Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History

Welcome to Week #3 of the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair!

This week's theme: Exploring Our World

Our co-hosts are:

The Virtual Curriculum Fair (also known as the VCF) is a month-long blog Fair where every week, homeschool bloggers share their Homeschool Reality and the methods they use to teach their kids. Make sure you visit the other entries listed at the end of this post.

This year's schedule:

  1. January 5th---Playing with Words: the Language Arts---includes phonics, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, speech, literature, etc., etc., etc. Latin and foreign language studies could also go here.
  2. January 12th---Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science---includes anything to do with mathematics, mathematical thinking, numbers, arithmetic, symbolic logic, critical thinking, and math-y sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.).
  3. January 19th---Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science---includes history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc., etc., etc.
  4. January 26th---Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World---includes any of the arts, handicrafts, but really ANYTHING at all that adds beauty to your homeschool.

Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History

The problem with history textbooks is that the lives, loves, accomplishments, sacrifices, and influence of the people who shaped their future for us to live in is reduced to snippets and short paragraphs. The pain, glory, and joy seldom comes through the abridged and edited versions that have to be condensed to fit hundreds of years of history into a year of lesson plans. Firsthand accounts are interpreted and altered according to the bias of the editors, publishers, politics, and culture. 

But what if you and your students could see the faces and hear the voices of the past clearly without any rewrites or filtering, analyze the information, and form your own opinions?

Primary sources give us that clear view of the thoughts, feelings, inventions, and events that affected the lives of people from the past, and can still be seen today in our culture, government, and technology. Instead of memorizing facts about dates and places, students can gain a very real sense of what it was like to live during a particular time and in a different culture. 

But how do you organize source material and create lesson plans for history using primary sources? Delight-directed families still have to do some planning for their homeschool, but is more open and flexible to take advantage of the times when students minds are captured by a topic or idea, and they want to pursue it further. 

The first step is to create a course of study by:

  • Deciding on the subject - Ancient History, American History, Greek-Roman Empires, European History
  • Formulating learning goals - how to locate primary sources, research specific people and events, analyze information, think critically about how people and events shaped our world
  • Determining learning methods and activities - short reports and essays, journaling, mini-biographies, oral or PowerPoint presentation, role-playing and reenactment, field trips
  • Deciding on evaluation methods - quizzes and tests, research paper or final essay

Use these links as a starting place to find primary source material:

The use of primary sources is especially helpful if you want your children to develop critical and analytical skills. They must examine documents, photos, articles, and objects that sometimes have no context and may even contradict. They have to work with several sources to fit together the puzzle of history. Instead of making assumptions from a pool of 'common knowledge', students will find their preconceived notions being challenged. They aren't being handed observations and conclusions, so they must ask questions, consider several points of view, make inferences, and come to reasoned conclusions based on evidence.

It's never too early to start studying history in this manner - just adjust the topics and assignments to their ability level. You can teach several children of different ages as well, especially if you enjoy historical reenactments, role-playing, and field trips. 

The Every Day of Education Virtual Curriculum Fair posts:

Visit these VCF bloggers for more about social studies and science.

Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

History, Geography, and Worldview Lessons in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats

Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History Social Studies and Science...VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest

Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

2015 VCF Week 3:  Exploring Our World: Social Studies and More Science
If you have a homeschool blog post that fits with this week's theme, please link up and join us!  

This week's theme is Exploring Our World!