Friday, November 8, 2013

Living History with Story of the Pilgrims (Plus a HUGE Giveaway!)

What do a sandbox conversation, a field trip with grandparents, expanding vocabulary, multiple car rides, long bedtimes and many children's self-selected activities have in common?

At least in our family they do. 

Since we received an audio download of Jim Hodges' Stories of the Pilgrims as part of the Bow of Bronze Launch Team back in September, the CD's that we made from it have been an absolute favorite among my children.  (It can become one of yours, too.  At the end of the post is a mega-giveaway that includes this audio and more!)

Our Listening Experience

We initially listened to the four hours and ten minutes of Jim Hodges' engaging narration in Stories of the Pilgrims during long car rides to and from two weekend events.  During these rides, our children were so enraptured by the Story of the Pilgrims that when we shut the car engine off at our destinations, they actually asked us to turn the CD back on.  Yep, despite being excited about our family field trips, they wanted to listen to more of Stories of the Pilgrims before clambering out of the car!

The children's enthusiasm for Stories of the Pilgrims did not end after that.  Indeed,  many subsequent car rides found us following the adventures of the Pilgrims from the Scrooby Inn in England, to Holland, to the Mayflower, to the New World.  

Likewise, the 43 chapters of the Stories of the Pilgrims, which range from two minutes of listening to twenty-three, have played in the background of many household and play activities, per our children's request, and have also been central to homeschool lessons.  

Of course, they have also been played for hours and hours on end at bedtime by all of our children, and, particularly, by our oldest son who has difficulty getting to sleep, but has happily laid in bed for weeks and weeks of nights listening to Stories of the Pilgrims.  (Thanks, Jim.  Our boy may not have been sleeping, but at least, as he has listened to all four hours of your narration at once, he has rested his body while filling his mind with history, literature, vocabulary and more!)

Extending Our Listening Experience

So how are the sandbox conversation, the field trip with grandparents and the self-selected activities of the kids that I mentioned in the opening to this post related to Stories of the Pilgrims?

Well, one day while the children were at a park doing this:

Testing "Holland Dikes" Built at A Huge Sandbox

a woman came up and asked why they were out of school.  I explained that we homeschool.  She then asked me a bit about homeschooling before meandering over to the children to ask them what they were doing.  

The children replied that they were working on "dikes for Holland".  The woman responded with a smile, "Oh, you've made a castle and are calling it Holland."  The children shook their heads and explained, "No, we are building dikes, like in Holland, where the Pilgrims were."  The woman, in turn, looked perplexed and commented, "You mean England."  The kids, then, explained, "No, Holland.  The Pilgrims went to Holland..."

After the children finished telling the woman what they knew, she came over to me and commented that she had never known that the Pilgrims had lived in Holland.  That she had learned a new thing that day.  Did I teach my children all of that?  I smiled and said, "No a CD taught them a lot of it.  I just help them further their understanding."

Nina searched and searched the Plantation until she found one of the characters featured in Stories of the Pilgrims.

One way I helped the kids extend (question and balance!) the knowledge they gleaned from countless hours listening to Stories of the Pilgrims was by taking them to Plimoth Plantation. My children were so excited when Grammy and Grampy offered to treat us to field trip there, and I was, too.  For, despite the fact that I enjoy and and would recommend Jim Hodges audio of Margaret B. Pumphrey's Stories of the Pilgrims as much as my children would, I also realize that, being a narration of a living history book published in the early 1900's, the audio contains inherent bias.  It portrays the indigenous people of our country in a less than balanced light.  So, I looked forward to having the children listen, look and question at the Wompanoag village at the Plantation in order to drive home some of the discrepancies between the portrayal of indigenous people in Stories of the Pilgrim and the stories told by today's historians and Wompanoag descendents.

Luke paused from asking a zillion questions to the interpeters, based on what he'd heard in Stories of the Pilgrim, to pound some corn.
Of course, prior to going to the Plantation, I had paused the audio of The Story of the Pligrims at times to answer the kids' questions about "savages", why the term "indians" was used and why the indigenous people on the audio said things like "ugh ugh".  However, being hands-on kinds of kids, I knew talking to interpreters at the Plantation, while surrounded by living history experiences, would really make things click for them.  I was not wrong!

Jack, happy to be like "one of the pilgrims from the CD" tries his hand at threshing.

How they loved the day we spent at the Plantation... and how they learned! 

In fact, how they continue to learn from connecting Stories of the Pilgrims to other experiences.  Vocabulary.  History.  Storytelling.  Inquiry and research.  It's all been unfolding.

Nina decided to de-kernel corn one day, wanting to pound it like the Pilgrims and the indigenous people did.
The Study Guide 

Along with the review copy of the Stories of the Pilgrims audio I received, I also received an early version copy of the Study Guide that Jim Hodges put together to go along with the audio.  Since my children are still young, I did not use the guide as is with them.  But, I did smile as I noted how many of the vocabulary words contained in the guide were words my children had either asked me about or just begun using during dramatic play.  I also drew on the guide for ideas to enhance the children's current learning experiences and have no doubt I will turn to it in future years, too.

Filled with vocabulary words, comprehension questions, map activities, cooking activities, Venn Diagrams, virtues and faith concepts, crafts, and more, the study guide, which is currently priced at $5 offers avenues for learners of many ages and styles to expand their knowledge.   

Two other wonderful resources, where there are many balanced historical facts about the Pilgrims, indigenous people and Thanksgiving are The Pilgrim Hall Museum online resources and the interactive online Thanksgiving Investigation at the Plimoth Plantation website.

Between Jim Hodges engaging Stories of the Pilgrims audio, its supplementary study guide and some related explorations, we have had a wonderful couple months of learning happening in our home.  Undoubtedly, your family can also learn and enjoy with such resources!

Interested in hearing Jim Hodges' Stories of the Pilgrims yourself?

You can sample the first chapter for FREE or purchase Stories of the Pilgrims on SALE through the end of the month for just $15 at Jim Hodges Audio Books. You can also enter to win one of two incredible prize packages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to learn how others are using Stories of the Pilgrims?   

Read more reviews at the Bow of Bronze Stories of the Pilgrims Launch Team page.

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