Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Importance of Revisiting Topics

"Why would you want to do the entire chronology of history three times?"
"I hide books from my kids so that they don't read ahead of our schedule."

These are some comments I have heard from other homeschoolers. Why would you want to touch on the same period of history three to four times before sending your child off to college?

Well, in the early years you read your child a book like Story of the World or pretty picture books about Gilgamesh or the Greek Gods. In these early years the child learns the names of people and places. They learn the basic plot line of history events and important stories. They will know that there was a placed named "Ur" and that Augustus Caeser changed the calendar.

In the middle years, they will read chapter books like The Children's Homer or The Cat of Babaste. They will have a deeper understanding of the plots and subplots in these stories. They will be able to find the places on a map and put the events on timelines. They will enjoy reading the books by H. A. Guerber who still tells history as a story but takes it more indepth.

When they hit the topics a third time they will be able to make connections between events in history and how one event will influence another in a chain reaction that may take place over hundreds of years. They will be ready to read first hand accounts of history perhaps in the actual language that the accounts were written if they have studied the language.

This dedication to chronological history studies will also impress history professors when they find students who know and love the topic as much as they do.

This also works for great literature. When your children are little you may read them a picture book of beowulf. They will learn about the names of the characters and the basic plot.

In the middle years you have them read Wishbone's Be a Wolf and they will learn more about the subplots and the story.

In the later years you will be able to give them a copy of a literal translation as well as one written in the original language and explore the full depth of the epic poem.

So each time you read something you gain a little more depth, a little more insight and a little more joy.

So I encourage you to revisit books and topics more than once over your school years. Touch on them, then skim through them and then dive in and enjoy.

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