Thursday, February 3

Play Full History Lessons

We were given an activity book for The Story of the World: Volume One by Susan Wise Bauer and I began to look through it.  It looked interesting to me and I put it aside thinking we might do some in the fall, but Mr. 4 found it.  He looked through the work pages; fascinated by the maps he asked when we could start.  So I ordered the actual book and we began this week.  We are flying through (I was thinking one chapter a week max, but this boy is begging for history lessons - and hey, its fun!)  

I'm posting the following to help me document what we are doing and to share the playful nature of these history lessons, which I really appreciated.  But, no worries, I'm not going to bore you with our history lessons each week.  But, just this once indulge me and read along.

We began with a godly play of creation (as you can see, not with the typical godly play creation cards - I've made the cards from foam board, but prefer using figures that can be played with - the boys have such fun this way).  I've been doing our godly play and figure stories (we do a lot of fairy and folk tales) at the table recently. That way Rowan can watch and listen, enjoy a snack, and be kept at arms length while I tell the story.  


The second day we began the actual book, it begins with the first people living as nomads.  Oh, it was such fun.  We did the lesson and then I scattered wooden acorns and eggs, toy lizards and deer, a few leaves, and a jar of honey around the house.  We would 'camp' in one room while we gathered the food into Jonah's 'game pack' and had a few nighttime sleeps.  When we could find no more we would move on and set up camp somewhere else in the house.  Let me just say it was a hit, we played for a couple hours and even moved outside for some more.   My favorite part was seeing Rowan play along, pretending to eat the wooden eggs we 'cooked' on our fire, finding things, going night-night with us (sometimes) and loving the tent!
 The second day was the second half of the first chapter.  It was on how some nomads eventually became farmers.  We learned about the fertile crescent and Jonah LOVED coloring the map.  We then played.  I had laid blue blankets out to be the river and we dug canals, planted felt seeds (which miraculously grew into plants and gave fruit), we ate horse meat, began to cultivate goats and sheep, sang "Oats and Beans and Barley Grow" and "Seeds for my Garden" (Jack Grunsky) and built a house with our couch and chairs.  We played for a long time and Daddy had to be taught the game again when he arrived home.

Day four we made a shaduf (to go with the lesson above).  It was messy, but it worked watering the tea towel with water from the sink.  We finished the Egypt chapter today and I'm pretty sure Jonah will expect to do the next chapter tomorrow.  He has run down from his 'rest time' all week asking if it is time to do history yet.

This is the only 'work' we are intentionally doing right now, but we are covering some geography, art, earth science, time sequencing, and Bible in amongst these simple lessons.  It amazes me how little I am putting into these lessons and how much Jonah is getting out of them.  More than just what he is learning, he just seems fuller, happier and generally more content the last few days and I really think having this time and something new and interesting to learn about is filling him.  And I'm finding that it is easier for me to play when there is a little more guidance for the imaginings.  There was no shortage of creative ideas for our nomad play (let me tell you, there were some mighty ferocious wild cats everywhere!), but still having some general structure helped us all to be in the same world (I get lost in Jonah's worlds sometimes which he finds very frustrating - and I really do try).

6 comments:

Plain and Joyful Living said...

How great! I was thinking of getting back into these series with my children and you have inspired me.
Warm wishes, Tonya

elizabeth said...

this is so wonderful!
my kiddos are a little older than yours - but what a fun way to teach the stories! i know mine would enjoy this, too!

Sue said...

Holy Macaroni! This is awesome. You are awesome!!

Deb Chitwood said...

I always love your Godly Play posts and the creativity you use in adapting Godly Play at home, Emily! You've probably noticed you're an important part of my Godly Play posts: http://livingmontessorinow.com/tag/godly-play/.

I'm wondering if I could have your permission to use some or any of your photos in the future with credit to you, a link to your post, and a comment letting you know when I've used a photo. Here's a post I wrote requesting similar permissions: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/06/15/request-for-montessori-photo-permissions/. Please let me know if I could have permission to use your photos. Thanks so much for your beautiful contributions to Godly Play! Deb @ Living Montessori Now

Watkins said...

Deb,
I'm not sure how I missed this comment. Sorry. You are very welcome to use images with credit. I've enjoyed your godly play posts and hope you write more one the subject. It is fun to see the many ways godly play is used at home.

Deb Chitwood said...

Thank you SO MUCH, Emily! I absolutely LOVE your blog! Your photos are beautiful, and I'm so impressed with the way you've made Godly Play a part of your home life. I'll be sure to credit you, link to your post, and leave a comment on your post whenever I use a photo of yours. I'll definitely continue to publish articles on Godly Play at home! Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com