Topic | History Help Please!

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  • Jessica Chou

    Hi all.

    This will be our second year using CM method and I’m still so confused about how and when to teach different time periods of history and how often. I have been searching questions already posted but find myself at times even more confused. So if anyone can help give me guidance it will be greatly appreciated.

    Here is what I think I understand… Charlotte taught English History to early forms IA&B and that I could replace that with the history of our own country beginning with say Leif Erickson and go from there teaching this twice a week. Then in form IIB (for my 9year old) I can begin teaching ancient history as well.

    Here is my confusion…

    How many days of ancient history do we cover? Is one day a week enough? He is anxious to study ancient Egypt, do I just start there? Do I just read aloud from a living book like “The Cat of Bubastes”? What is a spine? Is my “Mystery of History” book a spine or a guide? Oh the whole “history spine” talked about is a mystery to me that I’d love to finally say “Oh…so that is what it is!” : )

    Should my younger two boys 5 & 7 sit in on this lesson or is that not a good idea? I’m concerned after reading a Beautiful Feet article about the downsides to teaching ancient history to young. Mayb I just follow the holy spirtis lead on that?

    Basically I am so excited about teaching history because I’m learning it all new myself through homeschooling and find it fascinating in a way public school never did for me and don’t want my boys to miss out on all that I missed out on especially the obvious truth of God’s work through every second of human existence and that the Bible and history are one in the same. But, having said that, I don’t want to present too much too soon nor too little too late…

    This is the one topic that just gives me anxiety. Any thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated!

    And btw… I have referenced SCM, AOL, Sabbath Mood, and find different scheduling of history all around…does this mean its something I should feel okay tweaking to what fits us and not worry about it?

    TIA!!! : )



    Hi Jessica, take a deep breath. It can be super confusing for sure. My understanding is that Charlotte did have multiple streams going at once with kids rotating through the forms. Just because she pulled it off does NOT mean it is the best way for your family. That is going to be entirely up to you. We tried two streams and it made me wacky so we settled on one stream. It may not be how Charlotte did it but I am sure she would approve. With SCM guides the family does history together, Ambleside of course has each child in their own year. That is up to you. Your little ones can totally sit in on your readings, you wont damage them. We get so caught up on the right way of doing the history thing we forget that it doesnt matter what year you start in, how many streams you have going or how many days a week you do each period. Your kids will know more than most adults even if all you do is read good history in any order. So relax and give yourself grace. How do YOU want to do it? Do you want to do American first, then go for it. You could do American as a family and let your son do Egypt for fun. You could use the SCM guide for Genesis and Egypt, they are Biblically focused so you will avoid all of the pagan stuff that is questionable at their tender ages. We like to have one family history going, currently about to start the SCM Middle Ages guide, and then I am constantly getting American history books for free reads and story time for my little one. I dont want to miss all the great picture books for American history. We just dont call that school, its story time.

    A spine is generally a book that covers the major events of a time period that you might use all year. It would be the framework for the other living books. Mystery of History would be a spine.

    So maybe I am not much help. Its really what works for your family. Dont stress on it. I have stressed for years over making sure all my kids “dont miss anything”. The fact is they will all miss something, and its ok. Homeschooling isnt about history. Any way you choose to do it will be incredible for your kids.


    This coming school year will be our first time trying an SCM history guide. We’re going to start at the beginning with Genesis through Deut and Ancient Egypt. I’m really excited. Like you, I looked at a lot of other history programs, but I kept returning to SCM because I love how they integrate the Bible, Geography, and History, and how those subjects are rotated throughout the week, so you can do a lesson every day and still experience variety in the subject matter.

    I have 8 year old and 3.5 year old boys, so the focus will be on the 8 year old, but I think my little boy will enjoy the picture books recommended in the Visits to Africa geography lessons. Personally, I would find it too confusing to teach different history periods at the same time, so I appreciate that SCM guides are created to use for multiple ages all together.

    I find an easy way to incorporate some American history during the year is to check out picture books from the library to read as we are celebrating American holidays (Thanksgiving, Presidents Day, the 4th, etc).


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