Tuesday, September 19, 2006

History is Cool

The middle boys learned about 1800's Great Britain last week in history. We read a chapter in the Story of the World book, then the 9 year old completed an outline worksheet and map while the 7 year old dictated a paragraph to me about what we read.

The British built the Crystal Palace. They held a big world fair in it. They wanted to show people how powerful they were.

Sounds good to me. They did some more reading about the Crystal Palace and we looked online for pictures. Here it is: Crystal Palace.

For fun, they built a paper model of the Crystal Palace. They were pretty happy with the result. I think it is a little silly, but it was fun anyway.

They also read about the Sepoy Mutiny in India. Here is the 7 year old's description:

The sepoys were Indian soldiers. They were unhappy because the British were making them do things that were against their religion. They started fighting but the British won.

Alrighty then. I am starting out slow with him because he is very resistant to telling me about what we have read. So right now he has to tell me three things (in sentence form)that we read about and we will go from there. My goal is at least five sentences on the topic that relate to each other. In other words, a complete paragraph. I am having to steer him pretty good to get him to tell me 3 things that are all related in the story. He has a tendency to focus on the minute details and not on the big picture, so we are working on that too.

This week they are learning about the 1800s in Japan. At this time the Japanese were very resistant to any outside influences so they were closed to all trade from foreign countries. My boys loved the mention of steamships mounted with cannons and guns coming from the US to "convince" Japan to trade coal and other things.

Japan didn't want to spread around the world. They just wanted to keep other people away. Japanese people didn't know what a steamship was. The President of the United States sent steamships to ask to trade. They wanted to trade coal and silk. The Japanese said yes because they were afraid they would get destroyed if they said no.

History is so cool.

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