Author G. K. Chesterton wrote, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
Stories and myths have shaped and reflected world cultures for millennia. They tell of how the world was created, how humans relate to the world, and how humans relate to each other. They are ingrained into our cultures, and as children we listen to these tales or read folklore, learning more about our own world and the cultures of others around us.
In spite of the development of societies all around the world, often independently of each other, there are many common threads that run through these tales. Throughout all world mythologies and cultural stories, there are common threads of birth, death, the afterlife, good and evil, and the origin of both man and the world itself. Younger children learn of these stories in fairy tales, which tend to be watered down to their level. Older children may delve into an occasionally very dark world of these dragons…but these myths show that the world’s dragons can be slain.
If you’re interested in incorporating world cultures and mythologies into your homeschool, here are some resources to guide you…
This collection of mythology for kids takes you from ancient Mesopotamia to the Abenaki tribes of the Native Northeastern US and Canada, showing you myths from around the world. From the Japanese myth of Momotarō The Peach Boy and his loyal animal friends to the Slavic myth of Vasilisa the Wise and her enchanted doll, this beautifully illustrated collection of mythology for kids takes you on a journey through the sands of time. You’ll explore diverse cultures across the globe through the incredible tales of gods and goddesses, earth-shattering giants, mighty dragons, magical lakes, and more.
Through hands-on projects and exciting stories, this title in the Build It Yourself series aims to ignite young people’s curiosity in multicultural mythology and legends. Each chapter, which focuses on the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, or the Americas, provides a succinct introduction to major themes and characters in a culture’s mythology, a glossary, short retellings, and more historical and cultural background, followed by easily assembled projects, as in the section on Sub-Saharan Africa, which presents instructions for making Ashanti Adinkra cloth and a Bata thunder drum. The gray-toned format, featuring spot illustrations, is lackluster, and a few of the projects, particularly the Hopi kachina doll, reference sacred objects that shouldn’t be designated as crafts. With proper context and discussion, though, this title offers solid, interactive opportunities to explore world mythology.
From the mid 18th century to the mid 19th century, the world underwent a series of revolutions across many areas of life, including culturally, politically, economically, technologically, and through war. Call it the age of Aquarius…call it a response to the world connectivity spawned by the age of exploration…whatever the reason, new ideas and actions swept the world, changing it forever.
The American Revolution, largely influenced by the Enlightenment period, is considered the beginning of the Age of Revolution. Then came the French Revolution, Irish Rebellion, Haitian Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and civil unrest in Spain and Germany. Shortly after the War of 1812, European powers came together to form the Holy Alliance in an attempt to restore the monarchies and prevent future unrest. Less than a decade later, there were uprisings in Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. The working class would no longer sit back, and around the world they began to demand more rights.
The Age of Revolution also includes the Industrial Revolution – this is when mass production in factories replaced hand-made goods, led to the growth of cities, birthed consumerism, and eventually led to the transportation revolution.
For more resources, check outExpansion, Independence, and War! It covers both American and world history. Students will learn about major conflicts in American history, spanning from the French and Indian War to the September 11 terror attacks.
The American Revolution course introduces elementary and middle school students to the key battles and players of the Revolutionary War and incorporates history, geography, reading, critical thinking and analysis, and cursive writing throughout.
While WW1 did not directly cause WW2, many of its after-effects led to weakened European states who were weak, needed strong leadership, and opened the door for dictatorships. The consequences of the first world war indirectly led to the second.
End of World War I
On the morning of November 11, 1918, the French delegation witnessed the Germans signing the Armistice that would go into effect at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It was exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the event that had set the ‘world’ part of the war into motion. The perceived humiliation and harsh terms of the subsequent Treaty of Versailles created a motive for Hitler and the leadership of the Third Reich to seek revenge. One of the terms of the treat was that Germany had to pay the equivalent of $124 million (in 2021 terms). Another term took sections of Germany and gave them to Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Dictators from the Depression
After the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the world plunged into a different kind of chaoes. Germany fell into economic troubles, but they weren’t the one country struggling. Russia and Italy also had difficulties recovering. History has shown us that, during times of chaos, people look to strong leaders who they hope will get the job of done so the country can recover. This was no exception. The political leaders who came to power during this period – Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini – were very powerful.
Though born in Austria, Hitler considered himself a German. He fought for Germany during WWI, being partially blinded and shot. After the war, he became a spy for the Social Democratic Party who spied on another German group, the German Workers Party. It was during this time that he became well known and began to get a following. Germans were struggling, financially, as they were required by the Treaty to pay back damages and reparations from WWI. Hitler began to speak out and lead protests. He was sentenced to jail at one point, where he wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf. After release, he had even more followers and began his ascent to power.
