History For The Out of the Box Learner
I was cleaning the bathroom, when I heard my children giggling with delight.
Not just a little laughter – no, the sweet sound of two little boys, genuinely giggling and having fun together.
I smiled to myself. One of my favorite things in the world is that sound. I kept scrubbing (because bathrooms and boys…).
Eventually, it occurred to me that there was an awful lot of fun happening in the other room, and perhaps I should go and see what was causing such joy.
I was completely unprepared for what I saw.
I came around the corner and found them hurling frozen goods at each other. No joke – bags of frozen peas and one ill-fated tub of ice cream were everywhere. The walls were covered in melting ice cream. Defrosting meat was on my carpet. Cold little peas rolled around the floor.
I gasped, “What in the world are you doing?”
My oldest son, then nine-years-old, looked up at me and answered.
“We are re-enacting The Cold War. I am Russia and he is America.”
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History and My Boys
My sons have a great interest in real events and real people. Even from a very young age, they listened intently when someone referred to politics or a historic moment, later bringing up the information, as if every six-year-old casually refers to the Vietnam War.
Now, that six-year-old is thirteen and just starting eight grade.
And finding a history curriculum that actually works with his learning differences, and allows me involve his younger brother in our lessons, has been a challenge.
I had such great success with Bright Ideas Press last year, I decided to take a look at what they offer for history.
Y’all, I scored.
All American History is a program written by a homeschooling mom, who taught history while teaching her own for a total of 24 years. (I love real life experience. I trust real life experience.)
It’s as if someone sat down, asked me what I needed for my boys, and then hand crafted a curriculum just for us.
Here are the highlights of All American History –
The Teacher’s Guide
I have said it before and I will say it again. I need a plan, in order to have something to modify for my unique learners. I need a place to start, and then I can look determine what is appropriate and what isn’t for my boys. Starting from scratch makes everything more difficult for me. I am much better off when I can take someone else’s well thought out plan and make changes to suit our needs.
All American History includes comprehensive teachers guides with maps, instructions on how to include both younger and older learners, detailed instructions, timelines, and my favorite – detailed plans for hands on activities. This guide has given me more than enough to get started.
It’s Like Reading a Good Book
The student text is written through the lens of the people and cultural atmosphere surrounding historic events. As such, it reads like a great book. No boring dates and lists. History comes alive in a way that makes sense for my boys.
It Works for Multiple Age Groups
This is the part that I am most excited about! Every lesson can be modified to include my younger son. For example, when learning about the French and Indian War, one of the activities suggested is to build a fort and imagine what it would be like to be in it, during the war. Want to engage my ten-year-old boy in his brother’s history lesson? Tell him we are building a fort for it. Boom. Done. History lesson accomplished.
This is now a subject I am really looking forward to teaching (and learning more about) this year.
I am grateful to have found All American History. It is a genuine fit for my learners and their out of the box needs.
It also works well for their momma.
I’ll take all the help I can get.
I have chosen to partner with Bright Ideas Press this year because I am sincerely impressed with their products. As a partner, I have been compensated for my time spent writing this review, but please know, all thoughts and comments are my own.
Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned educational consultant, and mom of two brilliant boys who have learning differences and special needs.
Shawna has also written four books: Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos, and Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. A passionate advocate for individualized education, Shawna is frequently featured on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Mighty. She can also be found supporting parents online at her own site, DifferentByDesignLearning.com.