When I decided to go with an all-in-one boxed curriculum this year, one of the concessions I made was history. Seton’s history books are okay, but not great, in my opinion. We used Seton for first grade history and that was kind of a mesh of American history/Catholic Americans’ stories. It was an interesting read for Alex, but a pretty cursory introduction to American history.
I continue to hold fast to the classical idea that history should be taught in a sequential manner beginning in ancient times. But creating that kind of a lesson plan can be daunting, and requires a lot of internet research and books. Luckily, only months before the beginning of second grade, I found the website Easy Peasy. This website began as one mom putting all of her children’s lessons online so they could work independently. It has morphed into a community effort at this point, and is a huge blessing for us. Her ‘curriculum’ is completely free and follows roughly the classical model of teaching history (and science).
We continue to use the second grade Seton history. Each chapter is a story about one country’s patron saint. I add in a few additional readings about the countries to flesh out some geography study. We only spend about one day a week on this book for about thirty minutes.
The bulk of our history is from Easy Peasy Ancient History. So far we have studied Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China. Here is a look at some of the hands-on activities included in these lesson plans.
Paper Pyramids from the Egypt lapbook activities
The Sphinx in Playdoh
A Playdoh minaret
And finally, cuneiform…in Playdoh
I do supplement the online stuff with library books or books we already own. Easy Peasy gives me the backbone of a lesson that I desperately need and cannot create myself. That allows me to include crafts and activities of my own and more in-depth readings if the boys have a particular interest. Alex has declared that history and science are his favorite subjects this year.
We are currently knee-deep in making the Ancient China lapbook. Finally, at seven years old, he is able to do most of the lapbook pieces on his own. We tried a few lapbooks for RE in Kindergarten, but that was mostly me putting it together for him. He does still love to look back at them even now, so they are worth the effort at a young age, if your child is so inclined.
So, anyway, a big shout out to Lee from Easy Peasy for sharing all of her hard work with the rest of us. It would be so awesome if I could make a sorts of Catholic and fully Classical Easy Peasy, but I know that is just not what I am called to do right now. If anyone knows about something like that already existing, send it my way. I would love to use it and volunteer my support.