Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Had your history today?

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana
Hmmm, so... does that mean that studying history is important? One of the things that I really agonized over when I was putting together our homeschool curriculum was how to teach our kids history. I remember my own meager education in history, fraught with dry text-books and unenthusiastic teachers and was determined that my children were going to get a strong and solid history education. The neo-classical educational model I am following recommends that a child's education be composed of three 4-year world history cycles. The first cycle being more or less exposure and introduction to world history, with the subsequent two cycles delving more in depth. For our first cycle we are using the Story of the World series of books written by Susan Wise Bauer. All I can say is.... these books are awesome. We started the first book about Ancient times last year around Christmas. It is written to be a broad scope of the most important events in Ancient History up to the Fall of Rome. Now the book only has forty-two chapters, so when I say broad, I mean broad. But, I believe it touches on the most important events that had bearing on the furtherance of World Civilizations. And instead of being a dull, dry text book, The Story of the World is written in narrative form, bringing out interesting tid-bits and trivia that stick in a person's mind and help them remember.
Now, you may be thinking... that's all well and good for a homeschooler. But, we're not a homeschooling family, so why are you telling us about this book? I'll tell you why... because it's a great book for everyone. The chapters are short, only 2-3 pages - perfect for bedtime reading or any kind of story time. It's an interesting book. I've learned a lot myself, so even if you don't have kids, it's a great, easy to read informative book. It's also on tape, so you could pop it in when you're driving as well. Right now we're studying the Romans. Have you ever heard of the Punic Wars? Do you know what they are? Well, we learned today that the Punic Wars were the wars Rome fought with Carthage and that's where Hannibal and the elephants came in. Great stuff for young boys. Great stuff for moms!

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