Because mankind is not the prime force in the universe …God is. He initiates; we respond. History, therefore, is not first about what people do. It is first about what God does and says, and secondly about what people believe and do in response. The exploration of history, then, should reveal God and His truth, not glorify the achievements of mankind. Indeed, the kings, artists, philosophers, writers, and scientists cannot even be understood until seen for who they are – people motivated by basic beliefs about God, whether true or untrue. The consequences of beliefs are displayed in history…and teach us all. Let us, then, not be found teaching humanistic history. Let us learn of civilization in a way that reveals the God whose name is Truth. Your children will realize the only source of freedom is God’s laws, and the only source of human worth is God’s love for us. Once common knowledge, our society now thinks the opposite…and suffers for it.
Michelle Miller, TruthQuest History website, www.TruthQuestHistory.com
Here, too, is a subject which should be to the child an inexhaustible storehouse of ideas, should enrich the chambers of his House Beautiful with a thousand tableaux, pathetic and heroic, and should form in him, insensibly, principles whereby he will hereafter judge of the behaviour of nations, and will rule his own conduct as one of a nation…Let him…linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.
Charlotte Mason, Home Education, pages 279-280
A Book of Centuries is simply a notebook with at least one sheet for each century where the child can make brief notations or drawings of each historical event they’ve studied. They can also include sketches of museum artifacts, inventions, costumes, musical instruments, tools, weapons, pottery, etc. Brochures, written narrations, copywork, maps, charts, timelines, and photographs of field trips can also be stored. The notebook can be added to throughout K-12. CM briefly mentions century charts on page 177 of vol. 6. A Parent’s Review article goes into more detail: http://www.amblesideonline.org/PR/PR02p081Chronology.shtml
Key Living Books and Resources that can be used along with the Bible, which is the cornerstone for understanding history. After all, it’s HIS-story!
- A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer. One of the most delightfully interesting storytellers for children, ever! Great author for narration – in fact that’s exactly what he suggests you do at the end of each chapter. Assumes the reader is a Christian, but he presents evolution as a fact, so you may wish to skip the 1st few chapters and do some occasional editing. A Child’s Geography of the World by V.M. Hillyer is dated but is another fascinating source for history!
- Young People’s Story of Our Heritage Series by V.M. Hillyer & E.G. Huey; Fine Art, Architecture, and Sculpture in 5 volumes, 1966 Children’s Press reprint of A Child’s History of Art with paintings in color. Humorous, memorable stories!
- 50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin is free at AmblesideOnline.org.
- The Wall Chart of World History, 1890 timeline, expanded to 1997, of 6000 years of world history starting with Adam and with lifelines of people from the Bible.
- History Through the Ages by Amy Pak, www.homeschoolinthewoods.com. Timeline figures from creation to present. Have children color while you read aloud. Dover Publishing has a series of coloring books on historical topics that can also be enjoyed during read-alouds.
- Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps CD-ROM. Can also find maps on the internet, have children label and color.
- The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos and The Victor Journey Through the Bible by V. Gilbert Beers are good Bible helps.
- That the World May Know Faith Lessons DVD Series by Ray Vander Laan, gives Jewish cultural and historical background to aid in understanding Bible; challenges the viewer to impact their culture for Christ; excellent!!! A few episodes may need editing for elementary-aged students.
- Foxes’ Book of Martyrs by John Foxe is good for high school.
- Trial & Triumph: Stories from Church History by Richard Hannula
- Great Christians: Their Response and Witness by Catherine Herzel
- Fire Upon the Earth by N. F. Langford (good church history but may not like the tone of the last chapter).
- Hero Tales series by Jackson (includes missionaries) are good stories for all ages.
- Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred A. Martin are good stories for all ages.
- How Should We Then Live? book and DVD series by Francis Schaeffer, Biblical Worldview of western civilization good for high school and as a parent reference.
- The Gift of Music by Smith & Carlson, Christian worldview of the history of music good for high school and as a parent reference.
- Adventures in Art by David Quine, Charlotte Mason’s method of picture study with emphasis on worldview from Francis Shaeffer’s writings, excellent resource!!!
- God and the History of Art by Barry Stebbing, text and quotes of artists that professed Christ along with instruction in art technique…probably the best, well-rounded art course available!
- The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls: Vol. 6, The Story of Art and Music by Elizabeth Gutman (Art) and Ruth Goode (Music).
- My Book House edited by Olive Beaupre Miller. Vol. 1 has poetry from many lands and times. Vol. 10 has abridged versions of historical literature.
- Childcraft, along with the 1984 and 1988 Annuals, is another good source of history stories for young children.
- God’s Mighty Hand: Providential Occurrences in World History by Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler, stories from 984 AD – 1997 AD.
