My oldest is in Year Four of AmblesideOnline this year, and I’ve decided to add in California geography this year. Up until now, I haven’t done much on our state because we study our history chronologically, for the most part, and there wasn’t a whole lot going on here until the 1700s.
Once we get to the 1800s, there are numerous options for state history, and I want to cover a number of them. I don’t remember any of my state history from growing up, other than that there were a lot of missions built up and down the coast, and I think that’s because I only read about it in dry, dusty, boring textbooks.
I want my children to love and appreciate where they are from, and studying their state history is one way to kindle that affection.
This year, I decided to pull one of the books on my list, and study it as state geography. That book is Scott O’Dell’s The Cruise of the Arctic Star. If you have completed Ambleside Year Two, you may recall our precious geography book Seabird by Holling C. Holling. This book feels like a combination of that, and also Paddle to the Sea, only it is a more mature chapter book.
It is so geographically minded, it even has maps interspersed throughout in order to trace the journey of the ship, the Arctic Star! Along the way, it explores the history of the state as far back as Sir Francis Drake and Juan Cabrillo, through Father Junipero Serra, all the way to the actual setting of the story, which is firmly in the Modern Era.
How’s that for a pitch?
Below, I’ll insert an Ambleside-style reading schedule, as special gift to you Californians out there, but first I want to note that there is nothing about this book which restricts it to Year Four. I definitely wouldn’t do it any younger, but I think this geography schedule could easily be followed anywhere from Year Four through Year Seven without any problems.
Alright. So here’s the schedule:
The Cruise of the Arctic Star
by Scott O’Dell
Week 1:The Greek God Ch. 1 Pt. 1
Week 2: Little Goat Ch. 1 Pt. 2; Serpent on the Rock Ch. 1 Pt. 3
Week 3: The Unsilent Sea Ch. 1 Pt. 4
Week 4: The Silver Trees Ch. 1 Pt. 5; Army of the West Ch. 2 Pt 1
Week 5: Surprise at Dawn Ch. 2 Pt. 2
Week 6: Starvation Peak Ch. 2 Pt. 3; Swordfish! Ch. 3 Pt. 1
Week 7: Shark? Ch. 3 Pt. 2
Week 8: Ship’s Log Ch. 3 Pt. 3; Ship’s Log Continued Ch. 3 Pt. 4
Week 9: Duck in the Bilge? Ch. 4 Pt. 1
Week 10: Traffic in Hides Ch. 4 Pt. 2;
Week 11: A Good Dinner Ch. 4 Pt. 3
Week 12:Captain Thompson Ch. 4 Pt. 4
Optional Exam Week
Week 13: The Navigator Ch. 5 Pt. 1
Week 14: Brown Pelican Ch. 5 Pt. 2; Mountain Man Ch. 5 Pt. 3
Week 15: The White Grizzly Ch. 5 Pt. 4
Week 16: Ambush on the Mojave Ch. 5 Pt. 5; Sink or Swim Ch. 6 Pt. 1
Week 17: Gila Monster Ch. 6 Pt. 2
Week 18: Dead Man’s Island Ch. 6 Pt. 3
Week 19: Young Magellans Ch. 6 Pt. 4; Ship’s Log Ch. 7 Pt. 1
Week 20: The Green Monster Ch. 7 Pt. 2
Week 21: Fandango! Ch. 7 Pt. 3; Trouble Ch. 8 Pt. 1
Week 22: The Jaws of the Devil Ch.8 Pt. 2
Week 23: Sea Otter Ch. 8 Pt. 3
Week 24: Morro Ch. 8 Pt. 4
Option Exam Week
Week 25: The Gray Ox Ch. 9 Pt. 1; Monterey Ch. 9 Pt. 2
Week 26: Lean John Brown Ch. 9 Pt. 3
Week 27: Message Ch. 9 Pt. 4; San Francisco Ch. 10 Pt. 1
Week 28: The Man with the Big Gold Watch Ch. 10 Pt. 2
Week 29: Gold! Gold! Ch. 10 Pt. 3; Ship’s Log Ch. 10 Pt. 4
Week 30: Waiting for Rod Ch. 11 Pt. 1
Week 31: Gentleman Pirate Ch. 11 Pt. 2;
Week 32: Ship’s Log Ch. 11 Pt. 3
Week 33: Voice in the Night Ch. 11 Pt. 4
Week 34: Ship’s Log Ch. 12 Pt. 1; Wrecks Ch. 12 Pt. 2
Week 35: Ship’s Log Continued Ch. 12 Pt. 3
Week 36: Red Sky in the Morning Ch. 12 Pt. 4
As usual, these readings would be accompanied by map work, where the child has a nice, blank map of California upon which he can both trace the journey of the ship, as well as mark other points of interest he encounters along the way.
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