When you teach history, don't just expect your children to memorize facts.
Become investigators together and solve the history mystery.
When did it take place?
Who was involved?
Where did it happen?
Why on earth did it happen?
It all starts with curiosity and a sense of adventure. I will often start with an interesting story like this...
A royal couple was visiting a city in their realm on their anniversary. They were very much in love. But, they had enemies. Those enemies tried to kill them as they were on the way to big get-together. The enemies tried to bomb their car, but instead of hitting them, they hit people in the car behind them. After returning home to rest, the royal couple decided to go visit the folks that had been shot. They felt so sad they were hurt. On the way to the hospital, they were forced to take a detour into a side road. While they were trapped, a gunman shot both of them. They reached out to hold one another. The handsome Duke said to his beautiful wife, "Live, darling, for the children." I am so sorry to tell you that they both died. And that's how World War I began.
Now, I have made it personal and gotten my children's interest. What's next?
500 Years Later
500 years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Whittenberg Door. He was protesting some of the things church leaders were doing in his day like selling forgiveness and elevating human traditions above the Word of God.
You see, Martin Luther tried desperately to do enough to be right with God. He struggled with guilt and agonized over his standing before God. One day, while studying the Scriptures, he came across this phrase: "The Just Shall Live By Faith." It changed his life! He realized that Christ had done it all! He just had to receive grace and forgiveness! Wow!
Once he understood this truth, he just had to speak out!
You see, the Roman Catholic Church was in a terrible state. It's hard for us to imagine because the Roman Catholic Church today is not in the same place. In those days, men could buy an office in the church so many non-Christians were in important posts. But even then, many godly men and women were serving in the church as priests, abbots, nuns, and monks. Their hearts were grieved.
The Reformers (Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale) were all members of the Roman Catholic Church. They did not want to live it; they wanted mess cleaned up. Unfortunately, the clean-up did not come in time and now we have many denominations today.
However, we can look back to the Reformation and be grateful for the return to biblical teaching on Salvation, Grace, Faith, and the Authority of Scripture. The Reformation brought us the Five Solas.
The Five Solas
Teach History the Fun Way!
History is exciting!
History is full of drama, intrigue, and stories.
Studying history is important to know the past, to understand our heritage, so we can plan for the future.
It breaks my heart to see some children and teens learn history in a dry, dreary way so that they end up hating the subject.
How we teach history can often determine if our students will enjoy learning about the past.
My children all love history! I think it's because we had so much fun learning history together.
Let me share how we learn history the fun way!
Travel Back in Time
Have a Heroes for Jesus Party
Everybody loves a hero! As Christians, we are blessed with a long line of men and women who followed Jesus with all their hearts, making a difference in the world around them!
What a heritage we have!
Apostle Paul, Athanasius, St. Augustine, Pope Gregory, Caedmon, St. Frances, St. Patrick, John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Lady Jane Grey, John Knox, William Wilberforce, John Newton, Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael, George Mueller, David Livingstone, Billy Graham, Edith Schaeffer, Jim Eliot, and Brother Andrew come to my mind. They were mighty men and women who changed the world!
From the early Christians who risked their lives to serve Christ to missionaries in the 21st Century who are reaching unreached people groups in the 10/40 Window, there are so many Christian heroes I want my children to learn about. I came up with a really fun idea to teach my children about church history in celebratory way!
We started having Heroes for Jesus Parties. My children loved them! As they got older, they started playing the Christian heroes themselves at the Heroes for Jesus Party.
Would you like to have your own Heroes for Jesus Party?
God Always Has a Hero
Adam and Seth had died. The earth was filling up. Wicked deeds and sinister plots abounded. The Lord was sad He had made mankind. He would need to start over. Only one man and his family on the entire planet was seeking to live for Him. He would destroy the earth, but save Noah and his family. God gave instructions to Noah and this righteous family built a huge ship. While the men worked on the ark, Noah preached to anyone who would listen. He begged people to turn away from their sin and follow God.
In the midst of an evil world, God had a hero.
Centuries later, in the evil city of Ur where men worshiped demons and lived for pleasure, God called a man out, to follow Him. He wanted to start a nation and through that nation bring a Messiah. Abraham walked with God. He left his family home with his wife and nephew to live in the land his descendants would inhabit.
In a wicked world, one man stood alone to serve his God.
Use Timelines To Teach History
This blog has been updated on our new website PowerlineProd.com.
You can read the blog post "The Super-Power of Timelines Helps History Make Sense":
Super-Heroes Of Yesterday & Today
Spider Man: Homecoming is in theaters as I write this. In the movie, young Peter Parker returns home to Aunt May in Queens. Peter must balance his "normal" life as a student with learning to use his "Spidy Powers" with Tony Stark, Iron Man, helping him adjust. Music and special effects are said to be top-notch. Everyone's excited to see this movie. (Not me, I confess. I'm not an adventure-movie gal.)
