History — my least favorite subject when I was in school and now my favorite subject to teach in our homeschool. I know I’m not alone in this interesting turn of events. I believe the change in my own mind and heart about history happened when I realized one day that teaching history is merely an extension of teaching apologetics. And so today, I want to share my heart about the necessity of teaching Christ as the Focal point of history for any grade that you’re teaching in your homeschool.
Dear Jesus Loving Homeschool Mom, it is vitally important to realize (or remember), that history is His Story.
In a way, Shakespeare is correct in his statement: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” But even more than this, Christ is at the center of it all: past, present, and future.
How to Teach Christ as the Focal Point of History
Let’s begin by testing our understanding of what History is. As we talk about the definitions, you might find the answers somewhat surprising. Or at the very least, a challenging way to determine if what you’re currently doing in your own homeschool is teaching History.
Defining The Roots Words of History
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines History as: “HIS’TORY, noun [Latin historia; Gr. knowing, learned, and to inquire, to explore, to learn by inspection or inquiry.]
History Differs From Annals
If we continue reading Webster’s 1828 Dictionary’s definition, we see that he contrasts history with annals.
History is, “An account of facts, particularly of facts respecting nations or states; a narration of events in the order in which they happened, with their causes and effects.“And, “History regards less strictly the arrangement of events under each year, and admits the observations of the writer. This distinction, however, is not always regarded with strictness.”
Whereas annals, “… relate simply the facts and events of each year, in strict chronological order, without any observations of the annalist.
With this in mind, teaching Christ as the focal point of History is to show the cause to effect of events throughout History. Beyond annals and the parroting of them by our students, lies the story of men and nations. If we’re merely teaching annals, we’re not teaching History.
History as a Narration
“verbal relation of facts or events; story.” And this is where the importance of living books come in to play. Behind the events of any story in History are real-life characters. Beyond the surface of these characters are the internal and external qualities that make them up as individuals. And when taking the time to consider these qualities in the light of Scripture, we are able to see the cause to effect of events.
Plus, when going to God’s Word to see what he has to say about character qualities, we can talk about morals with our children. For example, we can talk about how God wants His people to live. Additionally, we can share about why the principles of His laws are good and just. As such, we can help them see why consequences happen the way they do in life when ignoring God. Or conversely, when following Him and His teachings.
Furthermore, we can talk with our children about how through Christ, we’re given the strength to choose self-governance. And we can contrast this with life lessons in History of those who have rejected walking in Christ’s character.
All that to say, it’s through story that we observe these things in studying character qualities, plots, and settings. And the earlier that we help our children see the cause to effect, the earlier we help train their minds to think in this way. How much better is this than teaching annals for them to parrot?
History as Knowledge
Another definition of history is that it’s a, “Knowledge of facts and events.”
Certainly, we need to understand what is meant by knowledge. So, here’s the definition given by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: “1. A clear and certain perception of that which exists, or of truth and fact; the perception of the connection and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy of our ideas.”
Of course, we need to have a clear understanding of what’s happening in events that we study. Which wraps back around to studying character qualities and seeing the cause to effect in circumstances. In doing so, we’re given the clear understanding of what is happening and why.
History as a Description
It may come as a surprise to you, that History by definition is about, “An account of things that exist.” And, “An account of the origin, life and actions of an individual person. ”
This means the following: events, people, geography, science, art, mathematics, literature, language studies, etc. All of these areas of study that exist are linked to History. They all originate with God. And because of this, Christ is the Focal point.
How Christ is the Focal Point in the History of Men and Nations
For example, as Christians who are American, we have a responsibility to learn and teach God’s Providential Hand in the forming of our nation. For instance, do you know that America is the most complete expression of the Christian civilization? And do you know that this is because Bible Principles are its foundation?
A curriculum that teaches America’s Christian History, “Acknowledges America’s Christian history (Christ, His Story) and Biblical form of government, teaching them in every subject.” The Foundation for American Christian Education.
Truly, America is struggling. In many cases, morals and character aren’t being taught. As as a result, children are finding it difficult to determine right from wrong.
The Steps to Teaching Christ as the Focal Point of History
The steps to teaching Christ as the Focal Point of History are:
- Research the topic. Find words within the topic to look up in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, a concordance, and the Bible. (These can be verb, nouns, or adjectives.)
- Reason from Scripture about what God has to say about the topic. This helps our students to see the cause to effect.
- Relate from the lesson. In essence, help your students with narrating about what they’ve learned and how it applies to today. Additionally, help them to see God’s Providential Hand and the basic Bible Principles that apply.
- Record the lesson and file it in a notebook.
Ultimately, teaching History is going beyond the dry facts and teaching the story of events and people. It’s about thinking governmentally under Christ. It’s about teaching the cause to effect which helps our students to reason. Also, it allows students to learn by inquiring and exploring the character of men and the results of their actions.
Most importantly, it’s establishing that God is the Ultimate Authority. And that it’s His principles that we need to live by.