I know I’m supposed to write about curriculum today. I want to write about our curriculum — it’s one of my favorite things. I can talk for hours about curriculum and methods. But today I’m really busy, so I offer you my attitude about teaching history.
My favorite subject is history. The time period doesn’t matter; I love it all. I especially love ancient history. I have a sincere respect and affection for things that are old. Especially old buildings (which are few and far between in the US), people, and trees. I look at history as part of my story. After all, somewhere up the family tree my relatives were living then. I allow my imagination to take over while I ponder what life may have been like for them. I wonder if they grasped their place and understood the times in which they were living.
One home schooling goal I have is to inspire a love for learning. And when it comes to history, I want my children to grasp how what happened before affects our lives today and will shape our futures. I want us to understand the times in which we live.
I use lots of books to accomplish this goal. I have been a fan of Sonlight from before I ever had children. I liken our study of history to decorating a Christmas tree: the facts make up the tree and the stories and books are the ornaments. I enjoy all the read-alouds and my kids really get into the stories.
I also help the kids build a timeline. We have used the same timeline book for the last four years, and, let me tell you, history is fascinating when you can see it all in one neat line. Timelines aren’t just for history, though. We include every noteworthy thing from across our curriculum to the timeline. Our timeline even includes little notes about fashion and society. To make it even more personal, we’ve added our birthdays to the timeline. History is happening, and I want my little family to grasp its place in the timeline.
The third thing we do is journal. Sure the kids have to do narrations about their lessons, but they also keep a journal of their days. We are writing our own history. I have to remind them that when they’re older they’ll enjoy reading their histories, that they’ll look back on these days with fondness (oh, how I pray they look back with fondness!). And their children and children’s children will enjoy their journals. The few papers I have from my great-grandmother always make me smile. My uncle has her old Bible, and I love to flip through it and read her margin notes. It’s a little piece of my own history; it helps me feel connected to the past. Our journals will do that for future generations.
So, here’s our history lesson today. This clip offers a little of our history, commentary on our present, and a prognostication for the future. Pay attention, class.
Each turn of the century has seen incredible changes. Do you realize the times we are living in? Are you keeping a journal? Future generations will want to know what life was like in America in 2009.