We strongly recommend that you begin at the beginning.
History progresses from a starting point (Creation) and is moving toward Christ's Second Coming.
It is a story that makes the most sense if read from the beginning, not started somewhere in the middle.
Connecting with History tells that story.
This progression of historical events, each one connected to and formed by past events, is critical to understanding history.
Without chronology, history becomes just a set of unrelated facts.
There are times when it makes sense to begin with a different time period.
- You have recently studied ancient history and want/need to move on to the next time period.
- You are beginning with a Logic or Rhetoric student who needs to study a particular time period for graduation requirements.
- Your child (or you) are absolutely not interested in studying ancient history right now.
- Some children have definite preferences or interests in a particular time period. It's better to use that interest as a starting point and encourage a love of history than to force something upon them that will just turn them off or turn it into a power struggle.
Wherever you begin, proceed from there into the next time period in the cycle.
It's very important to instill the concept of orderliness - that history has a sequence and a meaning.
Why not start with American history?
There are two main schools of thought about teaching American history.
1. Some believe that children will understand their own history best. Studying other times and cultures is too confusing for young children.
2. We believe that it's best to study our own history at the end of the cycle, because:
America was built on the foundations of Western Civilization - understanding what came before is vital to understanding where we are today. Understanding the history leading up to the discovery of the Americas places our culture in the context of world history.
Americans tend to be overly focused on our own history and have a very poor education in world history. How can we understand others if we are so busy looking at ourselves?
Children are already immersed in American life. By studying other times and places first they will begin to make connections with what they see and hear around them. Children are fascinated with learning about places and times different from their own. They naturally compare what they are studying to their own lives and experiences.