Tuesday, November 27, 2007

World War 1 Homeschool Study

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

November 11th was once called Armistice Day, but after WWII it became known as Veteran's Day.

We covered World War I the past two weeks. What an intense, exciting at times, complicated, demoralizing decade to study. I never knew much about “The Great War”. Learning with our children is the best part of homeschooling.

 When you study WWI, you can’t help but be sobered by how much this war still affects and sometimes complicates our world today. Serbs, Croations, Bosnians, Turks, Kurds, Iraq (previously part of the Ottomon Empire), Russians...just to name a few....SOME of the same people are still fighting. Then the harsh Treaty of Versailles crippled the Germans so they could never rise again *cough*....

We have a small history group of 5 high school girls from our congregation and we have spent the last year and a half working through Notgrass American History. I cannot recommend this material highly enough. It’s one of the few curriculum choices I have made where we actually finished the book and I did not regret my expensive purchase half way through the year.

Basically to sum up WW1 in the words of my observant 16 year old daughter:

“It’s like the horrible slumber party every girl has experienced and has stored in her memory. One ambitious, sensitive girl is offended because she thinks another girl at the party looked at the guy she “likes” in the wrong way and is trying to steal him from her. Another friend takes her side. Then the one who offended is mad because that other girl just sided against her, so she then tries to get more girls on her side, then more girls join the other side. The dominoes start falling and there is a “take no prisoners” mentality which overcomes even the best of girls. The strongest personalities in the group are the “imperialists”. There are actual “aliances” drawn and if you cross the line, you are a traitor and the friendships will be “executed” (figuratively speaking) by the other side. There are actual spies who pretend to cross the line to collect information only to find out later about 2:00 a.m. in the morning, she stabbed you in the back. There is a strong spirit of “nationalism” among the girls and there is no turning back...you’ll stand by your “best friend” to the death. Then there are the neutral parties (such as my daughter) who could care less about getting involved in the latest melodrama and goes to sleep before midnight while the other “countries” engage in trench warfare until 5:00 a.m. when physical exhaustion and the high casualty rate consumes them.”

Beware of any harsh peace treaties or there will be an even bigger war at the next slumber party.

I bought Orange Crushes (invented in 1916) and made a Fruit Cocktail Cake (fruit cocktail invented in 1914) for our class.  Here is a link with food ideas if you want to try a lunch or dinner party. Eating the foods and listening to music from the era cements the history in their minds. I'm a firm believer in partying our way through home education.

I also think it is very helpful (imperative) for older students to map out pre World War 1 Europe/Asia and post World War 1 Europe/Asia. It will give them a clear, mental picture of the land and territories affected. We created a Time Line using a folding Dina Zike booklet idea. Here are pictures. It's nothing fancy, but it's a handy guide for quick reference.

If you have visual or hands on learners, I highly recommend Dina Zikes Big Book of Unites States History.  We used it again, and again. Adults and children alike all enjoyed making her fold outs and lap books.  

Here are some helpful links:

Simplified Timeline I found this uncomplicated timeline to be very usable. It also has a link for practical activities.

World War 1 Books for Kids

National World War 1 Museum in Kansas City I've heard several people mention this was the best museum they've ever visited. I see a homeschool field trip in our future. This site also has helpful information.

A helpful before and after map

another map

PBS Great War site...excellent

I loved this site because it gave an American cultural perspective of the decade

Best History Sites; World War 1

Brief explanation of effects of World War 1 which is imperative to understand

A good artist to study during this time period is Kathe Kollwitz who lost a son in World War 1. Study the rise of "Expressionism" in art.

FYI: For you Tolkien fans out there, he fought in World War 1 and used what he experienced in the trenches in his notorious books.

I recommend watching All Quiet on the Western Front with your older students and have a deep, philosophical discussion with them about this film.  There are other great films about this time period.  Do a Google search and find some appropriate ones for your children's age group.

Let me know if any of these links helped you, or if they are broken.  I would love feedback on your World War 1 study.  How did it go?  What did you do?

I hope you'll become a new follower.  Let me hear from you.  :)

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