- Invitation to the Classics by Cowan & Guiness analyzes worldview of authors.
- Men of Science, Men of God by Henry Morris, very brief bios.
- Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Series by Wolgemuth & Tada, book with CD has brief biographies, devotionals, and music for all ages.
- Birthdays of Freedom from Early Man to July 4, 1776 by Genevieve Foster. All of her “Year of” & “World of” books fit Miss Mason’s above quote perfectly!
- What in the World’s Going on Here? (world) and That’s Why They Call it GRACE (church history) tapes/CDs by Diana Waring, excellent Judeo-Christian worldview!
- Historical Devotional: The Amazing History of God’s Mighty Deeds CDs narrated by evangelist historian Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler. Audios on the Reformation, American history 1492-1890’s, history of our calendar and holidays, 10 godly presidents and 10 valiant women. Geared to all ages but use caution with protected younger children as there are warnings about the dangers of alcoholism, immoral behavior, etc. Good character is stressed and the accounts are especially exciting for boys.
- Your Story Hour CDs, vol. 1-7, Wholesome, old dramatized radio shows with character-building biography, history, and adventure stories.
Literature Guides from a Biblical Perspective that Use Living Books:
- TruthQuest History series by Michelle Miller. This is history from a Biblical worldview as well as an excellent list of books and films showing grade interest level, K – 12; my favorite!
- Beautiful Feet’s History Through Literature Series by Rea Berg with good ideas for copywork and discussion questions.
- Greenleaf’s Famous Men Series and Study Guides edited and/or written by Rob and Cyndy Shearer, covers some biographies that are hard to find else where. The study guides have useful info and vocabulary lists to help prepare for reading and narration.
- The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray, unit study utilizing The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Book Lists for History:
- See Carole Seid’s excellent article (from her history workshop) and list at www.angelfire.com/al3/merchandise/teaching_history.html
- All Through the Ages by Christine Miller, www.nothingnewpress.com. Book lists for grades 1-12 of chronological history, geography, science and math, art and music, and great books of Christian tradition (great discussion, literature, poetry, drama)
- Let the Authors Speak: A Guide to Worthy Books Based on Historical Setting by Carolyn Hatcher
- Turning Back the Pages of Time: A Guide to American History Through Literature compiled by Kathy Keller
Exciting historical fiction not to be missed because of powerful Christian content: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (ages 12 and up); The Black Foxe of Lorne by Marguerite DeAngeli (all ages); Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (all ages); We Were There with Cortes and Montezuma by Benjamin Appel (all ages but do use caution with sensitive young ones. This is my son’s favorite adventure book. The author does a good job of relating the Catholic motivation of Cortes and the horrors of human sacrifice in a way that is appropriate for children.); What’s Mine’s Mine by George MacDonald (senior high).
Authors and series of special interest to Christians because of their emphasis on character and the consequences of sin from a Biblical worldview or strong message of living for Christ: G.A. Henty, R. M. Ballantyne, Sir Walter Scott (CM was a big fan of his historical fiction; great for high school showing how Christian men should view and treat women), George MacDonald (his Scottish histories are also great for high school showing how Christian men should view and treat women), Charlotte M. Yonge, Elizabeth Yates, Elizabeth Shippen, Tracy Leininger Craven, Patricia St. John, Charles Coffin, The Light and Glory Series by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Sowers Series of biographies by Mott Media, A Life of Faith Series by Mission City Press, Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes Series by Dave & Neta Jackson (my youngest said these make me cry more than any other book; moving accounts! )
Some favorite history authors: Marguerite DeAngeli, VM Hillyer, Genevieve Foster, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Fitch Perkins, Lois Lenski, James Daugherty, Holling C. Holling, David Macaulay, Opal Wheeler (music bios/BookPeddler), Ernest Raboff (art bios), Charles Coffin, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Clara Ingram Judson, Jean Lee Latham, Elizabeth Yates, Elizabeth Shippen, Earl S. Miers, Eric Sloane, Edwin Tunis, Dr. Albert Marrin, Rosemary Sutcliff, Charlotte Yonge.
Picture books by Alice Dagliesh, Aliki, Margaret Early, Diane Stanley (may need a little editing), Marcia Sewall, Robert Sabuda, Patricia Polacco, Jonathan Hunt, Cheryl Harness, and the D’Aulaires.
Step-Up, Childhood of Famous Americans, Cornerstones of Freedom, We Were There, Signature, and Landmark are all good history series for early and intermediate readers.
Greenleaf Press, Beautiful Feet, Vision Forum, Christian Liberty Press, Rod & Staff, Keepers of the Faith, Lamplighter, and The Book Peddler are publishers of biographies and histories.
Compiled by Beth S., April 2006, February 2010