If you are unsure about teaching ancient history as a homeschooler, this post is for you! Along with these notes, you can listen to a podcast on the same by scrolling to the end.
Ancient history is one of the most important subjects a child needs to study, after the Bible and the three R’s, of course.
Why do I say this? Because understanding the workings of God and man in early history helps lay out His plans and puts the Bible into context. Much error has been, and is being, committed because we hold the Bible apart from history. In fact, you could say we are, as a society, grossly ignorant of the past, which has a great bearing on our present and our future.
NO, it’s not boring!
A lot of us grew up thinking of history as a bunch of dusty books stacked a mile high in an old, dark library somewhere. We also yawn (or run) when we think of all the wars and dates we were forced to remember in our classes in government (and other) schooling.
Homeschooling changes all that.
When we homeschool, we get the opportunity to see history as a feast of tastes and textures, of sights and sounds that captivate and enthuse. For instance, in the character Cyrus the Great we find a genius who discovered the way to conquer whole nations without firing a single arrow. We find Alexander the Great disseminating Greek culture all over the known world (as he conquered it before the age of 30). We stand before the Roman populace with the Caesars and watch as the world buckles and reels under their mighty fist.
We begin to see the struggles of the Persians, the Medes, the Babylonians, and the Greeks.
And then we take this information, stand back, and formulate an analysis coupled with historical Biblical accounts and truth.
Our daughters have been doing just that. I took a few months this last summer and did a deep dive into the subject of Ancient Greece. Then I formulated my findings into a sort of “unit study” and they have been digging in since.
While they are primarily working on it independently, I check in every-so-often. What I am hearing from them is so amazing! They are actually making connections that I hadn’t seen before, and their understanding of a lot of our current culture, in the arts, in politics, even in religion, has broadened and deepened because of it.
One of our girls is reading through the book of Daniel at the same time and is seeing the direct connections between the kingdoms under which Daniel served and the times of the Ancient Greeks. The other daughter is seeing how Greek thought has not only influenced, but now is dominating the philosophical and moral understanding of modern generations.
(The above notebooking pages were taken from a collection from Westvon Publishing which, sadly, is no longer available. I have attempted to recreate something like these in the free packet which you will find linked further down in this post.)
I want to share this with you!
I have taken our study and formulated it into a PDF study packet that you can print out and use with your own children.
I tried to find everything that was free so that you would not have to try and hunt up a bunch of books at the library or for purchase. Also, I am including labeled notebooking pages for both younger and older children that you can print out for use with your children that follow the suggested path of study that I outline in the packet (I was inspired to create these notebooking pages by History Scribe, which was a system of studying history and, sadly, can no longer be found online).
Please keep in mind, I do not consider the ancient Greeks to be a gold standard for living. I absolutely do not suggest we should pattern our society after theirs. In fact, close study of the Classical Age showcases the sorrowful consequences when a nation follows after paganism of any type.
Because I do not want my children to fall for the lie that the Greeks got it right, I have purposely included an article that lays out their errors. I have also sought to use an overview rather than going to the source documents and delving too deeply into Greek thought. In my opinion, it is the humanism and dualism of classicism that has brought the West to this dark place, and I want to use this study to help my children to see this fact plainly.
What is needed…
- Well, it would be great if you could print out the notebooking pages and hand them out to your children to use as you study along, but this is not the only way. You could also grab one of those cheap composition books and use it to do the studies (I have a post about using composition books here and a video here that give the instructions, etc.).
- If you are using the notebooking pages, it would be great to put them into a three-ring binder and page protectors. This way they could have something to look back over in years to come (we have a number of these on our shelves dating back to 1996).
- If you haven’t already, a few history reference works would be great so that you don’t have to depend entirely on the Internet for your studies. Here are a few I recommend (there are so many others as well–these are affiliate links):
Of course, there are the amazing resources at Heritage History–I rely on these heavily in this study.
If you are interested in listening to me talk about this free study, here is the podcast:
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If you are interested in downloading the free packet, here is the link: