How I Teach Upside Down Children History


Last year we sorta unschooled history and geography.  No curriculum.  We started off our year off with a trip to New York City, cruised to Canada, trip to the Liberty Bell and back home.  From there the kids just though of stuff they wanted to learn and learned it. We used living books and Google to learn from and videos, live Drive Through History, to broaden our horizon. It worked.
With both older boys I’ve used a Charlotte Mason approach to teach History. I’ve used Beautiful Feet for many years and also have used the resources from History Heritage.
Small lessons. Living books. Notebooking.

This year I tried to used Early American History with the two younger ones and Robby was wanting to Study Ancient Greek History.   I really felt like it was not going well.

Let me pause for a moment.

Here is what I wanted my day to look like.

But really my day may look like this:
6:30-my alarm goes off.
Either my husband or I have already been up with babies hours before.
I attempt to get dress and 1 cup of coffee. And brace for kids.

6-8am emerge children. They can be happy or cheerful or I should back up.  I can simply ask for one to get dress or feed the cat-and we can spiral into a 30 screaming fit just because that task was just too much for that moment.
Just one thing not right -like vitamins not at the right moment-can throw them into a screaming and running through the house.

Even what they wear can be an issue.  Pants, socks and shoes are always an issues.

Other mornings-dress, chores, fed with out one melt down or concern. You don’t know.

I start school with two little ones. I’ve moved them to the kitchen tables things work better with the babies. Two working. Isaiah tapping his foot. AnnieQ screaming “stop it.”  Me- not sure what is wrong. Isaiah doesn’t know. I settle them down. Foot taps-screaming-Isaiah makes the connection-more foot tapping-more screaming. Momma calming them down again and more coffee.

This is now one subject. Me -moving them along. Math -science-lang arts.  Something will be bothering Isaiah.  His clothes are not right.  Too much noise.  My breath is too much for him.  AnnieQ can end up on the floor like a rag doll screaming about I don’t know what.

I turn grab another cup of coffee and then try it all again.  Robby is pretty much self guided (thank goodness!!!) but will come and ask questions when needed. So some subject my kids do better at than others.  Some they don’t.  The way I had history set up this year just didn’t work.  It was too much for them and too much for me.  So I moved to Alpha Omega for all three.  I could use Beautiful Feet with Robby-I have all the books and such.  But I went with easy for me.

Two weeks in and I have to say it is working well.  We can still use the shorter lessons for Isaiah, AnnieQ is thriving off the worksheets, and Robby says it is too easy for him so he is happy.  AnnieQ and Isaiah are starting out with learning about themselves  and families. Plus the 1st grade teacher book came with a lot of extra stuff for the kids to do-Isaiah likes the cutting instead of worksheets.  AnnieQ is not so great a cutting.    It was a good starting place for us.

BUT “history” for me doesn’t stop there.  I guess regardless if they were homeschooled or went to a school away from me I would think this was important to learning about our local history and our family history along with American and World History.

Like the other day Isaiah and I was driving back from the Doctors office and drove by this house.  He made me stop so he could take this picture.



This is one of the older homes in Huntsville.  I was talking to him about how the downtown area us to be the main area of Huntsville.  He wanted to know how lived there, who built the house, where did the family work.  I found out a bit through Facebook friends.

Family history is very important to me.  I want my kids to know where our family comes from. We have history of family who fought in the Civil War & WW2.  My great grand father designed the rose gardens for Mr Heresy.  I have a Great Aunt-Anna Keichline– who was a secret agent in the WW2 along with being the first women architect in Pennsylvania.  My great grand father was a sheriff, mayor and own early Ford dealerships.  It is important that my kids know this history too.  Learned through visiting and stories and seeing pictures.

Pictures are very important for my kids.  It is a visual thing.  Also being adopted they have a need to look more.

I am in day 4 of a 5 day series. Day 1 I  blogged about how I homeschool my upside down kids Language Arts. Day 2 was about Math. Day 3 was Science.

Check out these other homeschooling families and how they teach Language Arts.

Hopscotch with us January 13-17 as we share a round of posts detailing how exactly we teach within our specific niches.

Day 1: how I teach language arts
Day 2: how I teach math
Day 3: how I teach science
Day 4: how I teach history
Day 5: how I teach fine arts




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Old Books Enjoyed on New Technologies

If you have followed me or know me you know I love books. I especially love old books. But the old book I have are old and the more hands that are on them the more they are falling apart. So they sit on selves.

I do bring them out to show my kids, but I don’t let them handle them. I have books from the 1800’s, even a few earlier. I have the bible and catechism that my great, great grandmother used when she was a little girl. What is so neat about that is the words are still the same as the one the kids use today.

As I started homeschooling, I decided I would rather use fewer texted books and more living books. Now here is something else you should know about me. I believe in keeping up with times and how children/people learn. It is not the material that needs to be changed, but the way it is presented. Take the movie John Carter. I had no idea that Edgar Rice Burroughs, who I knew from Tarzan, wrote the book Princess of Mar’s which the movie was based on. He wrote Princess of Mars in 1912! That book was the stepping stone for many of the sci-fi movies that are out today. (PS-Kindle version of Princess of Mars at Amazon is free-click on book to get it!)

Robby right away wanted to read Princess of Mars-a strong story that stood the test of time. The invention of the Kindle and iPad and other related type of e-readers is bringing back older literature to a younger generation. Instead of me being fearful of the book falling apart while the children are looking and reading them, we can pull it up on a Kindle, or even my iPhone. Modern technologies advance us to the next level of gathering information at our finger tips. What use to fill a whole wall with books, now fills a kindle and fits in our hand.

