As a homeschooling mom I never struggled with figuring out what I wanted my kids to learn. The problem came with knowing where to stop. After sitting down one year to figure out my high schooler’s schedule, I came up with fourteen subjects. FOURTEEN! Uh, I had a trim that down a little bit.
I have the same problem when I look at Amanda’s Unit Studies: Horses, Gardens, Space, oh my! I want to do it all.
As a historical writer I’ve often had the same problem. It’s easy to dig into research, it’s hard to know when to stop and write the book. Thankfully for my new novel, Chasing Mona Lisa , I had a co-writer to help with the process. Mike Yorkey (former editor of Focus on the Family Magazine ) is also a WWII history buff. He also lived in Switzerland with his wife Nicole who is Swiss.
What I love about historical fiction is feeling as if I’m living history. With fiction you don’t just learn facts and dates. Readers get to experience thoughts and emotions similar to those who lived during that time.
I’ve also discovered that by having my teens read a novel, it’s like adding in another “subject” in my own homeschooling classroom while my kids think they’re just in for a fun read!
Here are a few things we discovered about France, August 1944 while we were researching Chasing Mona Lisa :
• the Nazis bought up tons of art as well as confiscated magnificent pieces from Jewish families
• the Parisians rose up and fought the Nazis in the days leading up to Liberation
• Paris was liberated without much warfare or bloodshed
• the Louvre curators hid the Mona Lisa and other famous pieces in their collection during the war
• the Mona Lisa was moved around like a pea in a shell game and was hung in a girl’s bedroom during the war
• Allen Dulles, an American, ran a spy network in Switzerland. The OSS was the precursor to the CIA
• there was skimming and “Swiss bank accounts” among the Nazis (I bet you’re not surprised!)
Mike and I learned much more in the process, and I’ve enjoyed sharing it with my teens. Chasing Mona Lisa is a book you can read with your teenagers as you study France with your whole family!
To find out more about Chasing Mona Lisa go to: http://us148.siteground.us/~triciag6/historicalfiction.html# ChasingMonaLisa
How have you used historical fiction in your homeschool?
Also, don’t forget the LIVE chat with me, Mike Yorkey, and homeschool maven Amanda Bennett on Monday. We will share first hand observations and research about France and her history and reveal the fascinating true story behind Chasing Mona Lisa.
Join us On February 13 from 7-8:30 PM CST. For fun, prizes, and history! For more information and to RSVP click this link.