allows students to learn the material in greater depth. Science is divided into life science, earth science and astronomy, chemistry, and physics. The sciences correspond with history by order of discovery.
Ancient History < > Life Science
Middle Ages < > Earth Science & Astronomy
Early Modern < > Chemistry
Modern & Today < > Physics
There are many ways to execute the four-year cycles. For history, we are using History Odyssey: Ancients, Level 1 by Pandia Press as a guide. Our text spine is an older version of Usborne: Ancient World by Fiona Chandler. (The various versions are pretty much all the same.) While we are not using The Story of the World: Ancient Times text by Susan Wise Bauer, we are using some activities and literature suggestions from a copy of The Story of the World activity guide that was gifted to me. We are also using as many picture books and DVDs as I can find from the St. Louis County Library. While we do not live in St. Louis, we pay $50 a year to use this wonderful resource. A steal for sure!
Most weeks, Tessa will study history Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. My goal is to post what we do each week here on my Blue House School blog. Here we go!
- Completed "What is History?" history pocket according to HO, Lesson 1.
- Looked up and defined HO dictionary word for Lesson 1.
- Read Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke and Jodie's Hanukkah Dig by Anna Levine.
- Completed draw and color.
- Played Caillou the Paleontologist online game by PBS Kids. - Not archaeology, but Tessa still enjoyed it. I made sure I explained the difference.
|After reading "Archaeologists Dig for Clues," Tessa drew an awl (ancient sewing needle) and a bone for this week's draw and color.|
- Completed mini archaeological dig adapted from "A Dirty Dig" from the SOTW activity guide.
- Watched The Magic School Bus: Super Sports Fun DVD (Shows and Tells episode) by Scholastic from Netflix.
- Read Fancy Nancy: My Family History by Jane O'Connor.
- Completed "All About Me: Family Tree" worksheet from TeacherFileBox.com.
Other Books of Interest
- The Magic School Bus Shows And Tells: A Book About Archaeology - Joanna Cole
- Me and My Family Tree - Joan Sweene
- Bill Nye the Science Guy: Archaeology DVD - Disney (Unfortunately, I didn't have this DVD in time for this week's lessons. Tessa has since watched it. It's better than the Magic School Bus one. I would have shown both...this one on Tuesday.)
* HO = History Odyssey, SOTW = The Story of the World
Mini Archaeological Dig
For our mini dig, I bought a disposable lasagna pan, a small bag of play sand, and a Playmobil cave woman figure, baby and accessories for a cost of about $10 total. The rest of the supplies I gathered from around the house.
It was raining the day of our dig, so we conducted it on the front porch. Not ideal, but it worked well enough. First, Tessa and I set up a grid across our dig site using pencils, tape and jute. Next, Tessa dug with a sturdy plastic spoon and sifted the excess sand into a bucket. As Tessa discovered artifacts, she charted, bagged and labeled her finds accordingly. After the dig, we completed artifact log sheets inside.
|Tessa discovered her first artifact in quadrant C2. She carefully charted, bagged and labeled the find.|
|Tessa marked her second find on the artifact log dig site diagram.|
|She later predicted it to be an ancient bowl!|
|Tessa was disappointed she didn't find anything new in this quadrant. I explained that archaeologists often dig for days or weeks before making even one small discovery.|
|Tessa enjoyed brushing away sand from the artifacts...even more than digging, I think.|
|Tessa found five artifacts during our dig. After careful examination and a little creative thinking, she correctly determined they were a spoon, cup, baby carrier, fork and bowl.|
|Even pint-sized archaeologists keep meticulous records. Tessa recorded each artifact's quadrant number, description and predicted use. She also drew a picture of each item.|
Our mini dig was a huge success, yet I somehow managed not to capture one smile on film. Tessa says she wants to be an archaeologist when she grows up. Sounds good! I'm pretty sure I didn't even know what an archaeologist was at age five.
Download Archaeological Dig Artifact Log.