11 November 2008

Teaching History

We're learning about how Lewis and Clark made it to the Pacific, and at great peril. One book we read mentioned that easier ways to get from here to there have been found.

But did you know that that way was found by James Beckwourth, a black man who became a scout for the army? And that there are a pass, a mountain, a town AND a valley all named for him in Nevada? These are things we weren't taught when I was in school, but I think important parts of history. Think how many lives this pass saved, when the mountains are practically impassable otherwise. I think that's really cool, and maybe something to look into a bit deeper. I just looked ahead a bit, and it looks like we'll be talking about him for at least two more days.

I probably never would have come across Beckwourth were he not mentioned in our Bob Jones book which presents American history, and from a Christian worldview at that. I couldn't imagine teaching my children about him ONLY because it's "Black History Month" and I had to pick a black person to learn about. I think the criteria for learning history should be whether the events are factual, and whether the general course of study would give glory to God.

And this curriculum certainly does it, although we will probably NOT focus on American history next year and look more into geography. My tertiary goal would be that the children know where many other countries are located in the world, and a brief overview of cultures and history. We have an almost complete set of fourth-grade Lifepacs, a Story of the World book, a globe and a library card. Think we're set for a while yet.

1 comment:

  1. Learn new things every day. Way cool.

    It bugs me when we do something "just" because of the color of a person's skin. Isn't that the definition of racial discrimination? I read some pretty lame books in high school for various "diversity" celebrations. Ugh. I'm all for studying great literature (no matter who wrote it), but please don't be racist and call it "diversity."



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