13 Oct 2011

In search of James Cook

Don't you just love it when things work just as you'd planned and dreamed they would?

Jemimah's first year of Australian History has worked like that so far. Which is good, because I can tell you, in a year such as 2011 has been, if it hadn'ta worked we wouldn't still be doin' it. Fact. Which is why we're no longer doing art this year. Well, nothing scheduled, anyhow. We still do handwork, and Jemimah's been doing a bit of pottery work, but that's all. No nature notebooking either. (Shhhhhhh - the CM police will be onto me there - I'll be no longer able to claim that I homeschool using Ambleside Online. They'll expose me as a fraud.) Hey, remember - I'm just holding things together by the skin of my teeth. Being a flood victim is no laughing matter let me tell you.

But back to the subject.

Australian History is good. And I need to tell you about it because my friend Sarah says I haven't written enough about AO4 and that I need to get my act together. Honestly, I've tried! This post has been in draft mode since July. I think part of the problem is that I try to fit everything into one post, and then I get overwhelmed with how long it's taking me and I stop. Without hitting publish. Today I'm going to finish.

Our AO4 Australian History topic in Term 2 was Captain Cook. Here's our booklist for the term:
Term 2 Captain Cook

Our Sunburnt Country Ch2 New Visitors to an Old Land Cook 1660-1761
The Story of Australia Ch 5 Captain James Cook Cook 1770
CHOW Ch 74 Prussia Frederick 1740-86
Our Island Story Ch 45 Loss of America George III 1776
CHOW Ch 75 American Revolution George III 1776

History Tales

James Cook Royal Navy by George Finkel 19 Chapters 1770
Bennelong by Joan Phipson 9 Chapters 1770-1813
You can see how I fitted these into AO's schedule here if you want. Basically, we read Finkel's brilliant book like a spine, one chapter a week throughout most of the term. The first few chapters of Bennelong fitted well into the time period, although his life leads on into the time of Governor Phillip and the First Fleet as well. We read it also at the rate of a chapter a week.

Each week we plotted Captain Cook's journey on our map. This was really quite easy, because earlier this year Jemimah and I made a visit to Captain Cook's Cottage in Melbourne. Truly, there is one. Actually, it is the home of his parents. James had already left home. Anyhow, it's there, and we went. While there we picked up two must-have resources. The first of these was the map that you see pictured on this page. It is a map of Cook's journeys by Lieut Henry Roberts in 1784 produced by Cartographics International for Cooks' Cottage. It shows so much - Cook's three journeys; the coastlines as they were thought to be at that time; the old names for the countries and islands; and even the incorrect longitudes that we read so much of in Finkel's book. This map was a simply marvellous tool for our studies. I heartily endorse it!

The other thing we purchased at Cook's Cottage was a copy of the ABC production Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery. The DVD contains all four episodes of this miniseries:
Episode 1: A Likely Lad
Episode 2: Taking Command
Episode 3: Beyond Speculation
Episode 4: North West Passage
The first three of these were an excellent adjunct to out studies, and we watched each after we had read about the time period in our books. The fourth, however, the story of Cook's third journey to find the mythical northwest passage thought to exist above Canada, shows a darker side of Cook's character as well as his death. I so wish I had not shown this episode to Jemimah. In fact, I wish I hadn't seen it myself. It is not that I wish to whitewash history here, I hasten to add. I just thunk that the information contained in this episode would be best left for study in secondary school, not now. The first three episodes are great though. Teachers Notes for the series are here.

So that's basically our second term. Read the book selections, narrate, map the journey, watch the video, discuss some more, add to our timeline. History CM style in a nutshell.

Perfect. Well it was for us.

So that's our AO4 Term Two History post done. Hurrah. It didn't get finished last night because Blogger ate half my post again. Grrrrrrr -that's the third time that's happened.

I think I will look at Wordpress.

Here's a bit of the film:


  1. This is wonderful information! Another outing added to our list of things we want to do whilst in Melbourne. And for the record for those who read this I never said to Jeanne 'get your act together'...hahaha! I was much more polite! :)

  2. Thanks Sarah, I was wondering the same myself but wasn't going to mention it lol! and I did read Sarah's comment above, I'd always imagined you to be very polite and gentle Sarah:)

  3. and oh, I think the AO / CM police will definitely forgive you for not including nature journalling and unstructured art:)

  4. Thanks Jeanne , very helpful again.
    Actually I am impressed that you have kept on with homeschooling to be honest I am wondering if I can keep going.

  5. Holding things together by the skin of my teeth is status quo for me, Jeanne. And I'm not a flood victim. As for all things CM: I tend to say I follow a literary-based education instead of "CM." Nature notebooks we tried in Yr 1and the girls just didn't go for it. Composer and artist studies are catch as catch can. We're all doing the best we can, aren't we, by the grace of God.

    And I completely agree with your thoughts about some knowledge being best left for older ages. As you know, I've had issues with some AO material, preferring to wait until my girls are older before exposing them to certain ideas or circumstances. I don't feel I'm being overly protective, either. Childhood innocence is something that, once lost, will never be regained.

    Love your ideas about Australian history!


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