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Veritas Philosophy | 3 Minutes

The Veritas Approach to History

Marlin Detweiler Written by Marlin Detweiler
The Veritas Approach to History


This blog post is the next in a series written by Marlin Detweiler to explain the Veritas Approach to subjects in your child's Classical education.  We invite you to read the entire series as we publish it each week on our blog in the coming months.  If after reading the post you find you have any questions, please contact our service department for more information.

A history program was how Veritas began. After reading Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, our interest in classical education from a Christian worldview was piqued. While building a classical school and looking for curriculum, we realized the value of teaching young children a comprehensive timeline of history. We wanted to connect it to learning the content of the Bible, as well. (Learn more about that at the Bible Course Options pages.)

Children in 2nd grade are ready to start learning a timeline. Before that, some groundwork should be done. In Kindergarten, family histories and holidays can orient children to the basics of a timeline. In 1st grade, students are taught a simplified version of American history to take advantage of their growing understanding of place and time

Beginning in 2nd grade, students are ready for a formal study of history. We begin in the beginning, from creation. Each year from 2nd to 6th grades, students will study 32 events. In those five years, they’ll have learned 160 events. Our approach has students regularly reviewing what they’ve learned, too. This works remarkably well because, as classical educators point out, it’s how they are wired. At this time in their development, they love learning through memorization.

The five-year history cycle is described in the chart below:

Grade  

Series

2nd

Old Testament and Ancient Egypt

3rd

New Testament, Greece, and Rome

4th

Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation

5th

Explorers to 1815

6th

1815 to the Present

After five years, students know dates and crucial facts about 160 events. Some programs fail to teach more than key events’ dates. Students may learn that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 buried Pompeii. Without more details, though, they may not realize its connection to the New Testament. Similarly, students may learn that World War I raged from 1914 to 1918 and World War II from 1939 to 1945. Without more details, students will miss learning basic differences of how the wars were fought (their aircraft and weapons, for example). Missing those kinds of details, students won’t see how the wars’ key features fit into a larger historical context. Laurie and I will never forget visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum when our oldest son was 12. He quickly recognized which aircraft belonged to which war.

While ideal to start at the beginning, it’s not necessary. In a homeschool with two or more children, you might consider teaching everyone at the same level. Integrated learning for art projects, field trips, etc. can be more effective this way. If younger children start after the first year, they can simply circle back to the beginning later. Children who have less than five years to complete the cycle can complete it in a condensed form. They can move through more than one series per year. They spend less time learning details, but they commit the core timeline to memory. We also have an option, called History Transition that condenses all five years into one.

Our approach to history in grammar school has served many students well. Maybe that’s why it’s one of the most awarded programs around.

Learn more about the course options for History!