Year In The Life 2013(“We Are Not Makers Of History…..)

We are made by history.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yes, finally I am able to say good-by to 2013 with the last review post saving Social Studies for last. I love history! I am an origins person digging deeper and deeper into the past. I just can’t help myself. I get all geeky excited when making connections, when fitting another piece of the puzzle together (and there are SO many connections).

Social Studies consists of three topics, World History, American History, and Geography. So what did our year of Social Studies look like?

Being that my title contained a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. I think I will start with American History.

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I mentioned in my Language Arts post how Little Sis and I enjoyed the Scholastic Storybook Treasures on Netflix, one of those was titled Amazing America and contained 5 stories about the history of our country. Our favorite was Martin’s Big Words and the storybook itself is collection worthy.

Since on the subject of Netflix I also want to mention the series Dear America. This series sparked lots of interesting conversations and was great to watch with both girls.

The Civil War played a big part in our year with visits to our local history museum with their new exhibit

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and since I can no longer have gluten it was fun learning the history of how one of my new favorite “breads”, Johnny Cakes played a part in the Civil War too.

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This coupled with Miss Sky and I watching PBS’s American Experience The Abolitionists brought the time period even more alive. I myself found it very interesting learning more about Harriet Beecher Stowe who’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin played such a huge role in changing peoples minds about slavery.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/

Another movie that sparked many conversations in our home was one of my top 5 most favorites, Fried Green Tomatoes. We had discussions about the KKK, racism, and segregation. Which then brought up discussions of Rosa Parks.

We read one my favorite Louisa May Alcott stories An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving and again thanks to our visits to the history museum the girls were able to visualize the time period.

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Add to this another wonderful PBS American Masters special on the authors life (she is one of my most favorite writers).

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/louisa-may-alcott/the-woman-behind-little-women/1295/

I mentioned my Pinterest Herstory board already right? Yes SO many wonderful woman history makers.

Since on the subject of favorites I will end our American History studies with the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. If there ever was a movie to help explain socialism and capitalism this would be the one.

Since mentioning PBS so much I think I shall kick off our studies of World History with Downton Abbey.

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Miss Sky has really taken a huge interest in this series so much while waiting for season 4 we watched the BBC series Lark Rise To Candleford (which I love), the Titanic miniseries (again that we love)and seasons 1,2, and 3 of Downton right thru. I love that these series took us through Victorian times leading right into the roaring 20s.

How could I mention the Victorian Times without bringing the anime Black Butler up. I mean this is what stirred Miss Sky’s interest in the first place. Thanks to this series we had many discussions about Jack the ripper and the movie A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott brought the period alive even more. Another great PBS documentary to go alone with this was Empires: Queen Victoria. This helped explain the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, which influenced Dickens to write the story.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2245707094/

Other influences was Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame which brought about conversations of religious differences, persecution, and burning at the stake. We also had conversations about the real ending, Victor Hugo and thanks to The Nostalgia Critic and Paw’s Movie Reviews we watched one of my most favorite reviews yet of the musical Les Miserables (and yes the movie has been added to our queue).

The year wasn’t all bleak though the girls had fun learning about the Terra Cotta Army from the first Emperor of China thanks to our visit to the Children’s Museum

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and Little Sis and I enjoyed China’s Heroines in History series, with our favorite being The Legend of Mu Lan by Wei and Chen An Jiang, that is written in both English and Chinese. Thanks to the BBC Human planet series we were able to learn about how nomads from Mongolia live in yurts.

Speaking of Human Planet, which I was going to mention in geography, we learned what Tibetan sky burials are which lead to conversations about Buddhism and watching the PBS documentary, The Buddha.

http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/

We also had talks of Hinduism, cremation, reincarnation, and watched the movie Life Of Pi(which is on my top 10 list of all favorite movies).

We journeyed back into ancient Egypt with our Children’s museum visit

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and had many more discussions about ancient Greece thanks to the movies Clash of the Titans and Wrath of the Titians where Miss Sky made the connection between the Hunchback’s song Hellfire and what a Siren is.

Wrapping up with geography we jumped ahead to present day Egypt while at the Children’s Museum,

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thanks to Disney’s Lilo and Stitch and my What About Earth Pinterest board we learned about Hawaii. Thanks to Princess Tutu we learned about Germany and how the town of Nordlingen that the anime is set in was really built in a meteorite crater, called the Nördlinger Ries. Thanks to the story Family Under the Bridge we learned about Paris, France, and thanks to the Disney’s The Three Caballeros we learned about South America.

I mentioned BBC’s Human Planet series above already we also like the Globe Trekker series and playing the Wii Party Globe Trot game.

What a year!

I am going to be honest and say I am glad to finally be done with this because already 2014 has begun with gusto as we have watched the movie Anastasia. Russian history here we come.

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