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Too much information

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:51 am
by Jenn
OK, this is my problem. There is just too much information out there and my brain goes into overload and I just give up.

Since I have only very limited resources here in the ME, I have to rely on the Internet. I have followed many of the links found on this web site as well as found many of my own, but I don't even know what to do, or how to present the information. I find lesson plans, but can not access the books or activities or can not find the supplies to do most of the projects.....

How do you do this? Right now, I have my son sitting on the Internet playing the Map game (placing the states in their correct place on the map) while I look up information on the US. Would it be easier to start with individual states and skip the whole discovery of America? Shall I go right into WW II since we will be visiting Hiroshima in October? I just feel very overwhelmed and extremely under qualified to be doing this.

Any ideas?

Thanks~ Jenn
American in the Middle East

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:10 am
by Theodore
Honestly, I think America's overall history as a nation is way more important than learning about the individual states. You should be able to place all the states on the map, and you need to know your own state's history (assuming you live in the US), but there's no point getting overly caught up in minutiae.

Yes, I do think that visiting Hiroshima would be a good time to start learning about WW2 :) Just keep in mind that firebombings from regular bombs killed more people than the nukes did, and on purpose, while the nukes were targeted at Hiroshima and Nagasaki because those were Japan's primary industrial bases. Everyone focuses on the nukes and ignores the firebombings, when it should really be the other way around.

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:46 pm
by Melenie
I agree, the discover of US and the history behind that is more important than individual states.
A good way to keep things straight and see how they all fit in to each other is to do a time line and as you visit places or find info that you want to teach you and your child are able to fit it into a time line in history.
Your visit to Hiroshima is a great opportunity to introduce WWII!!

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:23 pm
by Morgan
Depending on the age of your son, some type of U.S. History would be great at this point, I think. I am in the process of completing a 9th/10th grade level U.S. History textbook, The Americans, and it is a great book which is perfect for children who already know the basics of United States History (such as the bare facts about discovery, development, etc. of early America.) It is in chronological order, and it features time lines at the beginnings of every chapter. It is labeled for grade levels 9-11, and it features both Early U.S. History (discovery of America-1850s) and Late U.S. History (1860s-present). You can find it on Amazon/eBay, and it also has a website featuring chapter crosswords and quizzes to go right along with the content of the textbook. I am very happy with it so far, and I am nearly finished. The latest 2007 version of the textbook has accurate, adequate information and it features atlases, glossaries, indexes, and such in the back of the book.

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:26 am
by Jenn
Theodore wrote:Yes, I do think that visiting Hiroshima would be a good time to start learning about WW2 :) Just keep in mind that firebombings from regular bombs killed more people than the nukes did, and on purpose, while the nukes were targeted at Hiroshima and Nagasaki because those were Japan's primary industrial bases. Everyone focuses on the nukes and ignores the firebombings, when it should really be the other way around.

Thank you for pointing this out. You are right, I was just thinking about the Nukes. I should know better. My grandfather was part of the air strike....

I am still feeling very overwhelmed by all the information out there. I am mainly concerned about getting my 5th grader into history right now, as my other 2 are only 5 and 6 years old. The two little ones do love looking at the state flags and coloring them, but that is the extent of their attention span to this sort of thing.

Thank you for your input everyone.


Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:12 am
by phiferan
[color=indigo]I know about The Americans text book that Morgan was speaking about. It is by McDougal Littell and you can find them and order from their web site My son has used their texts for years and loves them. They have Social Studies texts for middle school and high school level, and they have a more multi-ethnic view of American History, covering European descendants, African Descendents and Indian Americans, as well as ethnic groups that immigrated to the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s – eastern European, Asian, Latino, etc. And, there are many color photos and color diagrams on every page (even for the high school level). Nevertheless, their World History text is not hostile to Christianity, as it uses the terms A.D. and B.C. and it discusses Christian heroes like Martin Luther (Lutheran Church), the Christian protestant movement and historic American Christian revival movements. Nevertheless, because the book is really written for public schools, homeschool teachers cannot get the answer keys without being a certified teacher, but for History, you don’t really need them (you just read the text and the “answersâ€

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:42 pm
by StellarStory
I find this sort of thing to be dry and boring to be honest. I just can't get into it unless, it's part of a historical novel or movie and sometimes not even then.

I've gotten a couple of books one called Let Authors Speak that lists historical novels by time periods and also by author has been useful.

Another, I just got lists movies by time period but I noticed that All's Quiet on The Western Front isn't listed at all in the WW1 Section. That makes me doubt the whole publication and the POV of the people who put it together.

I would never leave that movie or book out. Why would anyone do that? Is it because the narrator is a German solder? If so that is sad because it tells a universal story that needs to be experienced.

I do like those PBS House shows. Or the warrior one's they used to have.
They did a Colonial House, which really was a village. It's fascinating how those people worked so very hard just to survive. It's good for us to see IMO. Also, it showed how far from the concept of "freedom of religion" our modern view and theirs were.

There were other "house" shows on PBS such as, Frontier House, which again, was more of a community than a single house.

There were British ones too. 1900 house and Manor house were also good for their time periods IMO. I always pity the kids being dragged into such drudgery. I'm not sure that's okay with me.

I tend to find ancient history far more interesting than "modern" history.

Reenactments and historical museums can be good for this too. I need to be able to explore not memorize rote facts.

Books like Lies My Teacher Told Me can be good if a bit pedantic. It tells what most history books have said about a historical event or time period, why the author think it is wrong and how or why it got written that way. I find that somewhat interesting even if the author is a bit snotty about the whole thing.

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:31 pm
by milehimom
My children and I just read a wonderful historical fiction set in the Revolutionary War era called My Brother Sam is Dead by Collier and Collier. I have a 5th, 3rd and 2nd grader. I was absolutely shocked at how much knowledge my 2nd grader even gleaned from this book. It is a higher level book (7th/8th grade). I read it aloud and stopped a lot and explained or restated things. We kept a chart to keep track of all the different names for both sides of the war ( Tories, Whigs, Lobsterbacks, Minutement, etc.).

By the end of the book, the kid really had a solid udnertsanding of the position of each side AND that choosing sides for the colonists was not a black-and-white choice. In additinon, we watched the Disney movie Johnny Tremain. Both the book and movie were so informative and exciting that it really piqued their interest so that they LOVED learning about the early colonies and the events that lead to the American Revolution. A trip to DC to see the Declaration and Constitution really sealed their interest. It was not a Boring study at all at our house!