The following article has been written by Sandra Nardoni. It reflects her opinions and perceptions concerning her experiences using our curriculum. Her views do not necessarily represent the views of the author of the History Revealed curriculum. Thank you, Sandra for contributing these comments.
Hi! My name is Sandra and I offered to create this page as a help to parents who are transitioning from what Diana calls, the "interstate approach" to the "scenic route". I have used the scenic route approach for years, and at first, I attempted to do history with little more than a library card. This method worked okay for a while but I started to notice contradictions in the books I was checking out and found it nearly impossible to discover a book that was written from a Christian perspective. So, I started searching for a more reliable source to teach history and more importantly, a curriculum that tied all the amazing and miraculous works of God into what you might call a "typical" history timeline.
Ironically, I had some old tapes lying around that I had forgotten about (I had listened to them before homeschooling and loved them)—tapes I had bought second hand and stashed in my voluminous cabinet full of everything school related. I stumbled onto these tapes and stuck one in the player just for kicks, and suddenly realized the crazy lady that was passionately and humorously discussing "History Via the Scenic Route" had just what I needed. I looked for nearly a year before I finally found her curriculum and I've never looked back. We've been using the History Revealed curriculum ever since. In fact, it has been the one constant in my homeschool other than the Bible.
Diana's books have stuck with me because I believe the Holy Spirit inspired them. I don't speak lightly when I say her books have an anointing on them that gives a depth of meaning to studying history that I have never experienced before. All that to say, what you will see below is a description of what we do at our house using Diana's curriculum. This description cannot begin to convey what we learn each week, the conversations that are generated, the glimpses into my children's hearts that come about as a result of those conversations–but, I hope it will inspire you to give this scenic route approach a try.
We are currently using "Romans, Reformers and Revolutionaries" but this unit from "Ancient Civilizations and the Bible" was so much fun, we decided to give you the lessons plans I had for that unit, in spite of the fact that we are already beyond it in our studies. (It was one of my favorite units!)
Mom: Listen to CD lectures, read the article, decide which parts of the CDs to play for younger kids. Take notes for sections you want to re-tell to the more attention-challenged children.
Start the week playing a portion of the "Unwrapping the Pharaohs" DVD (or another movie about ancient Egypt) to build excitement. (I will often do this type of activity on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, prior to beginning a unit.)
Day 1—Read aloud from pp. 83-87 (through section on Joseph’s life) of the article. Let the kids draw while I read. Ezra reads the article again and takes notes on it. In the afternoon, all kids listen to tracks 1-2 of Digging Deeper, Great Pyramid, look at David Macaulay's book, "Pyramid", and discuss with mom. (I break up the reading into two sessions during the first week because I have one child who has a harder time listening.)
Day 2—Read/Re-tell the story of Joseph while kids draw about the story or build with Legos. Re-enact the story of Benjamin and the bags of grain using real bags of grain. Have kids help make Egyptian Pita bread after grinding the grain. Discuss the use of stones to grind grain—show youtube video of grain grinding. Grain Grinding Demonstration
Day 3—Read pp. 87-90 (Section on Moses) from the article. Ezra reads it to himself and takes notes. Spend the afternoon working on writing assignments.
Day 4—Read pp. 90-92 (Section on the Exodus) from the article. Ezra reads it to himself and takes notes. Read “Exodus” by Brian Wildsmith aloud. Continue working on writing assignments. Read from Chapter 13 in “Unwrapping the Pharaohs” about the archeological discovery that may support the Biblical story of the Israelite slavery and Exodus in Egypt. Discuss the implications of this finding, then, go on a “treasure hunt” to dig up our own “archeological discovery”. Use the book, “Archaeology for Kids” as a guide to describe how a real archaeologist would behave during a dig. (This takes some preparation. I dug a hole in our yard and dropped an old ammo box from the army into it filled with some everyday items [to show how most discoveries are common place objects, not “real” treasure] and some candy gold coins.)
Day 5—Ezra reads AIG article “The Ten Plagues of Egypt” All Kids—Finish writing assignments. Watch “The Ten Commandments” movie.
Throughout the Week–
Ezra: Read Chapter 6 of "Unwrapping the Pharaohs" and write a three paragraph summary, (Institute for Excellence in Writing style) about the chapter, due Friday.
Gabriel: Re-write the paragraphs from page 26 of the Elementary Activity book into a two paragraph summary (Institute for Excellence in Writing style) due Friday.
Rose: Memorize the silly song from page 31 of the Elementary Activity book and write one verse for copywork each day.
All Kids—Listen to mom read “The Cat of Bubastes”
Ezra and Gabriel—Research pulleys and levers and prepare an oral report. (They can choose to work together or individually.)
Rose—With mom’s help, research desert animal life—picking one animal in particular to focus on. Prepare an oral report about that animal OR about how desert animals may have affected the Israelites as they lived in the desert.
All—Listen to True Tales, Disc 2, track 5—Rosetta Stone
All—Sculpt the Great Pyramid from potter’s clay.
Make a “Rosetta Stone” using potter’s clay.
(The research week is more fluid, as we get the books we need, take notes and as each child has individual time with mom to write their report or report notes.)
Learn about current day Egypt and pray for specific needs there. What is it like to be a missionary in Egypt today? Have Egypt’s boundaries changed since ancient times? Make a map showing which nations contain the regions of Goshen and Midian.
Read and discuss Psalm 66
Learn about current day Egypt and pray for specific needs there. What is it like to be a missionary in Egypt today? Use Strongholds of the 10-40 Window by George Otis, Jr. and Operation World—The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation as the resources for this.
Read and discuss Psalm 78
Look at books with pictures of ancient Egyptian paintings and sketch a portrait of one another using this style.
Read and discuss Psalm 95
Examine Egyptian jewelry and make jewelry similar to the jewelry the Egyptians wore.
Read and discuss Psalm 136
Using Ezra and Gabriel’s report and books from the library, build lifts for kids’ lofts using pulley systems. (Note: The KIDS will build these—I just supervise!)
Read Hebrews 11:8-29 and discuss
Throughout the Week
Continue reading aloud from “The Cat of Bubastes”
Ezra—Re-read from Chapter 13 in “Unwrapping the Pharaohs” about the archeological discovery that may support the Biblical story of the Israelite slavery and Exodus in Egypt. Write a paper describing what has been discovered and why it supports the Biblical narrative.
Gabriel—Write a paper about the Great Sphinx, describing it using books from the library as sources.
Rose—Dictate a story about being the royal cat of an ancient Pharaoh.
All—Pray for the Middle East—Egypt in particular, daily.
Finish reading “The Cat of Bubastes”
Read “The Story of the Passover” and plan the Passover meal—make invitations for our guests.
Ezra—Compose a piece of music to accompany the song the Israelites sang after being delivered from the Red Sea
Gabriel—Create and perform a skit about Moses being late for dinner because of the burning bush
Rose—Create a puppet show about the life of Joseph
All—make “bricks” from potter’s clay and straw and build a small wall
Invite friends to join us for a Passover dinner to cap off the unit.
Note: Throughout the unit I am using the discussion questions in Diana’s books as a guide for rich conversation. This does two things—first, it gets the kids thinking on a deeper level and second, it helps me to know what they have learned. I’m not big into tests so I ask questions as we go along to make sure they are listening and understanding.