History & Electives 2016

The year is 1715 and King Louis XIV of France has just died. The history book we are using this year truly begins at this point. The Story of Civilizaton: The Age of Voltaire by Will and Ariel Durant is a new venture for us. I got the set of them as free digital downloads. You should be able to access them through the link in the book title above. This one is Book 9 of 11. So far, the book has been interesting and easy to pull resources for. The language is a bit lofty since the book was written several decades ago, but I found it an excellent opportunity to broaden my girls’ vocabulary banks. There are numerous video options for some of the topics covered. Where the people are concerned, sites like bio.com and pbs.org are excellent places to glean more information and keep the girls involved in different ways.

Our electives were chosen based on a general desire to learn more about the topics and how they fit in with this book or our literature choices. Today, I’ll share the two that were chosen based on our history book. Below is a list of the subjects and the books I chose to use, along with any sources I thought were helpful.

  • LatinWheelock’s Latin 6th Edition – Workbook For Wheelock’s Latin 3rd Edition – www.wheelockslatin.com – Why the 6th edition and not the 7th edition? I already had this edition on hand and our budget demands thriftiness. Thankfully, with this particular subject, it’s OK for me to use this one. I was overjoyed to find out the website offered free downloadable lesson plans, tests and answer keys for teachers. I simply had to download the appropriate reader for them. This was easily done after I read the information about it on the Wheelock’s website. There are also free downloadable mp3 audio files for help with pronunciation!
  • Music AppreciationThe Classical Music Experience – This book alone would be enough to teach students of all ages an overview of classical music. There are two discs with the book which include short pieces of the compositions mentioned in the text. And to top it off, the book includes a code to the Naxos website which has more in-depth information on the composers, an online version of the book, many more musical compositions. So far, I’ve only found one con at Naxos. Some features are for paying members only. I did find one other resource that I am absolutely loving. Howard Goodall’s Story of Music is a BBC documentary series you can find on youTube. There are 6 long installments, but I believe they’re definitely worth your time. I’m also using the free Composer Study Listening Log worksheet from Harmony Fine Arts so the girls can keep track of what they listen to and if/how their perception of the music changes over time.


    Music = Life key chain I got from Hot Topic several years ago – photo by Melody Kittles & Pixlr

We are truly enjoying these choices so far. The one who struggles the most is probably our 6th grader who’d rather build replicas of the places and things we learn about than read about them any day. I’m trying to incorporate more hands-on projects for her to work on. She gave a poster presentation about medieval feasts today. This was a literature project but I fully expect she’ll enjoy doing this sort of thing for history, too.

“Give thanks to Adonai with the lyre, sing praises to Him with a ten-stringed harp.” -Psalm 33:2

Please join me next week and I’ll share our list of art and crafting projects for the year, as well as the links to some helpful sources you might enjoy. Thanks for stopping by!




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