For my birthday I got an iPad! It has opened up a whole new world for books.  Not only can I use the Kindle on it, but I also had books on iBook.  And the same day I heard rumors that Target had clearance their Kindles, so I went and got one for school.  The first book I bought for it, Princess of Mars!

I am honored to be partnering up with Heritage History. They have gathered that large library of pre 1926 books and put them together for you. I received in the mail my CD with over 80 books and I am excited to load them into the Kindle and use them this year!

I am excited to give away free one of their Curriculums to one of my readers!  Their Young Reader collection is perfect for the elementary student. Just enter below!


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To Boldly Write {A Birthday lesson on Gene Roddenberry}

August is a great birthday month! I mean I was born in it! In fact today is my birthday!:)

I am writing to honor Gene Roddenberry. We are huge Star Trek fans in this house so I loved the opportunity to learn more about Gene Roddenberry. As our kids are growing up, we are creating the next generation of trekkies. As I researched and read about Gene I really admired him as a writer beyond his time. When he saw TV for the first time, he was already writing for flying magazines and song lyrics. Writing was in his blood. He saw a vision that there would be a need for special writers for TV shows, but when he went to Hollywood, TV was not ready for writers with little experience like him. He did not give up on his dream. He got a job as a police officer and continued to write and keep his foot in the door of TV. Soon Star Trek was born and a whole new generation of TV began.

Gene Roddenberry

Interesting Facts about His Life

  • Born August 19, 1921
  • Died October 24, 1991
  • A year after he died his ashes were sent into space on the Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • Nickname “Great bird of the Galaxy”
  • He studied to be a police officer
  • He flew with the US army air corps.
  • He wrote and sold storied to flying magazines
  • He wrote lyrics to a song “I wanna go home”
  • In 1964 he wrote and produced the TV show “The Lieutenant”
  • We was a police officer till 1966 when Star Trek took off.
  • He has had two wives and three children
  • From his Star Trek there are 7 TV shows and 10 movies (which we have seen almost all)
  • He was not a Christian
  • He loved to write and tell stories
  • Star Trek became a huge success and all kinds of people followed it, even though some thought he was crazy for suggesting a space show for adults. Back then space shows where normally for kids.
  • His family life had issues, whose doesn’t.

To Boldly Write

As I read and learned more about Gene Roddenberry I thought what about him do I want my 10-year-old to learn about. It would be his love for writing which began his passion for Star Trek. When you produce a TV series, you must have a vision and love for writing and creating. My son is just getting into writing. For a long time he didn’t want to write.
So I created this writing exercise: To Boldly Write . Robby loves to look things up. So I made it so he could look information up and write it down. Some questions he said were too hard for him, and he is still thinking of what his Star Trek TV Series would be. You can adapt it as you see fit for your child. Also a good blogger friend over a Milk and Cookies did a fun July Birthday post of Sir Patrick Stewart. (She is also a fellow Trekkie)
In this August Birthday Blog Hop, iHomeschool Network has worked in partnership with Knowledge Box Central. They have offered to give one free ebook to a winner from many of our August birthday lessons, so make sure your visit the other great write ups on some other great people!
Since Gene Roddenberry set his eyes on space, and since I live in Alabama where we drive by the Space and Rocket Center often, I found it perfect to choose Alabama History Lapbook. One lucky winner can win a lapbook on Alabama history, just in time for school!

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Advent and Christmas Homeschooling Ideas through History

I have been trying to find homeschooling lessons for advent and Christmas!  Sure enough my trusty history resource web had a page all set up!  Homeschooling in the Woods has the most amazing hands on history resources I have seen!  We are in the process of their Civil War Unit!

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Discovery Columbus’ Ships……

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Captain’s Journals

We are exploring Explorers!  It is awesome to learn about these people!  We are using material from  Homeschool in the Woods called New World Explorers.  It is a very hands on history curriculum using living books, projects and lapbooks.  Robby had to make a captain’s Journal.  So one day we dyed paper with my left over coffee for that day.  Then we burned the edges to give it an old look.  (ok so it got a little too burned)   Then we stitched it together.  Robby watched the first few, then took over.
Now as we go exploring he is the captain and records his journeys!

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American History

How and what order to teach history always seems to be a big topic of discussion.  Do you start at the beginning and work you way to today?  I decided that I was not going to do that.  So far we focused on American history in K and 1st grade.  Then Geography last year.  So this year I decided to do American History again.  I think that it is important we teach our kids the values our country had when it first began and train them to be strong Christian citizens.   And I also think as Robby get older he can better understand the earlier years of our world.
And I knew just what I was going to use.  I had seen these hand’s on lessons for two years now, drooling over them, but waiting cause Robby needed to be older to do these.  Homeschool in the Woods has this most awesome series called the Time Traveler Series.  We are doing The New World Explorers unit right now.
So far Robby has learned about explorers and why they explore.  Reviewed the world map with continents and oceans.  Has looked at life of a sailer on a boat.  Eaten beef jerky (we were suppose to make some…maybe that will still happen).  He is learning how to make some knots.  We are going to make a captains log, we have the paper ready (made it look old with left over coffee).  We have talked about flags and how important flags were in identifying ships.  Today we looked at ships and names all the parts.  Robby is going to make his own ship out of a big box.  I told him he also has to make his sail using an old sheet.  We have vocab and sea says we will learn.  And starting in a few weeks we will be looking at many explorers, creating a newspaper about each one.   And we will be talking about pirates!!!  So I though the Pirates of the Caribbean would be good to watch!
When we are done we will have a lapbook to put together and at the end of this study we will have an explorer party and invite some friends over!

Explorers Flags
Robby’s Flag

After this is done we are going to do

  • Colonial Life
  • American Revolution
  • The Early 19th Century
  • The Civil War
  • The Industrial Revolution to the Great Depression 

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