I don't know if your History experience in school was like mine, but all I remember of History growing up was BOooorrrRING! I remembered very little and was forced to 'memorize' ridiculous facts that I would never have any reason to recall again once the test was taken.
So, in our homeschool, we are taking a different approach, and history is coming alive! Now, don't get me wrong, some of it is still a little boring, but on the whole, we are learning so much and having fun doing it. Much of the things we are learning about, I've never known before, so here I am just as much the student as my kids are, and it's exciting!
This week we are learning about Napoleon's attack on Russia. It's so interesting. Did you know that the Czar Alexander I of Russia lured Napoleon's army in, allowed them to burn and destroy towns and villages along the way and then arrive at Moscow, and he did it on purpose? He had a brilliant plan! He made Napoleon wait to hear his decision of whether he was going to surrender, and while Napoleon waited, winter came and his army was only dressed in summer uniforms. Napoleon was forced to retreat and on the journey back his men began to freeze and starve to death. The reason they had no food was because they themselves had burnt and destroyed the countryside on their way in. By the time Napoleon arrived back in France 600,000 soldiers had died and there were only 40,000 left! We learned lots more, but I thought that part was so interesting.
Today, we learned that Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture was written about this very event. So we read a little about it and then listened to the whole 1812 Overture played by an orchestra on a Youtube video. It starts out with the solemn Russian imperial anthem, then there's a battle sequence where the Russian and French anthems battle for dominance, then Napoleon's retreat and Russia's victory are symbolized by the sounds of military bands, bells and cannons. It was very powerful to listen to the music with the knowledge of what it was about freshly in our heads. All of us sat and listened intently to the whole 15 minutes. Christine remarked at one point in the music, "it just felt like a wave came crashing down on me!" and near the end her comment was "I feel like I'm right there in the battle." Now that's history coming alive!