Tsar Nikolas was overthrown in the Russian Revolution, at the end of WWI, by the Bolsheviks, a Communist party. In 1922, Russia and several other countries joined together to form the Soviet Union under Lenin’s leadership. In 1924, when Lenin passed, Stalin came to power. Stalin wanted to industrialize the Soviet Union to strengthen the economy. He introduced a plan called ‘collectivization,’ where the Soviets took land from individual owners, and gave it to the State (the government). The idea was to increase efficiency, store more food, use less labor (more machines), and send farmers to work in factories.
Mussolini is often seen as the founder of facsism, a fom of totalitarian government with a capitalist economy. Before he came to power, the Italian government was led by a king-appointed Prime Minister. Mussolini had a group of ‘blackshirts,’ people who went around stirring up trouble, beating up political opponents, and generally clearing the way for his rise to power. The king appointed Mussolini as PM in 1922 so that the blackshirts would stop the violence. (This is called ‘appeasement,’ and it’s not a good idea.) In 1925, Mussolini became a dictator, taking away freedoms and forcing loyalty.
Appeasement & the League of Nations
The precursor to the United Nations, the League of Nations was formed at the end of WWI to ensure world war never occurred again. Unfortunately, they were afraid to act against aggressive countries, for fear of starting another war. This was another form of appeasement (remember the king of Italy?). One of the earliest instances of appeasement was when Mussolini decided to invade and conquer Ethiopia in 1935…and the League of Nations did not act. Hitler then decided to try his hand at reconquering some lands.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not to have a large army, but that was ignored as the German army swelled and the country also formed an Air Force and Navy. By the late 1930s, Hitler had begun to annex places like Austria and Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia that had been taken from Germany after WWI). The League of Nations did try to act at this point, and on September 30th, 1938 they created the Munich Pact, which allowed Germany to have Sudetenland, but would not allow them to go any further. This was another act of appeasement.
Post World War II
After World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin created a new international security agency, the United Nations, with hope of preventing WWIII. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as new world super-powers at the end of WW2. They had been allies during the war, but mostly because they had a common enemy. These new super-powers had extremely different views about government and economics — one was capitalist and the other communist — and they had a lot of distrust of each other. This distrust led to nearly fifty years of a Cold War – a war without actual fighting, but with the continual threat of nuclear warfare. Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were extensions of the Cold War.
Writing is an integral part of the language arts classes taught at Sparks Academy. We offer four levels of instruction, each building upon the last, until students are ready to write in any form requested of them – whether at a career or college! But maybe you don’t want a full class….how can you make writing fun at home?
Literature Studies & Living Books
What are living books, and how can you use them to make your homeschool shine? Get all the tips & tricks in Using Living Books to Homeschool. Scroll down to snag pre-made bundles of novel studies!
Another fun option for teaching writing is through the language arts classes Sparks Academy! There are four levels offered currently, including High School 1, High School 2, High School 3, and Level 7. (The last one is for 7th/8th/9th grade, depending on your student’s skills.) This is an online co-op, with weekly student interaction in the private classroom forum. Learn more here.
Trying to recreate public school at home, right down to the textbooks, is something new homeschoolers often do (especially those pulling students out of school). Literature studies, however, are so much more FUN! As an added bonus, because they incorporate knowledge through relating to a character and / or story, your students are apt to retain more once the year ends.
Novel studies can be used to cover concepts from language arts and history to science and math. It’s been our students’ preferred learning method for years, and we’ve created well over one hundred of them! If you’re looking to teach World History through literature, here are 51 units to try….and don’t discount audiobooks, too! They’re a great addition to a busy homeschooling day!
If you’re more of a simply-Charlotte-Mason style family, check out the Homeschool Garden sessions. These easy to implement sessions are planned out and ready for you to place in your schedule wherever it fits best. I could spend several hours trying to dig up resources, but they have already done the work for me (and really, who has that kind of time anymore?). They have a variety of subject sessions, plus five different Advent studies, and you’re sure to find a few that intrigue your family. One of the best parts about these units is that everything is included – there are no other purchases required. See inside a sample session here.
Want to give it a go? Use code FRIENDSANDFAMILY to take 50% off any one session (not bundles) at The Homeschool Garden. Where it asks, be sure to tell them Yvie sent ya! 😊
You can find all of the above novel studies in the five unit bundles below! (Sample units are in blue.) Enjoy the journey, and remember….DO THE VOICES!!!