Yes, another Super-Hero movie based on Marvel Comics.
Spider Man was introduced to the world in 1962 through a comic book, the first teenager non-sidekick Super-Hero. Peter Parker, an orphaned teenager who lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in NYC is bitten by a genetically-modified spider. Along with super strength, Peter receives the ability to cling to walls and ceilings. His response: to defend innocent citizens and catch bad guys. Spider Man of the 1960's upholds the law. He has a strong moral compass. The same could be said of Batman, Superman, and the other Super-Heroes that children read about in comics or watched on television.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and we see similarities. Super-Heroes still have amazing powers and they rescue people. Good always triumphed over evil.
There are some differences, though.
Review of Sent to the Lions
I just finished reading a book about the early Christians who risked their lives to follow Jesus. Wow! It was a great story.
I went back in time to the Roman Empire to meet Christians who were living in a pagan culture, yet serving Christ with godly lives. I enjoyed meeting these brothers and sisters in the Lord: the old soldier, the elder of the church, the beautiful young girls, and the "bad guy" who was destined for something better.
I loved their faith and devotion to Jesus and one another.
Arrested because they refused to sacrifice to the Emperor, I was nervous about their fate, but challenged and inspired by their bravery.
You will enjoy Sent to the Lions by A. J. Church about early Christians who paid the price to follow Jesus.
When Jesus Fixes Breakfast
Did you know that Jesus fixed breakfast for his disciples after He had risen from the dead?
I love this story!
You see, Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, and John were all together hanging out. It had been a crazy few weeks. Jesus had washed their feet, been arrested, tried, and convicted. They were devastated. Then the news had come while they were hiding out, fearful that they were the next ones to be executed.
News had come of His Resurrection from the ladies. Then Jesus appeared among them. He was alive!
However, things had been so hard. Thomas had doubted. Peter had denied Jesus three times. And here they were hanging out.
"I'm going fishing!" Peter declared to his friends.
"We'll go, too," the others decided. So they all went out fishing.
They fished all night and caught nothing. They were tired, discourage, weary, maybe afraid. As they pulled the boat up on the shore, a man called out, "Children, do you have any fish."
"No," they replied.
"Well, cast your net over on the right side of the boat and you will find a catch," the stranger replied.
“Appealing!” I thought, glancing at 41: A Portrait Of My Father by President George W. Bush. Only twice in history has a son followed his father to the Presidency. John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams both served one term in the White House early in our nation’s history. The twentieth century saw President George Herbert Walker Bush elected in 1988 and his son George W. Bush elected in 2000. The elder President Bush served one term and his son served two terms.
When the elder President Bush was in the White House, including his time as President Reagan’s second-in-command, I had so much affection for him. Finally, I figured out that he reminded me of my grandfather. My own grandfather Harry Leon King was kind and loving, without ever drawing attention to his good deeds. He quietly lived his faith and made lifelong friends wherever he went. Their home was full of people who came to visit from all over the world. Like President Bush, he was a faithful attendee at the local Episcopal Church. What I admired about both men was their integrity and loyalty. Both men placed high value on relationships. So I was eager to read this book about the self-effacing politician who reminded me of my grandfather.
We love to snuggle up and read books in our house. So, when we decided to study the 20th Century for a year, the first thing we did was look for books.
There are so many good books to choose from. It was hard to narrow it down.
We looked at HIS Story of the 20th Century to choose books that would dovetail nicely with the material covered in each decade.
Here are the books we chose.
Kim by Rudyard Kipling is set in Colonial India when it was under British control. Kim gives us a great look at what is was like to be in the British Empire generally and India specifically. The story is an engaging one, though frustrating at times as Kim makes choices that will keep him from knowing the Lord. An Irish subject in the British Empire, Mr. Kipling shows us his roots in several ways--maybe you can find them. One of the things that impacted me was an up-close look at how the culture in British colonies influenced the English as much as they spread their culture to the lands they ruled over. It was said that "The Sun Never Set on the British Empire." Kim will give a taste of that empire, as well as an exciting story.
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy is supposedly for younger children and my kids were teens. But who can resist this story that takes you into the heart of a industrious, loving Hungarian family who is drawn into World War I? I love the opportunity to see the war from the other side. Of course, there is All is Quiet On the Western Front, but I find that book dull and preachy. So, we dove into The Singing Tree. Yes, it was an easy read, but a great story set in Hungary.
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreath, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreath Carey is a delightful zany adventure set in the Roaring Twenties into a family with 12 children. Written by two of the children, it is refreshing to read about a large family whose parents planned to have so many children. Of course, the changes of the 1920s affect this family much to father's consternation. The book is a lighthearted and fun trip back to the 1920s.