One of our kids is beginning high school this year, and it is my charge to select or construct the curriculum for history in our home school. As well, it is for me to oversee this portion of her education in the coming years.
I do not take this responsibility lightly, which is the reason for this letter, posted both publicly, and privately to people whom I respect.
It is my hope that you might offer some guidance in this endeavor, that my child and I may avoid wasted investments of time, energies, and cash in history books and/or programs whose sole purpose is to manipulate history to dovetail with an anti-American agenda, which to me defines itself as anywhere to the left of our founders, counter to the principled Unanimous Declaration, and at odds with the original intent of our Constitution.
What I’d like to offer my daughter is a solid foundation in honest history, in its proper context; something that she can build upon throughout her life, and that will protect her from being taken in by the spinners and string pullers.
Which history to trust, that’s my dilemma… (getting her interest is a whole ‘nother problem :] )
If you could share your experience with trustworthy sources of American and World History, or your knowledge of any reliable curriculum or structured reading lists, or if you have any other advice to offer (other than sending our kid to public school), we would be grateful in hearing it.
Please comment on the post, or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org ~Thanks
Publius Huldah said:
I would go here: http://samuellblumenfeld.com/
Blumenfeld is a hero of mine.
Publius Huldah said:
You can telephone them. If they don’t have history books, then I would look for some old old history books. I don’t read history books any more b/c of the lying.
Blumenfeld shows in his book, “Is public education necessary?” that the progressives started taking over public education in America during the 1840’s or so.
So I just search for original source documents. But it takes all day [for me] to locate original source documents which address the issue I am researching. So that is not a feasible approach for a homeschooling parent who works for a living.
The main thing is to teach children how to read fluently, how to think analytically [my dear Papa started to teach me analytical thinking as soon as I could talk], and Judeo-Christian values and morality.
Once they have THAT, they can do the rest on their own.
But parents must teach their children that they must be very careful about trusting other people. My papa taught me to always question authority [except his, of course!] and to always think for myself.
I’m looking for a logic book for children – I meant to write one, but never got around to it. So I want to buy some and hand them out.
Went to Mr. Blumenfeld’s site, and he doesn’t offer or recommend and high school history books. He does have a set of books, though, from 1836, called “McGuffey’s Readers” that looks really great. Wish I had known of it when my kids were younger.
His blog looks very worthy, and I’ll have to check in.
My wife and I extend our thanks to you for taking the time to chime in. Your advice is well received and fundamentally sound. It is true that our primary job as parents is to ready our kids for futures of their own.
It’s funny that you suggest finding “old books”, because I too seek out the old stuff and original sources while educating myself, but it never occurred to me to look for old history books to teach my child.
Sometimes we need only look as far as the end of noses…
Thank you for the great idea. I’ll start searching straight away.
Incidentally, I have the “Great Books of the Western World” collection, some 54+volumes of classic literature, from 1952!
I’d like to share the following paragraph from the preface to the set:
“We believe that in the passage of time the neglect of these books in the twentieth century will be regarded as an abheration, and not, as it is sometimes called today, a sign of progress. We think that progress, and progress in education in particular, depends on the incorporation of the ideas and images included in this set in the daily lives of all of us, from childhood through old age. In this view the disappearance of great books from education and from the reading of adults constitutes a calamity. In this view education in the West has been steadily deteriorating; the rising generation has been deprived of its birthright; the mess of pottage it has received in exchange has not been nutritious; adults have come to lead lives comparatively rich in material comforts and very poor in moral, intellectual, and spiritual tone.”
60 years ago! To say the is prescient would be a severe understatement. And oh, how far we’ve come.
Cathy Buffaloe said:
I know from your tweets and our 140 character exchanges on twitter that you are a strong believer in the US Constitution, so I highly recommend Hillsdale College’s free online courses to supplement your high curriculum. https://online.hillsdale.edu/
My first experience with Hillsdale was Constitution Day a couple of years ago. I expected a great speech from Paul Ryan and from Charles Krauthammer, but the big surprise was Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale. I hope you will take 30 minutes and listen to his first lecture in the Intro course. He links the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in a way that I had never heard before.
The Introduction to the Constitution is 5 sessions. Constitution 101, 201, Western Heritage and American Heritage are each 10 sessions. Each session has a lecture, study guide, links to primary source readings, and a quiz. I loved each and every one of them. The primary sources are our birthright as Americans, and I love how they are emphasized in these courses.
The Constitution Reader is free and online: http://www.constitutionreader.com/
and is an excellent resource. I bought the print edition because I like to underline and write notes in the margins. Hillsdale also publishes a reader for the American Heritage and the Western Heritage courses. I bought them all, read them, write notes, and compare passages from one document to another.
I hope you can take a few minutes and look at these courses. I think you’d love them and would be able to select readings, concepts, and perhaps an outline for some of the course work. It will contribute to some great dinner table discussions, too.
Cathy, Kind thanks for taking the time. We really appreciate it.
I am familiar with the Hillsdale courses, but admit only getting through a couple of them. What I have seen, though, was enough for me to consider, albeit halfheartedly, implementing some or all as a supplement to my daughter’s history curriculum. I think I will take another look, with a more avid eye toward working the content into our (well mostly her) busy homeschool schedule.
As a general history curriculum, we have chosen the Ray Notgrass‘ series: “Exploring World History”, “Exploring America”, and “Exploring Government”. These studies combine scriptural and timely classical literature with history, which we hope will provide the greater context we were looking for.
Whatever the content, Notgrass or Hillsdale or any other, we will approach it critically, and will encourage our daughter to do the same, now and going forward. We went to a used bookstore per Publius’ recommendation (above) and found a couple of tattered history books from 1948 and 1937. I was so excited (they were just a few bucks), only to get them home and learn that their editors were celebrated Progressives and revisionist historians of their time. I think I need to go Pre-Civil War in this kind of search…
Anyway, thanks again. You provided a great overview, and had I not known about Hillsdale, you would have encouraged me to know of it. :]