Sunday, September 14

History

History is the study of the men and women who have lived before us. There are dates and battles and laws and royal lineages to memorize, true; very necessary stuff, but we do not study history so that we can go around saying, "See what I know? Aren't I smart?" It is, above all else a story of mankind, the choices men have made, and the consequences of their actions. Facts can be memorized without learning the story and without understanding "what" happened. I believe in teaching facts, especially in the early stage (K-4th) when their little minds are like sponges and they can spout all manner of information they don't begin to understand. But the primary focus during our history lessons is the character lesson. "What did they do? What did that affect? What options did they have? What would have happened if....?"

The Bible is rich with history: The family lines, the traditions, great men and women remembered. I loved using Mystery of History, combined with Story of the World for our first year of history lessons. It started with Creation and walked through the Bible and what was happening around the world at the times of the stories that are so familiar to us. It is so easy to separate the Bible from our history books within our minds. But they both happened and they both happened at the same time. These texts gave us such a big picture view of history and how history began.

We learn with a Classical Education, focusing on history and Latin, complimented with "living books." We study our history chronologically, dividing it into four time periods:

Ancients 6000 BC-AD 400
Medieval/Early Renaissance AD 400-1600
Late Renaissance/Early Modern 1600-1850
Modern 1850-Present

These are studied within the trivium: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric, which is a fancy way of saying we match the level and method of study to their abilities. Grammar soaks, Dialectic examines, Rhetoric expresses. My boys are just entering the dialectic stage. My girls are just entering Grammar. Next year, the boys and I study Modern and then the next year, the girls will join us in studying the Ancients. If necessary, I will wait one extra year to be sure the girls are ready. This way, we can all study within the same time period.

Our science, geography, and our reading coincide with these history lessons. I read books aloud, cuddled upon the couch every evening. Our stories nearly always coincide with what we're studying in history. I assign reading during that day which also coincides. At night, the boys get their mind-candy reading time. I have been unsuccessful in convincing the boys that history based stories can also be mind-candy. I know they love these stories when we read them together, but they never gravitate towards them of their own accord. I'll keep trying though. I'm a big believer in brainwashing.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Can I come and sit in on one of your classes?

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