This is a continuation in the series on Why We Homeschool.
Here is my explanation of Hoyer Educational Pillar #2:(2) As their worldview is shaped by the precepts of Scripture, they will be presented with the history of Man from the Fall as a story of the unfolding majesty of God's plan of Grace.
When my oldest was just four and I began considering homeschooling, I was blessed to read The Well Trained Mind by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. It clicked with my mental picture of what a great home education could be, and I devoured the reasoning, recommendations, and techniques found within its pages. One of the things that I loved about the classical approach laid forth in The Well Trained Mind was the emphasis on studying history chronologically. What a concept! Start at the beginning and see how the history of the world unfolds. Brilliant!
I do not want to complain about my education, because it really was pretty decent. But, I feel as though I studied the period of history from the American Revolution to the Civil War several thousand times. Really. I can’t remember studying other periods in history at all. I’m sure I did. But obviously the emphasis was on this period in history.
As a Christian, I believe that our Lord is sovereign. He created the universe and has already dictated who will rise to power, what civilizations will flourish, and the outcome of every war and skirmish. It is very important to me that history not be presented as a series of chance events which have culminated in our present society, but that the history of the world is shown as the unfolding grace of God. I also want there to be no disconnect between the Bible stories we learn in the Scriptures and the “secular” history that everyone believes. I want my kids to know that the lush palace life of the Egyptians was enjoyed by Moses in his youth; when the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell it was to the Assyrians; when Daniel was being divinely protected from the raging lions in the lion’s den, he was in Babylon after the exile of Judah.
So how do you go about teaching history as the unfolding majesty of God’s plan of grace when the world would have you think that some accidental cosmic explosion brought this world into being and that you evolved from animals? Get thee a good study Bible and read the notes and introductions! I LOVE my MacArthur Study Bible for this. When planning to study the Babylonians or the Hittites or the Assyrians, find out what your Bible says about these people. What books of the Bible line up with your current topic? Not only will your children be blessed to see that Bible history and school history are one in the same, but you will be blessed for being in the Word of God and seeing just how magnificently His Word lines up with history. You will see that His Word IS history: factual and truthful.
My favorite pick for elementary history is, without question, The Story of the World 4-year history curriculum written by Susan Wise Bauer (who co-authored the Well Trained Mind.) It is a great narrative of history, written in small, digestible chunks in lovely story form. The accompanying Activity Guide offers coloring pages, maps, recommended reading, and crafts/activities. Bauer is a Christian, although the curriculum is not overtly so, allowing for your own personal Bible study to nicely augment the selections. Having maps and globes displayed about the house and available is also key in understanding history. Show them where, roughly, the Garden of Eden was located. Where is the Red Sea that the Lord parted for the Israelites? As missionaries began carrying the truth to far off places, where exactly did they go with the Good News of Christ?
My oldest boy, a history junkie, currently loves some Teaching Company courses he is taking, called Early Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. Now, at age 12, his own Bible study and knowledge is brought to bear on what he sees and hears in these video lectures. It is wonderful to discuss these things with him! And it’s wonderful when he pauses the lecture to say, “That doesn’t really line up with the Truth.”
Yes. It is a blessing to see fruits of my labors and God’s abundant mercy in my children. It makes the time and the effort so very, very worth it.