Columbus notebook pages
Columbus notebook pages

We really enjoyed our studies on Christopher Columbus from Beautiful Feet Books (BFB). It took us about three weeks to go through the ten lessons and read Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire and listen to the Your Story Hour CD’s provided with the curriculum set. I also added the chapter on Columbus from The Story of the World Volume Two, Drive Thru History episode one, and the second chapter of A Child’s First Book of American History by Earl Schenk Miers.

the middle two's maps
the middle two’s maps

As with the study on Leif we spent some time in the Scriptures. This time we discussed how God uses imperfect people and explored a few of Columbus’ character flaws. To help them understand the concept a bit more we discussed the life of King David. We talked a lot about character and how God can use any of us to do great things despite how imperfect all of us are. In contrast to that we also discussed some of Columbus’ better character traits and I really emphasized his dedication to his studies. I think our discussions helped my crew to remember and understand character concepts and remember their lessons. My oldest remarked that Columbus “really came to life” for him “as a real person” during this study.

The Your Story Hour CD’s were a bit different for us. I have listened to books on tape before but it was new for my scholars. They got used to it after a few minutes and ended up arguing with the storyteller!!! They were very upset that one of the facts (that Columbus set out to discover new land) on the CD was wrong and caused them to doubt the validity of everything else in the recording! So, we spent some time talking about the media, worldviews and truth.

Oldest putting the final touches on his paper
Oldest putting the final touches on his paper

Our favorite part of the lesson was making the maps of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas. I decided to make an art project out of the assignment and you can find our how to in this post. They are very proud of their maps and we still have them hung up on our wall. The lesson guide also has the students do a presentation on Columbus. I took it one step further and also added a writing assignment. Oldest wrote a one page paper and I was happy to see paragraphs. He will start a more formal writing program next year but I am wanting him to get used to writing down his narrations in preparation. The middle two made ships out of construction paper and wrote facts about the life of Columbus. The ships open to make a little book.

written reports
written reports

We also explored foods of the America’s and Europe. They just couldn’t imagine a world with chocolate bars and potatoes!!

Here are a few article we enjoyed:

Five Things Christopher Columbus Ate from The Learning Channel

Christopher Columbus-Foods of the New World from The History Kitchen…one of my favorite blogs to read!!!

A funny from Horrible Histories!

I also found this fun activity on celestial navigation and making a quadrant. This made a nice science tie-in and we also did experiments on water buoyancy and sinking ships. Pictures and further links to the boat experiment are here.

And we will have a field trip to see replicas of Columbus’ ships very soon! I’ll post pictures afterward.

We really love this curriculum and can’t wait to dive-in to Pocahontas and Jamestown next.