Oh my word, there are as many ways to approach teaching history as there are dandelions in my yard.
My head is spinning. I've tackled the phonics curriculum and math curriculum decisions for right now and I guess I'll move on to thinking about history. I have time to read and think it over.
Some people take a classical 4-year cycle: ancients, medieval, renaissance/early modern, modern-present. You'd do a year for each time period and cycle through it three times over the course of the 1st-12th grade span. You go deeper each time.
Or you could do a six-year cycle.
Then there's the school of thought that the little kids don't need to deal with ancient history from the get-go. Do a sweep of world history perhaps, but focus on the modern-present era, namely American history while they are little.
BUT if I did a bunch of American and more modern history and then jumped back to ancients when Johnny was 4th or 5th grade, then my baby would then be starting out with the ancients.
That brings me to the question of whether to keep all children in your family studying the same time period, or put them on their own cycle?
Because yeah, if you're keeping them all together then what will that look like for child #2 and child #3?!
It's all well and good for the firstborn. I guess the second kid will jump in at the middle ages or something, but in theory hear some of the earlier stuff if they are in the room for read-alouds and discussions.
I made a chart of when my kids will all start their more formal learning. I based it on the local cutoff dates for K (must be age 5 by like August something). I also think I'd like them to be 18 at graduation, rather than 17. I was 17, but turned 18 a few weeks later which was fine. My December X2 and late September babies will have their birthdays mid-year or toward the beginning of the year.
So again, the grade label is pretty much for social purposes. Academics are done on a per-child level.
I color-coded the 4-year spans pretending we'll do a classical history cycle and starting over again with each color, to see how that might look.
So no pretty matchup, here. Johnny is 2 grade levels ahead of Vivie, and Vivie is 3 ahead of Amelia. Johnny is 5 grades ahead of Amelia.
If I wanna combine some kids, it would be easiest to combine either Johnny and Viv, or Viv and Millie, rather than trying to combine all 3.
Or, I could have Amelia join Johnny's cycle in kindergarten, and slide my little color-coded thing back a level. Then change up her focus in high school since she'll be by herself for 3 years (maybe she could do her 4 years of high school credits starting in 8th, and then pick her favorite periods to go in-depth in 12th?).
I think I prefer that vs. sliding Amelia forward one notch.
To me, the 4-year cycle and going chronologically makes sense, except I do wonder about those first 4 years. Does it even matter to a child at that age? One of the drawbacks of this is the availability of literature for the ancients for the 1st grade set. Sure, there are books like Usborne or Eyewitness varieties. But literature? Meh.
Plus, you have to consider the opportunity cost. If I'm doing ancients in 1st and medieval in 2nd, there perhaps won't be enough time to do some of the wonderful, age-appropriate read-alouds from the modern-present era. Or perhaps it will just need to be more limited. Can't do it all. Know what I mean? By following one path, I can't take another at the same time.
I could try to combine until the child hits 8th grade, and then have them do their own thing for high school. Yeah I think that makes sense. High school is a whole 'nother thing.
When I think back to my own education, I know we did state history in 4th grade. I cannot remember anything else from elementary "social studies." Probably American history, and I have no idea if world history was involved in any way. (Maybe it doesn't actually matter that much? The eras studied in elementary?) In middle school, it was "social studies" for 6th and 7th, and then 8th grade was "U.S. History."
In high school, I did world geography, a year of U.S. history, and a semester focusing on WW2 because I liked the teacher so much. I wanted to take world history, but the teacher who taught that class was pretty bad (I had him for something else) so I opted out.
(I took a break here and pulled up some pages from my old middle and high school, as well as Indiana state standards to see what I might have been taught).
....ok. So, I think no matter what I put together, it's going to be ok.
Anyway. There are a lot of ways to approach the sequence, and there are a lot of ways to approach how you even teach it in the first place.
Rather than try to answer the question, "what is the best way to teach history?" I'm going to look at "what is the best way for ME to teach history to MY kids."
I'm going to explore some ways to handle this with my 3 kids and I will report back.
I would love to hear any thoughts you might have on any of this.