Friday, November 9, 2007


And this should end my curriculum posts. Right? If not, let's just pretend like it does, 'kay?

We own our history book...used of course ;-) because our library didn't have it and I knew for sure this is what I wanted for history this year. Last year, J.T. focused on ancient history...mostly roman times. This year, I wanted to do some American history. But real American history, not the stuff they teach in public schools.

The book we're using is A People's History of the United States of America by Howard Zinn. I use the abridged teaching edition.

This is actually a book that is used mostly in college classrooms, but I find that it's quite easy to teach from. I don't mean that J.T. is some amazing whiz kid at history, we just read each chapter together and it's not hard to understand. Now...the questions at the end of the chapter are a bit advanced so I pick and choose there and/or just do my own comprehension questions.

Zinn tries, with his book, to present history from a real person's POV rather than the leaders and heroes that other books generally focus on. Such as talking about the cultures Columbus destroyed rather than his "heroic" exploits.

With J.T.'s vacation break, we haven't gotten very far into the book yet, but already J.T. was disgusted with Columbus Day talk this year ;-)

I don't want to necessarily teach against everyone who is generally considered an American icon, or try to show that general American history knowledge is completely wrong (because not all of it is) but I do want J.T. to realize that when progress happens it's generally at the expense of someone or something...and to be aware of those affected negatively as well as being aware of positive results.

It's a pretty intense book and I haven't figured out yet if we'll complete it this year, but it is a very interesting book to delve into...even to just read for your own knowledge if not teaching from it. I also like that there are gobs of other programs, movies and books to compare and contrast with.

I think with History that pretty much sums up what we're using for curriculum this year. There is so much learning that J.T. does just on his own and not as "official" school stuff...I just have to get better at recognizing it in a way that the school board can understand.


Frances said...

Sounds like you learn a lot while you are teaching.
The book sounds fascinating.
Thanks for sharing,

Callista said...

Welcome to SheWhoBlogs!

I had fun reading all your curriculm posts. I'm just starting with basic homeschooling for my toddler.

RedMolly said...

Wow... I love Howard Zinn and had never even thought about using People's History as a history text. But thinking about it, I know my eight-year-old would love it! Thanks for the inspiration.

(I stumbled across your blog via COD's blog... hello there!)