Charlotte Mason says that “education is the science of relations.”
The connections we make between one thing and another are evidence of what we have learned.
When children are allowed to explore and form relations from a feast of ideas, they end up unifying the pieces in their own minds, and develop a greater understanding of our world, the nature of God, and the nature of man.
The conclusions we draw from the connections we make shape our every day decisions, make us more aware of things that are “off” in society, and hopefully, inspire us to take action to prevent the bad parts of history from repeating themselves.
With that in mind, most of our history selections this year have been covering the European time period between 1920-1945.
We have read about the Ukrainian, Polish, German, Dutch, and Danish experience of the Nazi Occupation and it is frighteningly fascinating to witness our kids drawing parallels to what is happening in our world today.
All but one of the living books we have read on the topic are secular in nature, each written by a different author, each author living at a different time, each book telling a different story, with different characters and different places.
There is no collective agenda behind these books to turn children into conspiracy theorists, but exposure to these different accounts of the same event naturally leads to unpleasant connections.
This is why I’ve come to favor literature-based education over textbooks. There is no committee to strip down interesting history to the bare and boring facts that fit into a nice, tidy week-long unit that concludes with a test for answers of predetermined importance.
What children remember by listening to the whole accounts and riveting stories of real people in different times and places increases their capacity to care, not just to know.
Narration, putting what you have heard or read into your own words, is evidence of assimilation. It can be oral, written, and even drawn out.
But most of all, I pray it can be measured by a life that is more sympathetic and understanding of our fellow man, and more reliant and comforted by God’s sovereignty and goodness.