Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Third Great Lesson Adaptations

Not long ago I gave you all a sneak peak at the timeline I was making to follow The Third Great Lesson:  The Coming of Humans.  If you are wondering why I am not following the Third Great Lesson with the traditional First Timeline of Humans (If you are looking for a printer-friendly Timeline of Humans you can print one for free at Cultivating Dharma.) I addressed that question yesterday in the post titled The Great Lessons and Religion.

I have three different Montessori Elementary History albums that I dip into.  The main album I use is the Keys of the Universe (KotU) album. I also have a history album from Cultivating Dharma (CD, not available on their website) and one from Mid America Montessori (MA).  

In the KotU album (an AMI album) the Third Great Lesson is a story that is told without materials.  The Great Lesson itself is then followed by several key works:  The Hand Timeline, The Clock of Eras, and then the FIrst Timeline of Humans.  The story that is used for the Great Lesson is very similar to this one at Moteaco.  The Fundamental Needs of Man lessons are included in the album among the Third Great Lesson follow up presentations, but is really independent of the Third Great Lesson.  The Fundamental Needs works are an important part of the curriculum and can be used frequently in a lot of different ways.  The album even state that you can present those works early in the school year even before any of the Great Lessons.

The CD album does not have a separate story that is the Third Great Lesson on its own. Instead, the album has you present The Hand Timeline (A) followed by the Fundamental Needs works (B).  Next it dives right into the First Timeline of Humans.  The First Timeline of Humans is spread out across four presentations (C) and is followed by the Second Timeline of Humans (D).  Finally in part E a story is told that is similar to the Great Lesson story provided in the Moteaco and KotU albums.

The MA albums are difficult to use in general.  Some of them (but not all) are more a collection of presentations and resources than an album you can follow.  Therefore, no real order is present here.  I can say that no story similar to the KotU and Moteaco story is provided.

So, if you were confused about whether the Third Great Lesson has materials or not, or includes timelines or not it may be because different albums do different things.  They key is to not get obsessed about it, pick an album, and go with it.  Unless you plan to change it all, LOL!

What I have decided to do is write a story to stand on its own as the Third Great Lesson. There was some discussion regarding the story in the comments section of yesterday's post.  Some families have no problem using the story as is, even when they are approaching things from a Young Earth perspective.  What is important about the existing story is that it introduces two ideas:

1.  That Earth was very specifically prepared for human life.
2. That humans are special and different from all previous creation.

Unfortunately one of the themes of the existing story is that Men were created defenseless and, unlike animals, didn't know what to eat or drink.  In Sunday school the boys will learn that at the beginning man had no predators (animals weren't dangerous) and that God told them precisely what to eat (any of the plants in the Garden with the exception of one).  

The timelines that follow this Great Lesson focus on Man's development from Neanderthal to Renaissance Man, so to speak.  The timelines show changes in the "types" of humans that existed over time as well as their "achievements"  (such as fire, speech, tools, shelter, etc.,).  The story combined with the timelines get the child thinking about Man's Fundamental Needs but also outline human history against a backdrop of "Man's Accomplishments."  

Our family would rather outline human history against the backdrop of God's plan for us.  For this reason, our Third Great Lesson will fulfill a slightly different purpose than the original.  However, our new Great Lesson will provide an excellent jumping off point for studying the purposes of the original lesson.  So, in the end we still have five carefully selected lessons that will open doors to all avenues of learning.

The story I will be telling the boys will start with the two important points from the original story stated above and segue into the "Seven C's of History."  The Seven C's are:  Creation, Corruption (The Fall), Catastrophe (The Flood), Confusion (Tower of Babel), Cross, and Consummation (return of Christ in the future).  The purposes of original story will easily be attained. We explore the skills that Man has developed and the way he meets Fundamental Needs in the wake of events such as The Flood and the Tower of Babel.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I will be using the Answers for Kids Bible Curriculum from Answers in Genesis as part of our daily devotions.  If you don't know how to talk to your kid about these issues from a Young Earth perspective, this scripted book will be a big help.  I will borrow portions of the scripts to tell our Third Great Lesson story.  We will follow the Third Great Lesson story with Fundamental Needs work and a homemade timeline that replaces the First and Second Timelines of Humans.  I wanted to show the new timeline RIGHT NOW, but this post is already super long.  Please forgive me as I delay ONE MORE DAY and put the timeline details up tomorrow.  Sorry!

We started having scheduled time in the school room again yesterday.  I had to cut the boys off after they completed a FOUR HOUR work period.  Kal-El put so many cards in his work plan I thought it was going to explode...and he only got to a couple cards!  While I have been wrapping up this post, they have been in the school room memorizing the countries of Africa with the puzzle map, sewing, and spelling with the movable alphabet.  I do NOT kick of the first week with a bunch of new materials in the room and a bunch of new lessons, or even the Great Lessons.  The first week they are just so happy to get back into familiar work.  When the newness of being back on schedule wears off I'll pull out some new work and the Great Lessons.

  • You can read about why we are modifying the Third Great Lesson at The Great Lessons and Religion.
  • You can also read about my Modified Timeline of Humans.


    1. Wow! Sounds like you have really been thinking a lot! It is a great plan and I totally agree that this is something that you need to make sure is really consistent for your kids. I love that you are making it your own! I cant wait to see your timeline! It sounds like the start to an amazing year!

      1. Thank you for stopping by Stephanie! I know how busy everyone is this time of year. I am SO glad the timeline is done. It's such an important part of the Montessori experience and has been hanging over my head for so long. Now that it's done, it's done forever. Woohoo!

    2. I can't wait to see the timeline, either! I agree with you - I *thought* I would start the year off with a bang, it didn't happen that way, and boy am I glad! This is our second week in, and finally starting to feel them catch on to the sway of things again! Looking forward to tomorrow's post :)

      1. I am TOTALLY a fan of easing in and sticking with the old things for a while! I save my "bangs" for the hard, long weeks when everyone's tired of the same old, same old. Just call me the queen of "fizzle in" and "fizzle out."