Wednesday, August 31, 2011


History. In first grade we explored our way through pieces of American History by way of literature. Hannah also participated in a program called Artios where kids come together to learn about the arts in a classically designed historical context. Last year they studied Modern History by way of digging WWI trenches, participating in their own fireside chats and eating hard tack.

While part of me wanted to remain in that little house on the prairie, I've opted to leave what's comfortable and head back to the Ancients. The bulk of her studies will take place each Monday at Artios where her teachers will bring this time-period to life in all sorts of messy, art-intensive, experiential ways. Thank you teachers! Meanwhile, Hailey and I will make the most of these mornings doing all things toddler.

I've gathered a few additional resources to supplement. My aim at this age is exposure. I want to provide our girls with the greater context of our world and help them to identify their relatively small albeit not insignificant place within it. 

Story of the World  Volume 1: Ancient Times
We have the audio version as well as the book. I envision us listening to this together once or twice a week and using the book for reference.

Wallchart of World History
This is a great reference resource. It's the type of thing you pull out on a rainy afternoon (when the toddler is sound asleep) and follow the lines across the pages - beginning to connect the dots of all mankind.

The Getty Villa
We're fortunate to live within range of these amazing museums. I plan to take Hannah to the Villa midyear - once she has enough of a context to appreciate it. 

I've found with this sort of museum (paired with this age) that less is more. For instance, last year we visited the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Prior to our field trip we learned about Claude Monet in fun and hands-on ways. Obviously there was much more to see at the Getty (which we did) than a single artist's work. Still, when she spotted one of Monet's original haystacks, she was amazed! She was so taken in fact that she crossed the invisible line that prompted security to let us know we'd gone too far. We will try to temper our exuberance a bit more this time around. 

"The goal of the classical curriculum is multicultural in the true sense of the word: the student learns the proper place of his community, his state, and his country by seeing the broad sweep of history from its beginning and then fitting his own time and place into that great landscape."                                 

Susan Wise Bauer, The Well Trained Mind

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