We started a new study unit earlier this month. This time we are studying France, as part of a World Unit.
My kids laugh when I tell them as a kid (well, all through high school) I really, really disliked history. Yes I did. I had to take all the formal big tests at the end of my senior year, as everyone else in Chile, only to get scores to see if you could go into a certain university, into a certain career you had chosen early in your high school years, to take all the electives necessary to get into the career you thought you wanted. History of course, was one of those tests. And I did not like it. I guess history, probably because of my terrible memory, was never my thing. It never has been.
But this time around, when we study together with the kids, it is much more fun. Maybe because it is up to us. Maybe because it has more meaning or there is a reason behind studying it. I love studying any history the kids decide to study. And even though we look up years and names and try to memorize them, it doesn’t really matter too much. Between the three of us, we can remember most of the details we want to remember at a certain time. Not bad I say! Especially since today, everyone has access to instant information whenever you need it.
For us still, our instant information are our heads. We are still working on that. And if someone doesn’t remember something, I know someone else will. And if we don’t, we are only few steps away from the computer where we can look it up. And yes, we also have a history encyclopedia we like to look at. Really! A real encyclopedia. It is not like those books lining up the bookshelf in our wall, from A-B, and C-E, and F-G and so on, that we had in our homes growing up. This one, is a much smaller kind. I like it how easy and simplified it is. When we want to get more information, then we can dig deeper. But his has something to get us started. Do you have a history encyclopedia you like?
I really didn’t know much about France. I’ve never been there and I don’t have family living there. But I do have a couple of friends living there now. But really, I think I never paid attention in my history class in high school, so I don’t know if we even studied it or not.
This time around, I am paying more attention. It is more fun too. Nothing against my history teachers I had growing up, it’s just that this time, I am learning together with my own kids. And we’re studying something we’ve decided to study together, something we think would be fun to learn. And in this case, we have a good reason to learn a little more. It makes it that much more fun.
So, together with learning about the geography of Europe, we looked at first, the Paleolithic cave paintings from Lascaux Caves. Oh my! What a story that is, and how amazing it is. Caves found by teenagers chasing after their dog back in the 40’s. How amazing. We loved the story a lot.
We did our own cave paintings. We tore and wrinkled some brown craft paper.
Drew some lines with white chalk (like the cracks of the walls) and then we drew our designs.
We used chalk and kept to the colors they would have used back then. Reds, browns, black and white.
- We read The Secret Cave : Discovering Lascaux by Emily Arnold McCully. I think it was our favorite story.
- We watched this video online by Rick Steves about the Lascaux Caves. We decided we like Rick Steves.
- We looked at photos of Marcel Ravidat, who discovered the caves in 1940.
- We looked at photos of the caves and its paintings. Amazing.
- Watched this video about the caves, though it is for a younger audience.
- We read the book Discovery in the Cave by Mark Dubowski.
- We looked at these drawings.
Maybe we’ll get to see these paintings one day. I know now though, thanks to Rick, that the caves that they have for the public viewing today are an exact replica of the real caves. It makes just a little less interesting, but still, amazing to know that these still exist, just next door.
I have some links in my Pinterest page too, if you’d like more resources. There are lots out there. So much fun to be had. As always, if you have any other resources you’ve used and liked, we would love to know. Thanks for going on this tour with us.