Volume 1: Ancient Times
From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Empire
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Do your elementary age children know much about history?
If they are like most, the answer is "probably not".
A lot of schools are feeling a time crunch, as they struggle to teach subjects that are required and tested by their state. Since history is not one of those subjects, sadly it often gets left out. But from my perspective, history is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT subjects for our children to learn.
Simply because history repeats itself.
Human nature never changes. Technology might, political boundaries might, but human nature never does. As as the saying goes, "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
I received my bachelor's degree in history and though not it's not really been economically valuable, what I learned has helped me to recognize patterns of good leadership, bad leadership, corruption, loss or shifting of culture, financial cycles, and to know how these things will affect me and my children.
By learning about the past and evaluating the present, we can predict and prepare for the future.
And that is why I love "The Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer. It is absolutely the easiest way for children to learn history and see these cycles. I love how she trains children to see history as a story--because really, that's all it is. So many people get intimidated by names and dates. But it's just a story.
Volume 2: The Middle Ages
From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance
Now, these books I've shown you are part of a larger comprehensive curriculum for homeschoolers--which you may or may not be. But the best thing about "The Story of the World" is that it's written in story form and is also available as a cd--so don't feel like you have to homeschool--just use the cd or read it as a regular storybook!
For example: If your kids are in public school and you'd like to supplement a bit at home, just say to your kids, "Let's listen to a story!" and pop that baby into the cd player in the car when you are driving around town. Or, put it on as your kids are lying in bed, trying to go to sleep. See? It's the easiest thing in the world. No workbooks necessary. No crying or complaining. You can't teach math or spelling like this!
Volume 3: Early Modern Times
From Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners
Susan Wise Bauer tries to incorporate as many things into this series as she can. This book series has hundreds of five star reviews on Amazon, but the few critical one star reviews often pick at what she decided to include or not include. "It's too religious." "It's not Biblical enough." "She incorporates Greek gods and goddesses-those aren't history, they are fiction.", etc.
Basically, the author is trying to give the kids a simplistic large world view, introducing them to as many historical and classical ideas as possible. So yes, the Greek gods are included. But our children need to know where in history those stories come from. Classical stories, whether true or not, have played an important part in forming western culture. We can explain to our children whether we personally believe them or not, but in my opinion, it's important to at least know about them and where they fit into the timeline of the world. The same can be said for Jewish, Christian, and Eastern world-views as well, even if you don't necessarily subscribe to those beliefs either. Everything is included. And personally, I like that.
Volume 4: The Modern Age
From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR
Just a couple of notes about the audio version:
Understanding history is understanding our own story. No matter what resources we choose to use or not, I hope history will have an important place in our families.
Have a great day!
What resources do YOU use to teach YOUR family about the past?
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