Friday, June 1, 2012

Diana Waring's History Revealed, Vol. 1 (Ancient Civilizations and the Bible)

Two years ago I was fortuitous enough to win this entire curriculum in a very random way. I'm grateful for my high school typing class and journalism experience which conditioned me to type wicked fast. As a result, we used Ancient Civilizations this year which covers Creation to Christ.

There are many good things about this curriculum. It's organized into monthly topics, weekly skills and daily assignments. Coming off a year where we studied 1800s American History using library books, websites, documentaries and other freebies, this was a nice change of pace. Though very well organized, some may find it overwhelming, especially if you are the type that simply must complete everything. I think that would take 5 years. For me, I looked at the information as a buffet and was able to lay a great foundation for ancient history and Middle East geography for my children.
There are 9 chapters in the book which each take a month to complete, working nicely with a 36 week school year. Mrs. Waring's philosophy is that all children learn in different ways. In an attempt to hit the most popular of these areas, each week of the month approaches the topic from a different style. Although her method is far more in-depth, here was our monthly schedule doing history three hours a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday):
Week 1: Listening
I would read the key concept article to my children, usually over the three days. Interspersed, I would have them listen to the corresponding CD tracks. The stories and information contained in these were wonderful, but usually way over the heads of my 5 and 7 year old, and often my 10 year old. My 12 year old got a lot out of them, though. Even the key article was written at a fairly high level. The students are actually supposed to read this article themselves (it is found in the student workbook), but I often found myself paraphrasing so all the children would understand.
Week 2: Research and Reporting
I'm a naughty mom. I don't follow curriculum very well. This week is the perfect case in point. So this is what I did:
Monday: Timeline
Wednesday: Mapping
Friday: Watch documentary
I want to address the timeline pages provided in the student workbook. More than once, the dates provided were so vast that the events we included were clumped into a small area. This drove me buggy. After that, I would look carefully at the events we were recording, look at the first and last year, white out the provided dates and replace them with our own so there was more room to write. I'm including a photo of both situations here, and as a bonus, you get to see how cute my 10 year old's handwriting is.

 
As you see, all the information is to one
side of the timeline.


Here I wrote in the dates and we were able to
create a well-spaced timeline.
The documentaries were usually something I found during snack time ten minutes before we were to start history. I would go to PBS.org or do a google search with "documentary" and the month's topic. We watched some very cool films this way. If you have Netflix, you probably have access to even better stuff. One awesome resource was "Drive Through History: Greece and Rome" during units 7 (Ancient Greece) and 8 (Roman Empire). Dave Stott gives absolutely wonderful information that dovetails perfectly with what we were learning. As a bonus, he's absolutely hilarious. My children love to watch his videos (which our DVR is set to record any time it's on) and learn a great deal from him.

Week 3: Hands-On
I am not an artist. I know some artists, but unfortunately none of their giftings have ever brushed off on me. This week I would pull up examples of art and architecture (found on museum websites), connect my flat screen to my laptop, and do a slide show. It was fabulous! We would discuss the style and techniques and just have a lot of fun with it. Then I'd have the kids do an art project either immitating a piece of art or style. We made our own dough to do bas relief carvings which was lots of fun, but now beat me if I know what to do with the proliferation of bas reliefs. They'll probably end up being thrown out. They were camped on my kitchen counter for over a month while I was mentally frozen over making a decision of where to put them. I love my children, but displaying their attempt at art is not on my radar screen.
In Unit 1 we built a scale model of Noah's ark using Legos. Needless to say, I didn't have to rangle my boys to "work on history" that week!
Another very cool thing we did was make mosaics. My ever-resourceful husband picked up tons of old tile samples at a local store. The bigger ones I put in a bag and launched over our balcony onto the cement floor of our basement to make every shape imaginable. Then we used the gigantic tiles, flipped over, as the base and the kids glued the smaller tile on top to create pictures. I pulled up examples of Roman mosaic art for the children to examine. Now I have about 7 mosiacs on my kitchen counter with nowhere to put them, but the experience was invaluable!

Believe me when I tell you this is a tree and the sky.

An obvious sea creature. You can clearly see my "over
the balcony" handiwork here.
Week 4: Expression
Here, Mrs. Waring provides you with a plethora of ways your child can express what they have learned. We wrote plays (Ancient Egypt), read books, wrote acrostic poems, news stories, you name it. The beauty of teaching to a multi-age group is that when you get here, you can assign different lengths, difficulties, etc.

So here's the bottom line: We probably did only 30% of what is actually in the book, and we still did tons of worthwhile activity and learned a tremendous amount. I would recommend this curriculum for it's variety of choices, organization and Biblical world view. I would simply say that if you use it, don't feel overwhelmed; tweak it to work for you. A curriculum is not set in stone. It's a tool for you to use as you see fit. Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. This post was so helpful! I'm gearing up to start RRR, and I love your explanation of how you made the curriculum work for your family. Thanks!

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  2. Yes, thank you for sharing how your family is using History Revealed! I am new to it, and will be starting with RRR as well. Can't wait to read more about this!

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