The Delight is in the Details
What does it take to spark a love of history? When learning takes place at the home hearth, the opportunities to discover history are vast. We could literally devote a whole lifetime studying each millennium of the past. Yet the humanity of history is in its details. Think about it, would you rather study a time line of the 43 U.S. presidents or study the persons, places and experiences that shaped each president’s character and how his life affects us today for good or evil? It’s the difference between studying a valley from Google Map to hiking through the valley; both can be valuable but it is the one of detailed experience that will linger with you for life.
So what are some ways we can make the details of history real to children?
Study Deep Instead of Wide
Choose a historical subject, era or person that captivates your child and dive in deep. Recently I’ve become fascinated with William Wilberforce. I read everything I can about the man. His period of English history isn’t even one I’m highly drawn to, yet there is something in Wilberforce’s legacy which calls across the barriers of space and time to me. In him I find a friend and brother who, through Christ’s truth, changed a society not unlike my own.
History is full of such relevant themes and people. Do your sons spend playtime mimicking Ernest Shackleton and his brave explorers? Leverage their interest to your advantage and delve into the lives, character and times of these men. If your daughter adores southern ladies of the Civil War days, read her biographies about Dixieland’s daughters and how the culture of the South shaped their worldview. As long as your children’s interest holds, go deeper, deeper.
Read First-hand Accounts When Possible
Our family has two audio books based off the memoirs and letters of American pioneer women. The details they share about the victories and struggles of that wild period are vivid. No modern account can ever match the realness – let alone charm – of eye witness accounts. How can they? Who would know the times better than those who made them? Though records of contemporaries does not guarantee truth, the chances for bias, misconceptions and myth are filtered somewhat when written from first-hand knowledge.
Connect the Consequences of History To Their Lives
Because we live in a culture that despises the past, children are no longer taught the choices of yesterday are the consequences of tomorrow.It takes time and effort, but train yourself to see how past decisions, ideas and beliefs have influenced our current world. Then train your children.
So when unlocking history, get the magnifying glass out. Uncover the colors, the hues, the fine-tipped pencil strokes. Let the individual voices and places of history speak and follow the ones which resonate with your child. Then dive into the delightful details.
Kenzi Knapp desires to proclaim the reconciliation of Mankind through the blood of Jesus Christ. A homeschool graduate currently enrolled in God’s Great Course of Faith, Kenzi lives with her family on an Ozark homestead. She enjoys writing, biking, playing the piano and mountain ocarina, studying history and encourages young women to build mission-centered businesses at her blog, Honey Rock Hills.