The best advice I can offer at the beginning of the year is something I heard from a church leader when I was beginning to teach, "It's not what you know, it's who you are." I didn't exactly understand it at the time, but over the years I have seen and experienced the wisdom of these words. Many times, when we adults are preparing to teach the year, we get too caught up into choosing and implementing the best curriculum and we forget what is most important. Ten or twenty years from now, our student's main recollection of learning from us will probably not be how much knowledge we imparted onto them, but instead, they will remember our character or lack thereof, our gestures, and our smiling or grumpy face. At this time of year, my strongest recommendation I can share with all teachers is to focus most on trying to be the best person that you can be. Even though you may be a little tired or stressed, even though you may be learning something new in order to teach it, remember that the children in front of you will be most positively affected by your kindness, your patience, and your smile. If you are attempting to give to your children a strong faith in Christianity and in a loving Heavenly Father, this is the greatest time of year to show to your children that even though you may feel overwhelmed by your work, you will not let this feeling get in the way of you doing your best job teaching. If you are not Christian or do not believe in God, then this is also the best time of year to show your children your patience and care for them, even though you have so much to do.
I have a very independent 8th grader. My only worry about your course is that it seems teacher intensive. Is this true?
The only work that involves the teacher is to watch and learn from DVD 1 and 2. DVD 1 is 20 minutes, and DVD 2, the tools of the historian, is about 1 1/2 hours. Once you understand the method, then the student completes all other work on his own throughout the year. He will meet with you to report research and to express his perspective and back it up with evidence. If he is learning the Ancient or Medieval Civilizations curriculum, then he can watch the discussions on our DVD program. The American program will have the DVD discussion by summer 2013.
How hard would it be to take your American Government and Economics course and design it to cover only Government and Economics, leaving the history out?
Our course should not be changed to omit history from it, and we designed it this way on purpose. The student learns the benefits of a Constitutional Republic and capitalism through the evidence that history has provided us. Also, the text written by Larry Schweikart is so good and unique, that your student may never get the opportunity to read this perspective again. If you have a full year to devote to this topic, then I strongly recommend that your student does not learn Government and Economics separated from the historical experience of the U.S.
We are planning on teaching our son so that he can pass the AP history exam in Modern American History. Is your curriculum rigorous enough?
Our high school history courses are very rigorous and are appropriate for students wishing to take the AP tests. You would have to ensure that your student is practicing timed writing.
As a busy home school mom, I would ideally like to fin a teacher who could use this curriculum. How hard would it be for me to learn how to teach it?
Becoming fluent with the curriculum happens when you use the curriculum along with your child. It does not require much or any outside time.
I like to study history with my 9 and 11 year old daughters at the same time. Is the Classical Historian curriculum too hard for a 9 year old? Marlene
Thank you Marlene!
The reading, thinking, DVD lessons would not be too much for a 9 year old girl, especially when she is in a class with her older 11 year old sister and led by her loving mom. When it comes time for the 9 year old to express her thoughts in words and writing, I would strongly suggest that the teacher be very patient and gentle.
I run a home school co-op, and some of our parents don't want their children to study history because it is neither tested on the ACT nor the SAT. What do you think? Kristi in MN
Thank you, Kristi! Most people learned history in school by memorizing, regurgitating, and forgetting, so they do not know what it means to learn and use the tools of the historian, to engage in a Socratic discussion in history, and to carry these skills over into their lives. Here are three ideas you could share with your parents...
1. Both tests (ACT and SAT) test the ability to think. History is a wonderful subject to teach thinking skills.
2. The SAT and AP tests have free response essays. The Classical Historian curriculum teaches how to best structure essays.
3. Are your parents pleased with how Americans choose leaders based on emotion and advertising? The Classical Historian teaches kids how to analyze the past using logic and evidence. Students naturally carry this over in how they make decisions regarding current events. Teaching kids how to think and make decisions and then how to express themselves in speech and writing is providing the best in leadership-training.
Hello Everyone. It is an honor to be writing to classroom and home school moms who want to teach independent and critical thinking in History and English. On Saturday, I presented to outstanding home school moms an introductory seminar on how to lead the Socratic Discussion in History and Reading. I am always amazed on something very common in home school moms. Many seem to think they aren't doing a good enough job. They feel their children aren't getting the best education possible. And so, these moms study, research, and go to seminars on their Day Off from school. This is such a beautiful testament to me how committed they are to their children's success. And, these home school moms set the bar high for me as a teacher in the classroom and at home with my own kids. Rest assured, nobody loves your child more than a mom. And, if you are honestly searching for the best education for your child, I bet that your kids are more academically advanced than the average school child. Don't lose heart! Keep up the great effort!
Teaching with the Take a Stand! series helps me get to know my children and students better and it helps them how to think critically, form historical judgement, and express themselves in speech and in writing.