We still have nasty head colds but it seems like we are all much better. The weather hasn’t been conducive to doing much outside so we’ve been concentrating on school. I know the girls are ready to climb the walls but next week we’ll be in an area with a lot more to do and they won’t have as much school to do.
In my last blog post I wrote on our National Parks Service. It has been wonderful to have our girls attend lectures by NPS Rangers and to have them see firsthand areas of history, geography, and Science. Another tool we feel that is invaluable to their education on this trip is A History of US by Joy Hakim. We purposely brought the 10 volume set with us. Not only are they the core of our U.S. History course but we have referenced them again and again as we study the different places we have visited.
When our oldest was in 8th grade she was ready for a high school history credit. I decided to use Mrs. Hakim’s books. I was using a history textbook for the two younger girls. It was just ok and I found that I had to supplement it a lot either through additional books or the internet. Once when Jenna was sick, I helped her by reading A History of US aloud. The younger girls soon stopped what they were doing and came to sit with us. When I finished that day’s lesson, they asked me to keep reading! Mikayla was in 5th grade. Eva was in 1st grade. They asked so many questions and even mentioned it to their Dad that night at supper. I ditched the textbook right then and there and used A History of US for all three grades for the rest of the year and since.
Joy Hakim makes history come alive. She writes in a very conversational manner and presents history in a way that is memorable. It’s not watered down. It’s not white-washed or sugar-coated. It is, however, written in such a way that it appeals to and is understandable by all ages. Her books are entertaining and thought provoking. Instead of hiding from controversy, she presents all sides and then asks questions that make the reader decide for themselves. I highly—HIGHLY—recommend her books. If you love history, you will love and enjoy the books. If you’ve never liked history, you will come to love our history and long to learn more.
I’ll let you read about Joy and her books at the link below. You may have seen her PBS special.