HOW1 stands for History of the World and the 1 is the first of 4, making this Ancient History. It is a homeschool High School course by Konos that includes History (duh!), English and Art. Even though I’m feeling quite inadequate to teach this… I am. I’m actually quite enjoying it… so far so good. I have four students, all freshman, including my lovely daughter. We have only made it through the four week introduction at this point. Paleolithic… Neolithic…. AND next week is our first people group…. ooooooh.
Part of the reason I teach kids is because of the thrill of having them learn by doing. I’ve read studies that show children remember 10% of what they read after two weeks, 30% of what they see and hear, and 90% of what they say and do. I didn’t believe it seven years ago, but now I most certainly do.
My children have been taught at home with Konos curriculum unit studies for seven years, so they think nothing of me announcing, “Today we are taping our thumbs to our hands for the whole day,” or “Today the boys of the family will be blind and the girls will help them,” or “We will be spending four hours in the playhouse as if it were the Mayflower. Remember to bring rations,” or “Find the measuring tape, we’re marking off a runway at the park,” or “Make a medieval costume for yourself.” You get the idea. Not much rote book learning goes on here. They have created Olympic events with skateboards and jumpropes. They have floated out on a lake and taken soundings with their homemade equipment. They have climbed through a WW2 B-52 Bomber and toured a tower at Sky Harbor Airport. They have replicated every bodily function and noise with straws, balloons and tissue paper. (My boys LOVED the Systems of the Body unit.)
Back to HOW1, not all of these kids have done this type of learning. So last week I had them paint terracotta pots in some ancient art design. They were so careful and turned out the prettiest pots. Two days later I smashed them to bits and buried them in my backyard… for archaeological excavation, of course. When they figured out what I had done, the shocked looks on their faces today were priceless! I sent them out with brushes, dustpans, small hand tools and rubber gloves to excavate the flower beds. They whined a bit about the heat, and it was a mere 95 degrees today. I explained that in the regions we were studying it was hotter than Phoenix and those digging projects were years long… not 20 minutes. Not air conditioned. No breeze. Just you and the paintbrush, lots of dirt, old bones and pots. It’s not a pretty job, but some history-loving-nut has to do it. The kids did make it fun, as highschoolers are known to do.
I’m not sure which brought more joy to my heart, the initial looks on their faces when they discovered potsherds or the final looks of disbelief when I told them to take them home and glue them back together for next week’s class. Muuhuhuhhhaahahahahaha! Archeology ROCKS!