Seventh Grade: The Age of Exploration and Discovery

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Ocean Currents

Ocean Currents

Watercolor of Africa

Watercolor of Africa


Routes of the Explorers


Teal did the cutest little gold blocks for Pizzaro and then we noticed she had spelled his name wrong! It was still a great effort.

Teal did the cutest little gold blocks for Pizarro.

I used Charles Kovacs’ book The Age of Discovery as the main text for our Age of Exploration and Discovery block. I also liberally used the internet to find background information, maps, etc.  The Kovacs books are excellent for short biographies. They really seem to capture the spirit of the historical figures, which is important because in the Waldorf pedagogy during grades 1-8 the teacher brings history to the child using biographies. In reality, for children aged 7-14 there is far too much to cover if you look at history as events only, but if you can capture the “feeling of the age” by studying a few notable people who lived during that time, you help your child develop a sense for how the human race is unfolding.

Here is a list of what we studied and did during this block;

  • Henry the Navigator with summary
  • Because Henry’s sailors were mapping the coast of Africa, we had a nice segue into a short study of Africa. Teal painted a watercolor of Africa as suggested in Creative Pathways by Auer and wrote a summary of some things we studied about Africa, including the geography of the land: deserts, jungle, mountains, etc. We also located places we had already studied in earlier history blocks.
  • This led to a discussion about why it was so darn difficult to sail down the west coast of Africa and northeast to India: ocean currents! This was a very fascinating part of our block and it was easy to see why it was so hard to sail from Portugal to India.
  • Vasco da Gama with summary
  • Amerigo Vespucci with summary
  • Christopher Columbus with summary
  • Pizarro with summary
  • Magellan with summary
  • Teal made another map of the world and mapped the routes of each of the explorers we talked about. We compared their travels to the ocean currents map, which was cool.
  • A title page drawing of a ship which was inspired by a main lesson book I saw at a workshop several years ago.
  • We made a little backtrack to talk about Marco Polo who was an explorer on land. Teal read a story about him from a book I found on and wrote another summary.

Teal did a lot of summaries during this block! They were each fairly short, but our goal was to have beautiful main lesson book pages. We picked her favorite work to showcase in this post, and after all of her effort she was very pleased with how her main lesson book turned out saying she thinks it’s her best one yet. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Lives

IMG_6129When I got home from the gym yesterday morning it was still dark. (Yes, I said gym. No, it’s not a resolution.) I shut the door to the bedroom where Wigeon was snuggled in bed with Mr. Mallard, and started puttering about my day. After fifteen minutes or so, the door to the bedroom popped open and Wigeon came out to greet me. She was still tired and wanted mommy, but I needed a shower. I put her back in bed with my husband, which she protested, but I promised to give her “holdy-hugs” after I showered. Once clean, I got fully dressed and slipped back into bed beside her. She said something cheery, put her hands around my neck and fell back asleep.

I stayed in bed next to her for an hour thinking. Well, dozing and thinking. It’s rare for me to climb back into bed in the morning. More than rare. There is always something that needs to be done and if I’m up I want to get going, but lying in bed next to my almost four-year-old was wonderful. It was precisely what I wanted to be doing with my time. And to make things even better, it gave me a chance to talk to my husband over the sleeping form of our littlest.

I have been thinking about time. (Again.) Recently, I read Ben Hewitt’s blog. The whole thing. It’s been thought provoking and it’s made me think about money a bit. I have some differing views than he does, but one thing I do like that Ben writes frequently is that time is not money; it’s life. I like thinking about time that way, not that I make money during my days as a stay-at-home mom, but there is something powerful in acknowledging that how we spend our time is how we spend our lives. But here’s something new for me: I listened to a podcast of an interview with a life-coach who said she recommends that clients identify a feeling that they would like to have in their lives (contentment, peace, grattitude, etc.,) identify an activity that gives them that feeling and do it at least once a week. I think that’s why I felt so good about climbing back into bed with my not-so-little baby yesterday. Not only was it how I wanted to spend my time that morning, it gave me some of the feelings I want in my life: contentment and love.

I’m hoping to ask myself this more often: Does the way you spend your time align itself with the feelings you’d like to experience?