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Studies in Australian History – Introduction

11 July, 2013

There are plenty of books, texts and other resources for home educators to use to study American history – a lot of the Western world’s home educators are in North America, so it makes sense. There are also several people in Australia who have Australianised the history portions of curricula, some notable examples are Michelle Morrow of Homeschooling Downunder and Jeanne from A Peaceful Day, and I am deeply indebted to their willingness to share their expertise and book recommendations freely.

I am attempting to cobble together my own Australian History program, based on literature, factual accounts, video and hands on experiences. We will generally explore Australian History chronologically, but I’m not going to pass up opportunities or refuse to read books when they are available just because they don’t fit into our chronology.

Each day I hope to read at least one picture book to our children that is either by an Australian author or contributes to our study of Australia and its history. Or both, of course. Not every book we read will necessarily come with a glowing endorsement – I will be encouraging my children to look for Australian books in the library so the books we read will include ones they have chosen for themselves.

Each week I hope to post here about the books we have read in the past week. While I can’t promise a review of each book, I will endeavour to at least highlight the books that were really good, and note down any books I wouldn’t particularly recommend.

I’d like to introduce our “core” resources that will see us through our study. These books form our spine, from which I will introduce each time frame, key event and important people.

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From top left we have Our Sunburnt Country by Arthur Baillie – from Homeschooling Downunder, The Australia Book by Eve Pownall – from ABC Shop, The Ashton Scholastic History of Australia by Manning Clark, Meredith Hooper and Susanne Ferrier – from a library cast off pile, My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins – from and Op Shop, and My Place TV series – from ABC Shop. We will be watching My Place backwards – starting at “before time” and working our way forward to 2008. I’ll also be leaning heavily on the Australian Book Traveller program by Homeschooling Downunder.

I decided to start our study of Australian history by learning about Australian dinosaurs and megafauna (We started back for term three today, a Thursday. We started holidays early and so finished up early). First day of term three and we went on an “excursion” to the Australian Museum in Sydney, to view the Dinosaurs and Surviving Australia exhibits.

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So our first “week” of our work, as far as reading books go, is only one day. This week we’ll be using Tiger Tale by Marion and Steve Isham and How To Draw Extinct Beasts by Kellie Harris (for the Australian Museum). We will be following that up with a drawing of some Australian megafauna and using the basic shapes in step one of each of the instructions to make torn paper pictures, with painted details, to imitate the style of illustrations in Tiger Tale. I hope to have some art works to post pictures of very soon!
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I also wanted to explain that while I have chosen not to post details of our plans and our children’s progress, I wanted to still be able to share with others what we’re using for our Australian history studies. I feel that sharing the planning and choosing of resources is *my* story to tell, while respecting my children’s right to privacy. That way I can, hopefully, encourage others on a similar journey but allow my children to tell their own stories as they are ready.

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