History- How did you go about it? Did you follow the history from the beginning according to the Bible or all of world history that includes Eastern Civilization or whatever came up of interest? My heart DOES NOT feel at peace with having my children narrate from world history at the young age they are. My gut tells me this is the time to instill all Godly matters…So I see the value of learning that but question the timing of learning it during what I call the VERY impressionable years. I would feel much more comfortable have them read that later.
History has been a “natural” subject for our family. It is another one of those things that are “just the Rushtons.”
We talk ideas and worldviews over dinner. We find ourselves at museums during our family vacation times. Our children, even my teenager, still dress up and “play” (oh, the word for this age is RE-ENACT) the History that we read. And books…well, you already know that part about us. We have MORE books lining our shelves on History than any other subject!
How did we begin? The same way that you are describing here. That same way God has already breathed on your heart although you may not see it as clearly as your words speak forth. We gave our children a very strong foundation in Bible History. We began with the Bible and have continued to bring all of History back to the Bible as we teach through any study. The fruit is unbeatable!
As for your concerns about including those tough parts of History, even throughout all of their high school years there were many thing that we did not choose to study through just for the sake of a “perfect education.” Much of those materials and books seem to be contrary to our own beliefs.
How have we addressed this? We were very up-front and honest with our children that many, many people lived very different lives than we chose to live as Christians. I chose to use the errors of willful lives and ungodly cultures to point back to the truth and prophecies of God’s Word. No, we did not spend our precious time reading through all of the “classics” that are recommended so widely just for the sake of reading ALL that is available. I got pickier and pickier about what we spent our time reading–especially toward the end of the homeschool years. You just do not get that time back. I wanted to choose the very best books for my children. It was a very wise choice. Those were the “friends” that I openly welcomed into my children’s lives. Books have POWER–power to influence lives!
I am quite concerned with the lists that are available for CHRISTIAN parents to read to their children. There are many other ways you can educate your children so they are familiar with what is common to our culture and what has shaped our culture than to spend the very few moments you have with them muddling through a book that, very simply, undermines all that you believe to be right. Let me share a quote that affirms what I am saying. Keep in mind that this quote was written over one hundred years ago…
“Benjamin Franklin read an infidel book, by Shaftesbury, at fifteen years of age, and it demoralized his religious opinions for years. But for the excellent books he read before, his infidelity would have blasted his life. As it was, his influence became baneful over two associates, whom he made as thorough skeptics as himself. One of them became a drunkard, and died in disgrace; the other lived without moral principle, holding the Christian religion in contempt. In ripe manhood, the good lessons of his boyhood, in a Christian home, asserted themselves, and Franklin, confessed his grave mistake, and became a defender of Christianity.” ~William Thayer, author of Gaining Favor with God and Man
Is this the only instance of literature having a profound effect on a life? No. William Thayer, Gaining Favor With God and Man also wrote about another instance of literature having a devastating effect on the life of another great man…
“In his early manhood, Abraham Lincoln had several boon companions, who were infidels, and they influenced him to read Paine’s Age of Reason, and Volney’s Ruins. The reading of these two books caused him to doubt the truth of the Bible, so that, for a time, he was at one with his companions in their hostility to religion. He even wrote an essay upon the unreliability of the Bible, which he read to his associates. But, after a few years, he saw his folly, renounced his skeptical opinions, and returned to his early familiarity with and confidence in the Scriptures. Those two books well-nigh unsettled his moral character, and robbed the republic of a good president.”
My dear friend, listen to that still, small voice that is directing you. God has set you as the “KEEPER” of your home. You are the one who is ultimately responsible for guarding those precious children in your home. Just as you would NEVER dare to set before your children infidels as playmates, so you should be very, very mindful to guard the influence of their books. Truly books are greater influences than the most influential of friends!
NOW! Saying all of this, I DO want to stress the importance of studying History…all of it. We did a study years ago through the book of Daniel. I was stunned at how much I did not know about Ancient World History. Without a thorough foundation in the Word of God, History simply seems to be without purpose. However, without a thorough foundation in History, we simply do not understand God’s Word completely!
Hummmm…now, what to do? I decided all of those years ago that I would seek out the greatest resources that could give us that foundation in History WITHOUT taking us through the vile and filth that so abundant even in Classical Literature.
One thing that I found was that there are lots of great materials that are written by Christian writers who have really studied out History as adults, when some of this more questionable material is a little better understood. They give us the perfect balance to keep our hearts pure while teaching us an extensive background in History from a Christian Worldview.
So, you CAN give your children a FULL education that is still completely Christian. Don’t agree with studying things for the sake of filling your children with material so they excel the WORLD??? Go ahead. Be faithful. God will honor your heart’s desire for a good education as you seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness…THEN, and only then will you have ALL things added unto you! (Matthew 6:33)