Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chaos to Order

We are using Math U See for Aaron's math studies. 


He absolutely loves it.  It is very hands-on, and it teaches math in a slow but steady way that allows him to grasp his math concepts.  

We are using Sing, Spell, Read and Write for Aaron's reading.

Sing, Spell, Read & Write ©2004

Again, he loves it.  It, too, is very hands-on.  It, too, teaches one thing at a time, constantly building on the concepts that Aaron's already learned.

Both Math and Reading must be taught in order.

You don't ask kindergartners to solve Algebra problems, or expect a child who hardly knows her alphabet to read War and Peace.

You start them at the beginning.

Just about everyone who is reading this post would almost certainly agree with me.

Why, then, do we treat history differently?

Why do schools and homeschooling curriculums jump kids all over the place when they're teaching them history?


This teaching strategy is CHAOTIC.  And quite frankly, kids don't get it.  

They may remember certain events from history. They may be able to recall certain dates in order to pass their tests. They may even be straight-A students in their social studies or history classes.  But in truth, very few of them actually GET very much of what they're studying.  

In the schools where I grew up, our history curriculum was a hodgepodge.  One year we studied about U.S. history, and then the next we jumped over to Ancient History.  Then back for more U.S. history, and then maybe we jumped over to Asia for a unit or two.  I remember a few whatnots from Africa and other exotic cultures, with perhaps a bit of Geography mixed in; but it was all a hodgepodge.  The vast majority of the time we studied U.S. History but never in the context of World History.  I memorized dates, took tests and never learned to love my history classes.  Ever.

Instead, I spent my spare time reading books.  Most of my favorites were history-related.  I read biographies and autobiographies.  I read historical fiction. I read some classics.  I read some memoirs.  I read dozens of books about World War II and the Holocaust.  I read and I read.

When I reached high school, I enrolled in a World History class for the first time. 

This class was my first introduction to the idea of studying the events of history in the order in which they happened.  It was first time in my life when one of my courses actually followed the Queen of Hearts' droll advice: "Begin at the beginning. Proceed until you come to the end; then Stop."

But it was too late for me.  By that time, I hated school.  History was a jumbled mess in my mind, and I suffered through the class showing as little interest as possible.  

How utterly sad.

I KNOW that I am not the only person who has experienced this.  I have spoken to too many people who have shared my experience.

This is why I tend to be very very passionate about teaching kids history in order, just as we teach math and reading in order.   

Not just once.  This is what is so important: They need to see history unfold OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Once is not enough.

Most children will only begin to see the patterns in history when they hear the stories in order more than once.  They need to see kingdoms rise and fall over and over again, and they need to understand WHY it's all happening.  They need to see God's story and the stories of His people woven into the pages of their history books.  They need to see the seeds of philosophies like communism and fascism planted before they can understand how they grew and bore fruit.  They need to understand the value of our United States Constitution over and against those philosophies. They need to watch the world map change and see geography unfolding in the same way that history unfolds.   

They need to see all of these things over and over again.  They need to see them presented in a way that teaches them to love history, and creates a hunger for more understanding.

BiblioPlan is one way to teach history in order.  There are numerous other programs also.  If you are not using the classical approach consider it.  If you have questions or need some advice on homeschooling - please feel free to FB friend me or e-mail - covenantb@yahoo.com.

I'd love to chat.


  1. Thank you for sharing this....I never thought about how history/geography is taught this way.

  2. I was talking to a boy who is homeschooled just last week and I asked him what his least favorite subject was...his answer....history. My first thought was "What a shame". Ask my boys what their favorite subject is and they will say history. I can promise you that was not their answer before Biblioplan. In fact before Biblioplan my first thought to that boy's answer would have been "That doesn't surprise me." Now I love history as much as my boys do. Even I am learning it in a whole new way. If you are looking for a history curriculum or just are a history buff yourself you need to contact Julia. You will not regret it!!!!

  3. I have to agree - I hated History in school - I'm originally from England, so alot of stuff to cover ! I blamed the teacher he had the most incredibly boring voice in the world - but to this day, I am terrible at history, and embarrassed at times about how little I know of British History - I totally tuned it all out !! I don't homeschool - but have looked at Biblioplan a couple of times, thinking about working on it with my 8 year old afterschool - always looking for stuff to keep him busy when the weather is lousy :) One of these days I might get round to it :)

  4. That is SO SO true and I NEVER even thought about it! Maybe THAT is why I never liked history!


  5. Yes! I agree completely. I felt like I was reinventing the wheel. Now, there are many great choices. Biblioplan looks wonderful!

  6. We used Abeka at the school I went to. My husband actually loves history and I do too. Have you ever looked at Abeka History? What's your thoughts on it? I homeschool my son and use Abeka for math, reading, social studies etc.

  7. It's great to hear how Aaron is doing with his math. I hope I have the opportunity to see him again sometime this year.


  8. Thank you ErinL for sharing! We are going to give Biblioplan a go this next school year. I'm pretty excited, so I like hearing from others who have loved it.

  9. We LOVE the classical approach to history. Have been looking for a math program...will look at Math U See! Thanks :)

  10. My oldest will only be in 2nd grade next year, and I'm happy that we've started out with the classical. My friends who have children in public school do US history until 4th grade, when they get a dose of state history. Only in the 5th grade do they start world history. I think this is also the same approach Abeka takes. We were gifted 2 Abeka history texts, which my daughter loves, but I can't imagine it being the meat of a history program.


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!