Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This Week in History (Schoolhouse Review)

TWIH banner600x140 June 21   June 27: Spots, Dots, Horses and Hoops...

I’ve seen a lot of calendars with a “this day in history” feature.  We’ve had printed ones that hung on our wall for a year. Sometimes, we would actually remember to look at them and read the event for the day. I’ve seen others online. Generally, they are a single fact or two. Kind of interesting, but we read them and move on. Initially, I thought that Thomas Jefferson Education’s “This Week in History” would be the same. Well, I was wrong. I think I’ve found something that we’ll stick with!

A subscription to “This Week in History” allows the user to access the weekly information online or in weekly emails. I like the email format because, with the information in my inbox, I’m less likely to forget about using it.

Each weekly email includes a colorful article for each day of the week.  The articles are accompanied by links to additional information, craft and activity ideas, and so on.  There is honestly almost enough here for it to be a full unit study curriculum!

For example, July 5 featured the publication of the first chapter of Pinocchio, by Carlo Lorenzini. Included were information about and links to sites with:

  • Pinocchio coloring pages
  • Bio of Carlo (Lorenzini) Collodi
  • link to different versions of the story of Pinocchio
  • discussion topics
  • cricket links—chirps, crafts, etc
  • telling the temperature through cricket chirps
  • bugs that are eaten around the world (yuck!)

July 5 featured the opening of the Famous "Hampton Court Palace Flower Show."  Emily saw and learned about:

  • flower photos
  • parts of a flower
  • Fibonacci sequence

I always think that seeing for yourself is easier than reading about something, so here is an excerpt from the Aug. 9 reading:

August 9
The Leaning Tower of WHAT???

LeaningTowerPizza August 9   August 15: Codes, Colors and Magnets, Missourians, and yet another Annie!

Just kidding!

On this date in 1173, construction began on the campanile of the cathedral of Pisa. This is more commonly known as...

The Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Tower of Pisa August 9   August 15: Codes, Colors and Magnets, Missourians, and yet another Annie!

So first of all, we sort of breezed through a couple of words that might be new: "campanile" and "cathedral".

If you speak Italian or Spanish you can probably guess at the meaning of "campanile" based on the similarity of the word to its root: campana. A campanile is a special tower that holds campanas -- bells!

So, campanile means "bell tower". Before we investigate the other term, let's learn more about this campanile.


Here's an idea: Why not make a tower using Legos, Lincoln Logs, blocks, pancakes, or what-have-you.

  • How tall can you make it before it falls?
  • Why does it fall?
  • Does it lean? Why or why not?
  • Do you have materials that are less inclined to fall or lean? Why are they different?
  • Can you make a 3-D model of the Campanile of Pisa?
  • Can you draw a dot-to-dot or other activity for others to use?


As you can see, the format is appealing and interesting! And this is just part of one day’s material! We will enjoy incorporating This Week in History into our schooldays in the upcoming year.

A subscription to This Week in History is $9.99 per month and includes the ability to search the site for any topic and to view the whole year’s archive. The topics will appeal to a wide range of ages. Several sample weeks are available for viewing on the Thomas Jefferson Education website.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received  a  free  membership in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.


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