1.02.2014

Why Start with World History?



When you think about your goals for educating your child(ren), what are your priorities? What are your goals, and how do you hope to accomplish them?

My top priority and goal is that my daughters know and love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves {see Matthew 22:37-40}.

For me, knowing & loving God includes loving the people He created and knowing His story - from the very beginning {...a very good place to start!}. So when I was searching for a homeschool curriculum years ago, I was looking for something that would help my girls learn about other people, culture, and times.

Here are a couple of the reasons why I felt it was best for our family to go with a curriculum that begins teaching world history & culture at around age 5 (kindergarten):

It is not "me"-centric.
God's story starts long before my daughters were born - and should He tarry, it will continue after their days here are done. Their lives are but an infinitesimally small blip on the timeline of history; they take up so little space on the vastness of our planet! And even though they are precious and unique and loved dearly, I want them to see from the get-go that life does not revolve around them, or this house, or our way of doing things, or this town, county, state...we are part of something much, much grander. The everlasting and infinitely awesome story of what God is doing everywhere, all the time.

My children are bombarded with the message almost everywhere I take them and in every DVD they watch and any toy they own that life is all about them and what they want and that they should follow their heart and do whatever they want. I want to show them that joy is not found in a selfish, self-centered existence but in the wonder of how amazing God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do. Learning about history while they are young helps plant the seeds of awe and wonder in their hearts.

It cultivates an appreciation (not just tolerance) for differences.
We live in an area of the country that is not culturally or racially diverse in many ways. I feel like I'd be doing my daughters a big disservice if I allowed them to begin their lives thinking most people lived just like them. Teaching world history & world cultures allows the girls & I to explore how things have changed over time and just how many definitions of 'normal' there are all over the earth - and how God made each culture beautiful as it is.

My daughter Abby (6) loves the old Viking/Nordic/Germanic tribe ways of life. When a well-meaning cashier asked her one day why she wasn't in school, she responded (politely, and excitedly) that she learns at home and that she wanted to build a longhouse like the Vikings some day, and have a fire inside her house! She still thinks that is the best. And she'd have missed that if we'd started social studies with her and her community.

And here are a few of the unforeseen but delightful outcomes of teaching world history at such a young age:

My daughters have learned that they can be world-changers.
God says many times in His word that when we pray in faith according to His will, and intercede in Jesus' name - He will do what we ask of Him. When my daughters stop to pray for people half a world away - He moves. They may never see what He does in response to their prayer, but we are assured He moves. By teaching them about history (and the effects that decisions through history have on current situations), they can pray with wisdom and power, knowing they are partnering with the God of the universe to change hearts and lives around the world.

For example, we have been learning about Abraham, Ishmael, & Isaac during Bible time and also about the beginning of Islam during history, and we are studying the geography of the Middle East as well. My daughters now understand that there is an important connection between Israel and the Arab people, and the land they occupy - and both nations have Abraham as their father with a common claim to the land. You should hear them pray for the dear people there!

They have been encouraged to dream bigger dreams for God.
When my oldest daughter was just barely 5 years old, she decided that she wants to be a 'missionary ballerina to India' someday (her own words). And she has not yet changed her mind. I cannot explain how drawn she is to the Indian people. At age 7, Indian woman are precious to her. She likes to look up YouTube videos of the different dances they do, and what they mean - and she wants to learn to dance so she can go there and tell them a story by dancing. The story of God.

All this, because we studied the Harrapan civilization and did a brief overview of India and Hinduism when she was five. And I take her dream seriously, because I want her to know that it is a good thing to dream big. Our God gives big dreams and is able to fulfill them in His time, in His way. (We see that often while studying world history, too!)
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I realize that this method won't work for every child - and that's okay! I just want to share our experience. We use Sonlight for the core of our homeschooling and have found it to be a perfect fit for us in almost every single way. {this is not an affiliate link.}

How about you? Do you teach your little ones history - and what resources have you found work well for you?

Raising world-changers & big dreamers,
for His story & His glory!
~Lisha

I may be sharing this at these Link-up parties!
If this post has blessed, encouraged, or inspired you, please comment and share!

21 comments:

  1. Great post! Very thought provoking for me, a mom who's just starting the homeschooling journey. :) Visiting from the Thrive @ Home link up!

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    1. It can be such an amazing journey, Cameron! Blessings to you as you begin!! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words :)

      ~Lisha

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  2. I love the ideas & reasons you set forth here! I think you've hit on some great - and godly- ideas! My daughter's first exposure to history has been the Bible - so much of world history is there! And, when we encounter different cultures (our Indian playmate, our Chinese dinner, visit Grandma overseas, etc) we do a little research on the culture & place.

