Bede’s History of ME and Bede’s History of US serve as history primers for children in kindergarten and first grade. Their purpose is to lay the groundwork for the study of history that really starts around second grade level.
In these two courses, children begin to grasp the nature of history through stories of all sorts of histories: their own personal and family history, the story of Thanksgiving, the history of boats, the history of toys, the story of Easter, their own state’s history, the story of Lewis and Clark, church history, the history of immigration, and much more.
The first book covers a huge range of topics from personal to world history while the second book sticks mostly with topics related to the United States. Stories are brief, often focusing on one small piece of a larger story—just enough to be interesting without presenting too much information.
Students learn some geography along the way. They also learn about timelines. Bede is actually a ball of yarn who unrolls to present the concept of timelines at various points in each study. Sometimes, there is a red timeline (red since Bede is a ball of red yarn) at the bottom of a page with relevant dates shown on the line. In one activity, students create their own personal timeline with a piece of yarn, clothespins, and some family photos.
Both courses are gentle introductions to history. The books are used as read-alouds, and the reading should take only a few minutes for each lesson. Books are generously illustrated with full color illustrations that tie in directly with the lessons. Hands-on activities with every lesson help hold the attention of young students. Some activities will be done directly in the book, while others will be done with your own arts and crafts materials. Activities involve cutting, pasting, solving puzzles, working with flash cards cut out from the book, coloring, drawing, painting, and writing. Parents will probably need to help children with written work, possibly taking dictation or writing words for students to copy.
In Bede’s History of US, students create a very simple lap book about their own state with cut-outs from the back of the book. Most pages that need to be cut out for this and other activities are at the back of each book. Every child needs his or her own book because the books are consumable.
The use of timelines and one small set of flashcards in each course help prepare students for Veritas’ use of both timelines and flashcards in future history courses.
Each course is designed for the presentation of one lesson per week, which is appropriate given that children at these grade levels should be focusing primarily on the language and arithmetic skills. Students will probably spend more time on the activities than listening to the stories, but that should leave them with a positive attitude toward history.