Tuesday 17 September 2013

Teaching History Revisited

Teaching history is not solely about the subject of history or a set of isolated events found important by some textbook author. For me personally  learning history chronologically is at the very heart of all our learning. To aid our historical studies we made our own Book of Time. Dates help us to anchor our learning as we mark them off on a time line.

To aid this assimilation of history and to make it more real for my children I have added in family to our book of time including important dates (marriage, immigration and the births of nieces and nephews).

When I started home educating I only had the experience of history via a textbook. I am grateful to Sonlight who introduced me to studying history in the context of excellent literature. I agree with this statement by Jimmie Lanely
 "But living history books — even historical fiction — capture the imagination while informing the mind. The reader soaks in the the facts of history in a natural and enjoyable way that forms a much stronger base of understanding than rote memorization."
his·to·ry noun \ˈhis-t(ə-)rē\
  1. tale, story 
  2. a : a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes
    b : a treatise presenting systematically related natural phenomena
    c : an account of a patient's medical background
    d : an established record  
  3. a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events
  4. a : events that form the subject matter of a history
    b : events of the past
    c : one that is finished or done for
    d : previous treatment, handling, or experience (as of a metal) 
For Us
Sir N is eight this year and we are concentrating on exploring the world around us.  We are working our way through Sonlight's Core curriculums until he is 12 when we will be adding in Mystery of History for the high school years. I am also adding in missionary biographies.  We are currently reading Seed Sowers and a YWAM biography Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose.

Charlotte Mason said, “The fatal mistake is in the notion that [the child] must learn ‘outlines’ of the whole history… just as he must cover the geography of all the world. Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.” Home Education, Vol. 1 Part XVIII.–History, p.280 

Although I have a liking of Charlotte Mason philosophy I am in no way a purist in my approach. I am more an eclectic home schooler in my history studies approach. I have been influenced in my approach by Charlotte Mason, Sonlight and The Well Trained Mind.

For Further Reading
Over the years I have come to realize that history is more than what has been dictated upon us by textbooks at school. It is a rich tapestry of life.  Every single thing that happens every single day is a historical fact. Science, Math, Geography it's all a form of history as every single aspect of every single subject has taken place at some point in time and by adding these points to a time line we grow in our understanding of the world we live in.

"In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction,
drawing the materials of future wisdom 
from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.
Edmund Burke
This post is part of the Homeschool Help series brought to you by a group of homeschool Mom's from around the globe.  Do not forget to visit and read their inspirational insight.

This week


  1. Almost every homeschooling mum I've come across loves the chance to study history chronologically with our kids, to make up for the dreadful textbook experience it seems we all suffered!
    I love the Charlotte Mason quote. She had such a beautiful way with words, didn't she?

    1. I agree Lucinda :) Even in high school I still loved the stories of the people. I think that's why I enjoy it so much now.

  2. I love the timeline link...I really needed that and you saved me from spending time looking for it.

    1. You're welcome Savannah. Do you use a time line ?

  3. Thanks for the mention and quote, Chareen. I appreciate that. This is a valuable post.

    1. You are welcome Jimmie. I enjoyed your insight


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