In 1964 my Uncle Ken was an actor in one of the first TV series of Dr Who. He played a captain in the French Revolution and he was trying to capture some counter revolutionaries who were hiding in a farmhouse outside Paris. He and his soldiers stormed the farmhouse and took the rebels prisoners, then they knocked out Dr Who. Under my uncle’s orders they torched the farmhouse leaving an unconscious Dr Who inside amongst the burning flames. Dr Who, the first doctor, barely escapes.
That series was called The Reign of Terror and it was fun historical fiction. Dr Who also took his child companions back to the times of Marco Polo, the Aztecs and the Stone Age during that season. Tangled in these historical events there was fantasy but one the original purposes of the show was to teach British children history.
In my home I act as a kind of Time Lord taking my children each year to a new time and place in history and I do that through the books found in my Big Picture Basket.
The Big Picture Basket
This basket holds more than just books; it’s another year’s worth of living literature for my youngest daughter.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m planning for kindy or high school – its all the same and it always starts with a basket of books. Turning that big picture basket into a workable, achievable homeschool plan is the next challenge.
This last week of my homeschool holidays I am going to do a blog series and show you how this big picture basket shapes a solid homeschool plan.
- Monday was about English
- Yesterday it was Science
- Today its the Humanities and Social Science
- Thursday: Arts
- Friday: Character
PS. If your wondering about math – It’s more of a tweet than a post. I use a textbook!
Planning For Humanities
Humanities is such an all encompassing subject. To study only historical facts and dates would not only be boring it wouldn’t help children to engage. However when the adventures of the times are fleshed out for children through historical narratives and fiction, children connect. That’s why so many of my book choices allow my children to absorb the ambience of the time and help them to be there metaphorically.
The humanities have always been my favourite subject. As we delve into the thinking of each era we study, we see the progression of thought through time. Literature set in that time (and written in that time if we are lucky) helps children to understand why people thought that way – it expands their perspective.
Chronologically approaching our studies ushers in new thoughts and new discoveries in context of what went before. Many of the choices I make are book choices that help visualise the people, significant events, the places they lived and the common thoughts of the time. And this literature also forms the backbone of my English curriculum.
When my kids were little I did most of the reading and we made simple notebooks that were often illustrations of history. We also started a book of centuries. Now that they are older I use their narrations to also work on their English skills.
Social Studies & Humanities Big Picture Basket
When you look in my Humanities Big Picture Basket you will find:
- civics and citizenship
This year (Year 10) I am focusing on modern history I have one main historical spine that they will do narrations from:
DK Millennium: 20th Century Day by Day – The Ultimate Chronicle of Our Time
My basket also holds these books. I hope that we will get through them all:
Historical Fiction and Biographies
- The Royal Diaries: Anastasia – The Last Grand Princess by Carolyn Meyer – Russia 1914
- Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan – Russian Revolution -1917
- The Great Gatsby by Scott F Fitzgerald – Roaring Twenties – Read Aloud and Book Study Term 1
- Eric Liddle: Something Greater than Gold by Janet& George Benge – 1902 to1945
- All is Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque – WWI classic – Read Aloud and Book Study Term 2
- Blue Willow by Doris Gates – Great Depression
I have a lot of WW2 books so I will let her 2 choose from the following
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Book Study Term 3
- Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier
- The Diary of Anne Frank
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
- Follow the Rabbit- Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington | Nugi Garmara
- The God Smuggler by Brother Andrew – Iron curtain during Cold War
- The Land I Lost by Huynh Quang Nhuong – Vietnam War
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Civil Rights – Book Study Term 4
- The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis – Afghanistan during the Taliban
- Nothing Else Matters by Patricia St John – Conflict in Lebanon in 1970s
- I Needed a Neighbour by Patricia St John – African refugee camp
Look out tomorrow for my what’s in my big picture basket for the art!