We began our formal romp through (world) history when oldest was in 2nd grade & dd#2 was in Kindergarten. Story of the World #1 (SOTW1 or “Ancients”) is geared for grades 1st-5th, so we started there.
I added the Activity Guide with its discussion questions, narrations, coloring pages, map work, and, as the title suggests, activities! While the maps didn’t really do much for dd#2 at the time, the story-telling way of learning history really did make an impression.
Fast forward to this year. Dd#2 is now in 4th grade and doing her “second round” of SOTW1. I had my doubts as to how much she would really remember from the first time through other than the double-handful of stories she brings up whenever something related pops up (like nomads, Dido‘s Cloak story, the story of how Alexander the Great got his horse Bucephalus, Bull Jumpers, etc.).
I’ve been really amazed at the connections she’s able to make (between civilizations or what actions certain groups take because of what happened to them previously), the deeper understanding of the Big Picture (both geographically & chronologically), and the literary references she’s run across in the past four years that stemmed from something that occurs during this time frame Her reading ability is obviously much better now, so she’s able to tackle books that I don’t have time to read aloud. This allows her to get more details of this time in history – whether it be non-fiction or historical fiction.
*in Best Infomercial Voice* But that’s not all!
I’ve also got dd#3 enjoying her first round of SOTW1 in 1st/2nd grade. She’s listening and asking questions, but mostly sits quietly coloring and soaking it all in. Her answers to the discussion questions run about 50% correct, but her narrations are much more succinct and summary-worthy than older sister’s. (Older sister wants to retell the whole story like Charlotte Mason-narrations. Susan Wise Bauer pushes for just-the-main-point type summaries in her narration style.) She enjoys history. That’s important to me.
. . . And what about the tag along that I mentioned in my post title? Well, he’s ds#1 – the five year old. He asks to have his own coloring page each afternoon that we do history. He sits quietly, coloring (with markers or crayons), and listening intently while I read aloud. Until I started calling on him specifically with the discussion questions, he would just yell out the answers (as sentence fragments). The girls were rather annoyed by this usurpation, so I now include him in the round-robin of questioning after we are done with each section in the book. Most of the time, he answers correctly and in complete sentences (modeling his sisters’ form).
How much is he really absorbing? Well, it is hard to tell how much he will retain long-term, but he volunteers information at dinner with DH about What He Learned in History. Another anecdotal story involves one of the history read alouds we did. We’d just read about Rome (Ch 28 – The Rise of Rome) a few days before. One of the sections was on Roman engineering (roads, aqueducts, indoor plumbing, etc.) and another was on gladiators. (What boy doesn’t like to hear about engineering or fighting?) While making our way through Time Warp Trio‘s “See You Later, Gladiator,” ds#1 kept interrupting to point out “We READ about THAT (the Via Appia)!” and then, “We just learned about aqueducts!” or “They are talking about net fighters!”