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Q: Why do you have a six-year history cycle?
A: We believe it’s important for students to understand how the Bible fits into world history—that the events recounted in the Bible actually happened and in a historical setting. So as we study ancient civilizations, we put the main emphasis on Bible history and bring world history in alongside. That’s why we take three years to go through Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome. The emphasis is on the events of Genesis through Acts, and we don’t want to cram all of that Bible reading into one year.
Once we get through the book of Acts, the rest of the Bible shifts away from historical events and centers on the epistles and Revelation. So once we get through Ancient Rome, the shift of our studies changes to an emphasis on world history with the epistles on the side, spreading them out evenly throughout the remaining three years of study. In this way students have a strong Biblical foundation laid and can trace the people and events of history—both Biblical and world history—chronologically.
Q: How can I teach history family-style?
A: Read certain living history books aloud to the whole family. Then assign additional books, covering the same time period, to the older students on their grade levels. The whole family can do oral narrations from the read-aloud book that they share, and the older students can do written narrations on their independent book assignments.
Q: Do you use the same books Charlotte Mason used?
A: While we appreciate the value of many older books (and include them in our lists), we agree with Charlotte Mason that modern books may also be living: “A book may be long or short, old or new, easy or hard, written by a great man or a lesser man, and yet be the living book which finds its way to the mind of a young reader” (School Education, p. 228). So we include a mixture of both old and modern books in our recommendations, and you can rest assured that all of them have been carefully pre-read and selected to give children in 21st-century America a thorough and enjoyable Charlotte Mason education!
Q: Do certain History Studies go with certain Enrichment Studies?
A: You can mix any History Study with any Enrichment Study. Together, they will give your children a broad education with a variety of wonderful subjects and a feast of living ideas.
Q: Which history time period should I choose?
A: Start with any time period you like. If you are just starting out, you may want to start at the beginning of history with Genesis. If your children have already studied a time period, feel free to pick up from there and move forward in subsequent years. Also, keep in mind that if you are starting with high school students headed for college, they will most likely need to cover Early Modern and Modern history before graduating. Once you finish Modern Times, you can start over again with Genesis, using the older-level books.
Q: What is your approach to science through the grade levels? Do you use living science books?
A: The elementary years are a time of curiosity. Reading well-written living books on many different science topics, and giving your child weekly opportunities for nature study to observe firsthand what he is learning, will engage your child’s curiosity with how the world works. This combination of living science books and nature study will develop a sense of wonder and interest that will benefit him in more focused studies of biology, chemistry, and physics in high school.
The middle school years are a time of expanding on what has been learned in the elementary years through observational science. At this level, conversational-style textbooks give your child information on science that has been discovered by many scientists over thousands of years. Weekly nature study gives your child opportunities to continue making his own discoveries.
The high school years are a time of more in-depth study into several of the main branches of science: biology, chemistry, and physics. Because new information in the different sciences is being discovered every year, conversational-style textbooks are used to ensure that your child is getting the most accurate and up-to-date information. While living books might be more interesting, at this level of study it is difficult to find books that teach the science and not just about the science. Optional living science books may be read alongside the textbook, but care should be taken to choose books that do not have out-dated information. Continuing weekly nature study allows your child to add to his own discoveries.