Interest-led history lessons can benefit the learner and the teacher. Ask you kids what they would like to learn about, it may surprise you.
Although we'd planned to have Jaden study the Middle Ages this year, we've changed our mind (one of the benefits of homeschooling).
Last month we asked Jaden to write down a list of topics he'd like to learn more about. We'll be taking those topics and Jaden and his dad will come up with a plan of study for each one. There will be daily reading assignments and they'd discuss the week's work each Friday.
This is list Jaden came up with. (The list isn't complete, but it gives us a start for the year):
- Jewish history
- African history
- World War I & II
Jeff and Jaden decided to start with Jewish history, which would then segue into WWII. We're still in the midst of this topics, but here are the resources we've used so far.
- Exploring the World of the Jew by John Phillips. This excellent book was one of my husband's college textbooks, so we had it readily available on our bookshelf.
- Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, a PBS documentary. We watched this six-part series through our Netflix subscription.
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This Newbery award-winning book recounts the amazing escape of Jews from Denmark during WWII.
- The Yellow Star – The Moving Narrative Of A Boy Who Survived Auscwitz And Buchenwald, by Simcha Bunem Unsdorfer. This autobiography of the son of a well-know Czechoslovakian rabbi was also on our bookshelf already.
Here are some resources that we haven't used yet, but are planning to (at least most of them).
- Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. I checked this book out of the library several years ago and was very moved by the writing. The author interviews a large number of of adults who were children in the Hitler Youth during the war, and it changed my entire understanding of that horrible program.
- World War II: The Rest of the Story and How It Affects You Today, 1930 to September 11, 2001 by Richard J. Maybury. We've been reading through (and enjoying immensely) Maybury's Uncle Eric series, so this seemed like another excellent reference for Jaden to read in his study of WWII.
- The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. This is the true story of a non-Jewish family who is arrested and sent to concentration camps because they were hiding Jews in their home. A powerful story I read as a teenager.
- Schindler's List, the movie
- Ken Burns: The War. A documentary about WWII, available through Netflix.
- Time of Fear. A documentary about the Japanese-American interment camps in the U.S. during WWII. Available through Netflix.
- Civilization and the Jews by the History Channel. We'll be watching this thorugh Netflix.
- The Jewish People: A Story of Survival, a documentary by PBS, again planning to watch through Netflix.
- A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, another documentary we'll watch through Netflix.
- Into the Arms of Strangers, a documentary about the Kindertransport that saved thousands of Jewish children during WWII. Again, watching through Netflix.
- Nazi Medicine & The Cross and the Star. Both documentaries are offered through Netflix.
As you can see the interest-led history lessons will be great with a lot of resources to use from books to movies to docuentaries.
Do you have other suggestions for resources about Jewish history, WWI or WWII, African history, or Catholicism?