Friday, May 6, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
I have said before just how much I love CAVA’s curriculum. Well, I will say it again, and probably again, for anyone who hasn’t heard it and just because I am so glad that there is a group in education that decided learning could be fun. My delight in CAVA's curriculum is all encompassing, but my fevered enthusiasm usually lands squarely on the history lessons. CAVA's lessons are so well crafted, telling the historical events in narrative form, with great visuals and authentic photos or artworks when possible, and including all the exciting characters, important dates and events.
I was thrilled last year when the boys and I went through the medieval period, studying ancient Rome and the Vikings and feudal Japan. We learned about the Visigoths and the Shoguns and got a real sense of where Europe came from. We learned that 476 was the year that Rome fell and nothing would be the same again. We learned that 1215 was the signing of the Magna Carta, where the king’s power was limited and that people demanded rights and liberties. This background last year set the stage for this year’s history lessons.
Yep, we moved into the Renaissance. So this year – happy sigh – we spent most of our time learning about Renaissance Italy, where it all began, and the fabulous art and artists who occupied that time period. We then moved on to Renaissance Europe and Asia, including a nice section on the Reformation of the church, complete with Martin Luther and the 95 Theses (who knew that 3rd graders would EAT THAT UP?). Then, of course, we spent time in England, with the Golden Era, or the Elizabethan Period, learning about Elizabeth I and the amazing empire she created and maintained. There was a lesson on Shakespeare and an art project involving recreating the Globe Theater in paper. Just fabulous.
How I love this school's willingness to extend history to youngsters, knowing that they will hang on every word, appreciate what has come before and be able to make connections between the past and the present. There are drawbacks to my boys being in this school, yes -- the isolation, technical glitches, waiting for your teacher to get back to you instead of having her "in the classroom," no school functions per se, and never getting a "sick" day because well, you're at home.
But when I scroll down to the next history lesson, I smile and think, "Okay, now is for learning and for engaging. Hopefully soon the other things will fall into place."