I have been using Story of the World as our history curriculum ever since I started homeschooling… about 8 years ago now! I absolutely love how comprehensive it is. At least half of the stuff in there is completely new to me, never even touched on by my own sub-par public school education!
Over the years, my teaching methods for SOTW have changed. When I first started with young elementary students, I basically just read the stories and they would color the coloring pages. As they approached older elementary, we added in more interactive experiments and map work and activities and field trips. Meandering into the middle school years, we add outlines and projects. But I still need to be able to teach it to all my kids at once (because who has time to do it individually!?!)
So here’s a look at how our SOTW lessons go now, with a 1st grader, 3rd grader, 5th grader, and 7th grader learning the same material simultaneously.
1. I start by giving them something to do.
For the younger kids, this is the corresponding coloring page in the activity book. For the middle kids, they look at & color the map and sometimes do the coloring page too. For the oldest kid(s), they fill out the test pages as I read.
2. I read 1/2 – 1 chapter out loud.
I get everyone at the table with their appropriate pages and I read. I often add or subtract information as the time allows, putting in personal anecdotes and adding my own knowledge to the lesson. If something comes up in the lesson, I often find myself opening up the nearby iPad to pull up a google image search to show them photos or Hagia Sophia or YouTube to show them a video tour of a castle. I use my white board to make lists and draw silly pictures. The kids help by making silly pictures and lists of their own! Something I have learned the hard way is not to be afraid of taking it slowly. I would rather cover the information in a fun, engaging way and take twice as long than to power through it and make it miserable.
3. We finish with something interactive.
I love to finish the lesson with some sort of craft, like the time we made a model of a real castle when we learned about knights, or dressing up in togas when we learned about ancient Rome. If there is something available nearby, we’ll hit a local museum (like the Civil War Museum in Tiffin, Ohio or Perry’s Monument which has a great museum about the War of 1812). We often watch an informational video from New Dimension Films on the way to these field trips to further the knowledge acquired.
Some other interactive activities that have been favorites over the years include recreating monuments or battles with play-doh, finger painting like the cave men on cardboard, and building the pyramids and King Minos’ maze out of Legos. The possibilities are really endless, all it takes is a simple google or Pinterest search about your topic, and you’ll find crafts galore!
Want to give Story of the World a try of your own?
I’m giving away a full set of coloring pages, activity pages, and test books from ALL FOUR Story of the World volumes!!! This has a value of over $100 so it can save your family some serious dough if you love SOTW like I do! Note that the giveaway does NOT include the textbooks themselves (though you can usually find them for $10 each on amazon, or used even cheaper, or possibly even free through your library!)
Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win– do you already use SOTW and you want more supplemental activities? Have you wanted to try it for a while but didn’t want to fork out the money for the extras? Drop me a note and tell me! I’ll choose a winner in 3 weeks (8/27)!