Wednesday, June 10, 2009


History is a subject that I am struggling with determining our program at this moment. Part of it, is that I know that "History is written by the victors". Imagine how recent history would be written if Germany won WWII.

History is also viewed differently by different countries at the same time... Look at the U.S. Revolutionary war. Americans call it the Revolutionary war. I believe I have heard that in the U.K, it is called something like the North American Rebellion. Ask an American and a Canadian who won the War of 1812.

Even in areas of the same country, history can be seen differently. Ask various Canadians from different provinces about Louis Riel, and see the wide variety of what was taught in Canadian History classes (in Canada!) He was a rebel, or a hero, or maybe someone barely heard of - all depending on where you grew up.

And all of this is recent history. Who knows the truth of the more distant history?

Add to that, the fact that the history I learned in school (especially Canadian History) was SO boring that I only retained bits and pieces. And then I learned about some events in Canadian History that should have been at least mentioned in school, but never was, has left me confused and saddened.

So - since the "taste" of history I have been left with is, to say the least, bad.... plus I have very little knowledge of what "should" be taught, one might wonder why history at all?

Well, I think history does a few things for a person
  1. It helps give a person identity - a feeling of belonging, and who they are.
  2. It helps a person see the consequences of actions - natural consequences - without having to feel the consequences directly themselves.
  3. As a part of the previous point - it helps a person not repeat the "mistakes of history"
  4. It gives a knowledge of events that might be mentioned or referenced - a cultural awareness. References might be in literature or stories, or in life.
  5. It can be a fantastic story in itself - at least when taught the Charlotte Mason way
  6. A knowledge of broader history can make the decisions or thoughts of people in history make more sense. For instance, a family moving to Canada in 1847 makes more sense when you realize they were from Ireland, and you know about the Great Potato Famine.
My understanding is that Charlotte Mason recommended that History be taught chronologically. I have also heard that her schools would do a rotation for children within a span of a few years - with children joining and leaving the rotation each year. This means that History will be a good subject for Family study. I am doing some of history the Charlotte Mason way - but some I will be doing differently.

I am breaking History into 3 categories. Most of the Charlotte Mason curriculums I have seen break it into 2 - World History, and U.S. History. This doesn't meet my objectives.

My 3 categories:
  1. Family History. This will be done in Reverse. I feel that a Family History Notebook will be important to keep things straight. The student will be able to relate to the current history as it isn't as far removed. Major events in the country of the ancestor being looked at, and in the world that would affect the ancestor would be looked at.
  2. Canadian History. (Of course, if you are from a different country, use yours.)
  3. World History.

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