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    1. Thanks, Anna. Yes, the Bible is our main source for history, too! We've found that having a timeline where we plot biblical events (like the Exodus, etc), and other world happenings (like the building of the pyramids) help the girls see that yes - the Bible is a reliable and necessary source for history :)

      And I love it when real life happenings encourage our kids to want to research more!

      I'm so glad you've stopped by - thanks for the encouragement!
      ~Lisha

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  3. I loved Sonlight. I hope to use it again when I can afford it.
    Blessings,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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    1. Sonlight is just a wonderful curriculum! I have a friend who would buy just the instructor's guides and worksheets and then check out most of the books from the library as needed (or buy used copies online) - it took a little more time, but she cut costs significantly that way.

      Thank you for stopping by, Laura!
      ~Lisha

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  4. I also homeschool my kids. I tried Sonlight but found it overwhelming so I'm more eclectic in my approach. A little of this and a little of that. :)

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    1. One of the glorious aspects of homeschooling is finding what fits your family and running with it!! If you don't mind my asking, what do you use, Stephanie?

      Blessings!
      ~Lisha

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  5. I am not a homeschooler, but I love Sonlights book list and use that as an aid to what we read together. Nice thought-provoking post! :)

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    1. That is a great idea, Jenny! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

      ~Lisha

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  6. I use a variety of things for teaching history. I must say that I love the little weekly readers from Studies Weekly. The pictures are so colorful and the stories are narrated by children sometimes. History is more fun for my little one when she can make a project out of whatever topic we are discussing. So, we do quite a bit of projects in our house....

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    1. Thanks for sharing what you use, Sharon! I've never heard of Studies Weekly. My oldest daughter LOVES projects, and is always making pottery/togas/broadswords/newspapers/etc as we work our way through the years.

      I'm so glad you stopped by! I'll have to look up Studies Weekly. :)
      ~Lisha

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  7. This is a wonderfully well-written post on a very important topic. It's wonderful that your kids are getting these experiences. That is my concern with kids growing up, that many of them are so me-centered and that at times (like Christmas) they have demands and expectations that many parents want to fulfill, but financially cannot. Our kids got books and things from us, but we can't afford electronic gadgets and gizmos. My kids are growing up in South Africa where they have met kids who don't have birthday parties. We've gone on outreaches (like Zambia) with the three bigger kids and they have seen first-hand how other people live. I think my kids have more compassion because they get to see a bigger picture. God bless!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Tina! I think you've brought up an important point, too - that as they get older it's important for us to lead by example and find ways to serve others in different walks of life! That way, it's not just the history & geography books that show us the differences; it becomes our reality.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)
      ~Lisha

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  8. I'm visiting from Walking Redeemed's link up today =)

    We don't homeschool but I like your approach! My son just turned two and we try to teach him as much as we can but we don't have any set curriculum- just a lot of books, songs, arts/crafts. Do you have any recommendations for a child this young?

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    1. Vanessa, in my experience, at 2 the best things you can do are what you are already doing: reading, playing, talking to him!

      When my oldest daughter was barely three, I purchased a more structured curriculum and she hated it. We switched over to just reading one or two classic stories a day (Sonlight's P3/4) and just making a point to play with her and talk to her a lot and that made a world of difference.

      One book that has been so valuable is Bobbi Conner's "Unplugged Play" - you can get it on Amazon. It has hundreds of amazing and simple play ideas for infants up through about age 10. I reference it often and it's been such a help with my now 3-year-old who loves to get into everything.

      It sounds like you're on the right track, Vanessa! I'm so thankful you stopped by! Blessings,
      Lisha :)

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  9. Wonderful post Lisha! And my favorite subject! Happy to have found your blog today over on the Homemaking link up :)

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    1. Thank you. I was more of a math kid when I was in school, but the way we are learning history now has made it one of my favorites to teach. I'm grateful you've stopped by!

      ~Lisha :)

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  10. Nice to see you at the A Nurse's Wildflowers homeschool weekly moments and musings link-up. I love this post. I wasn't always a history fan growing up because I went to a traditional school and it was boring. But in homeschool we can make this fun and show our children why it is truly important to know our history. I love history and I hope that my children will grow a deep love for it as yours have. We use Classical Conversations as the starting point for our history study.

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    1. Thank you! I agree completely, and it's been a blessing to learn right alongside them, in total awe of how it's all intertwined.

      I've heard wonderful comments about CC and it sounds kind of similar to Sonlight! Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a sweet week!
      ~Lisha

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing them with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

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