Saturday, February 9, 2013

"History of the World" Study: Part 4 ~ Practical Ideas

Robert Harris (1849 - 1919) The One-room School, Canoe Cove, P.E.I., 1880

Welcome to "Part 4" of our "History of the World" Timeline Notebook Study (Part 1 is shared here, Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here )… In this segment, we will discuss some practical ways to teach history in order using the concepts we already covered while incorporating most school subjects. We will also share some insight from Victorian era educator, Charlotte Mason who also supported chronological teaching of history.

For History/Language Arts:
  • Read "living books" which take place in the time period you are studying. Children will absorb the most about a culture and learn about historical lifestyles when listening to wonderfully written stories. If you were only to do one thing for this study, then read, read and read more! 99% of our learning takes place by simply reading good literature (and it is so fun!)!
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” 
~ Rudyard Kipling
  • Have children copy favorite sentences from the books you are reading, related literary works, Scripture or pertaining poetry (visit here for the value of copywork).
  • Older students can write short essays and reports about the subject matter.
  • When you come across challenging words, have your child write them and define them in a "vocabulary" or "spelling" page. At the end of the study, give an oral or written test on the meanings of the word or its spelling.
"Let a child have the meat he requires in his history readings, and in the literature which naturally gathers round this history, and imagination will bestir itself without any help of ours; the child will live out in detail a thousand scenes of which he only gets the merest hint." Charlotte Mason

  • Print outline maps (maps that show the outline of areas without the identifying texts) of the locations you are studying and have children label the relevant countries,  important rivers, mountain ranges, oceans and/or famous historical routes.
  • Read about the country where your studies take place and record interesting facts.
  • Study the habitats of the areas you are studying and what kind of animals live there.
  • Read about what kind of food was eaten and what kind of clothing was worn during the specific time and place.
The Young Artists by Harry Brooker
  • Have your child illustrate a scene from the time period you are studying or anything else which relates to the subject. For example, when studying Ancient Egypt, they could include a drawing of a pyramid or a boating scene on the Nile river. A history with art set we like are the "Draw and Write Through History" series which is Creation based, chronological, while showing children how to draw history related subjects. 
  • Share art that was famous at that time period, art that is depicted from that time period (such as famous paintings of Noah's ark when you are studying about the flood) or read about the famous artists of that particular time. 
"They love, too, to make illustrations. Children... were asked to make a picture of their favorite scene, and the results showed the extraordinary power of visualizing which the little people possess. Of course that which they visualize  or imagine clearly, they know; it is a life possession. The drawings of the children in question are psychologically interesting as showing what various and sometimes obscure points appeal to the mind of a child; and also, that children have the same intellectual pleasure as persons of cultivated mind in working out new hints and suggestions." ~ Charlotte Mason

  • Science can taught in bite sized nuggets! For example, when studying about the Ice Age, read about all the interesting animals they found frozen. When studying about Jonah, draw a whale (or large fish), read a book about them and label the body parts. When studying about Rome, spend some time reading about volcanoes as you learn about the ruins of Pompeii.
The Youthful Duet by Harry Brooker
  • Listen to music from the time period (when applicable) you are studying while working on your notebook projects (an internet search can provide you with period music for free).
  • Include a short biography about any famous musician during your time period.
  • The Old Testament is full of musical references, learn about these instruments when you study the ancient world and copy the Bible verses that correspond.
  • Biblical application is woven through world history! The first part of it takes place in the Scriptures! Read the accompanying stories in the Bible when learning about the specific time periods.
  • Study biblical principles when appropriate. For instance, when you study the Egyptian tombs, discuss the fact that beleivers are supposed to store their treasures in heaven (and not on earth like the Pharaoh's believed) "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." (Matthew 6:20)
  • When choosing your literature, use books which emphasize a Christian worldview which will include biblical application naturally.
  • Read about godly men and women in history and how their love for God gave them direction and purpose to accomplish what they did. Christian biographies are excellent resources for this study.
"Let him, on the contrary, 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

World History:
  • Create a timeline for your homeschool. It can be on the wall of your school room or inside a binder such as the Book of the Centuries and record (by simply pasting down a relevant picture) all the major events in history as you learn about them.
"In order to give definiteness to what may soon become a pretty wide knowledge of history––mount a sheet of cartridge-paper and divide it into twenty columns, letting the first century of the Christian era come in the middle, and let each remaining column represent a century B.C. or A.D., as the case may be. Then let the child himself write, or print, as he is able, the names of the people he comes upon in due order, in their proper century. We need not trouble ourselves at present with more exact dates, but this simple table of the centuries will suggest a graphic panorama to the child's mind, and he will see events in their time-order." ~ Charlotte Mason 
World History for Younger Children/Positive Playtime:
  • Remember that everything learned is usually applied in everyday play and makes for further education on the child's own time. For example, when studying pioneers, it is wonderful to provide dress up clothes from that time period (Example: coonskin hat for boys, prairie bonnet for girls…). This encourages further play for children and history takes on more meaning! All you need do is provide the tools and they will provide the imagination!
"Children have other ways of expressing the conceptions that fill them when they are duly fed. They play at history lessons, dress up, make tableaux, act scenes; or they have a stage, and their dolls act, while they paint the scenery and speak the speeches. There is no end to the modes of expression children find when there is anything in them to express. The mistake we make is to suppose that imagination is fed by nature, or that it works on the insipid diet of children's storybooks." ~ Charlotte Mason
The Scrapbook by Harry Brooker
Notebook Project:
  • Lastly, make sure to include all this information in a "History of the World" Notebook (aside from the Book of the Centuries Timeline Notebook) so you have something to look back on and understand how history unfolded in front of your very own eyes! You will be creating your own "Encyclopedia of History" set for your family to cherish forever!


  1. You always do such a wonderful job of explaining how to go about teaching children. I could not agree more with this post.

    1. I think we share the same educational philosophies from what I have read from you :)

  2. I'm so glad to have your posts to refer to. So much information to glean from, and so much encouragement. Thank you. I'm planning my homeschool right now, and the Holy Spirit reminded me of your blog and I found I needed.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share that! What a blessing to know there is help for some here! :)