History is one subject we have chosen not to cover during our cottage school day. We realize that some subjects work well at cottage school, but others don’t. We all decided to do what we want for history: Annie uses Memoria Press (classical) for history lessons; Amelia uses Sonlight (literature based); and Jenny and I use Susan Wise Bauer’s “The Story of the World.” All of us supplement our history textbooks with various books focused on what time period we are studying. The benefits of a good history curriculum are priceless though. What should you look for in one?
First, make sure it’s covering world history and not just American history. History actually is one big story, and it’s important to have a comprehensive view of what happened across the globe since the beginning of recorded history rather than just focusing solely on what’s happened in one state or country. Those histories are important and studying them should come in time, but for a child truly to grasp how one event leads to or influences another, a comprehensive view is best.
Second, make sure it emphasizes a timeline of world history for the child to memorize/familiarize. Knowing the order of what happened over time will benefit your child in a myriad of ways as he/she continues to learn more about literature and more specific historical studies later on in junior high, high school, college, and beyond. It can even make simply watching the news make more sense!
Lastly, choose one that is well-written. History can be boring if a child is not engaged in what life was like “back then.” Your child should enjoy the story (historical events) and get to know the characters (key historical figures). You can help them by reading history books to them aloud and discussing what life could have looked like then; by listening to audio historical and biographical books to help bring these past days and characters to life; or by supplementing your curriculum with living books, books written to show what life was like in former times, to keep the child engaged in the exciting story of history.
We are becoming what we already are, so studying history helps our children learn where the dominos began falling, so to speak. Our children need to see their own roles in this gigantic story to engage fully as citizens in this chaotic world, so don’t skip the study of history! It actually can influence the future. The moms of CSL may not study history at cottage school together, but we all recognize the great influence it has in our children’s lives.