History: What to Study First

Dear Reader,

I wanted to write a post on how we are approaching ancient history and then I thought I should step even further back and talk about the order we have studied history in and why.

We began history 5 years ago with American history. The first year we focused just on explorers beginning with the vikings, including Marco Polo, and moving on to Columbus and other explorers of the Americas. We even included those who came later like Lewis and Clark, Arctic exploration, and the discovery of the Grand Canyon. My oldest was in first grade at the time and this seemed like a good, inviting way to get into history. The following three years were spent on American history proper. Having already covered exploration, we began with the settlement of the US. We pretty much covered what we could get through in a school year. For us that worked out to one year from Jamestown through the Revolution, one year from the Constitution through the Civil War, and about a year and a half for everything after the Civil War (we decided to plow right through that year and not take a break from history for the summer since it seemed silly to stop in the middle of the 20th century).

For those just beginning to study history, the biggest question you have to ask yourself is where to begin: American history or ancient? I really liked the Truthquest series for American History and this is all they have for younger students. Their reasoning is that one should not introduce the pagan gods to younger students lest they become confused. I have to say, even without us formally studying it, my oldest son has always been fascinated by ancient Greece so he was not spared an introduction to the gods just because we started with America. It has never been a stumbling block for him and I have to say it is hard for me to imagine a younger child confused by whether he is to believe in Christ or Zeus.

For us the main reason to start with American history was just that it seemed to make more sense to start with something closer to home so to speak. I figured my kids would be more appreciative of something close to them. Living in the Boston area, there were quite a lot of field trips we could and did do relating to early American history so this did make the study very hands-on for us.

We have since finished American history (that sounds funny to say, doesn’t it? like “we have finished the internet”). Next time I will post on how we are approaching ancient history.

Nebby

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7 responses to this post.

  1. […] As promised, I wanted to address how we are approaching our study of ancient history (see my previous post in why we studied American history first here). […]

    Reply

  2. I have been fascinated with history and I never worry about my kids’ beliefs in the process. Greek stories have morals to learn from them and we use them in a variety of life circumstances to teach lessons. I look forward to hearing more about your history studies.

    Reply

    • Thanks for the comment! I have never noticed a negative impact on my kids’ beliefs either. In fact, they have been very astute in seeing how morally weak the gods are and how hard it would be to have to please and appease more than one master.

      Reply

      • Totally agree. My family was steeped in legalism a few years ago and our journey out has been amazing. We no longer live in such a way that we have to appease our Creator. I tell them he’s happy with them as they are since He created them as is. Now we simply enjoy life as an adventure. 🙂

        Reply

  3. […] at Letters from Nebby we read about her thoughts about studying history, in which I am fascinated to hear about. History opens up mysteries and imagination for the […]

    Reply

  4. […] have posted in the past on why we began with American history and how we have approached our study of ancient history, but I would like to talk a little now […]

    Reply

  5. […] have posted before about out studies in ancient history (see here, here, and here). Overall, I have not been happy with the curricula we have found. I wanted […]

    Reply

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