Frequently Asked Questions about Living History
Q. For what age group are these books written?
A. They are written for ages 12 and up. I found most students that age are able to study on their own, and do not need someone at the kitchen table lecturing on history. If they had material for their age to study from, they can do that on their own, and, they can help mom or dad teach the younger children, thus giving the teacher a break. This also gives the student a chance to be the teacher, and we all know it is the teacher who learns more.
Q. What are my qualifications to write these books?
A. I am a graduate of George Wythe College in Cedar City, Utah, with a degree in business and Biblical Studies. I have been a private school teacher for ten years, plus, I read a lot of history books.
Q. How do I use these books for younger children?
A. When you teach younger children, read the whole story/Epoch for your own knowledge and understanding, then for teaching, pick and choose those things that would be interesting to your children. If you have different ages and learning levels, teach to the highest learning level. Somehow the younger learners seem to be able to stay up enough that everyone learns something. If you have a big age span, like ages 7 to 16, you might want to divide the children into two groups, and teach the two different age groups separately. Or, give the story/Epoch you would teach to the younger ones, then dismiss them and continue on in detail with the older ones.
Q. How do you incorporate literature in your history program?
A. Each Epoch in each volume has a section at the beginning devoted to literature that we can recommend for reading that goes along with that time period. This section is a work in progress, and in time, will include many more books than what are listed currently in each volume. We recently purchased an internet bookstore, Wholesome Books (www.wholesome-books.com), which has given us access to many more titles than we had before. In time, we will have a more extensive reading list of books for each Epoch, and the age group that each book would serve.
Q. How do you use videos/dvds/audio tapes with your history stories?
A. Each Epoch has a section at the beginning of videos/dvds or audio tapes we can recommend that go with that time period. This section is also a work in progress, as stated above regarding literature, as a result of our acquisition of Wholesome Books. From past experience, I recommend that no more than 45 minutes be used at any one sitting for a movie, and 30 minutes for a documentary. These tools are for instruction and not entertainment, therefore a student’s attention span is good for only so long. An audio tape should be limited to 20 minutes at anyone time. Also, DO NOT show the video/dvd, or have the students listen to an audio tape, until AFTER you have given them the information you want them to learn. If you do it in reverse, many students will say “I know this already”, and will tune you out when you teach the subject. Let these media methods be used as a support for what you are teaching.
Q. How long should a history lesson be?
A. No more than an hour, 5 days a week. There is enough material in each Epoch to devote that much time to history. In addition to lecturing, students should be involved in working on maps, timelines, taking field trips, visiting the library etc., which will add to their knowledge of history.
Q. Why are your books structured as they are? Is it required I purchase all volumes of a particular series to teach all the topics of a particular Epoch?
A. These books are written as I teach history, from the beginning of time to the present. For example, I teach world history from 4,000 B.C. to the present time, in a school year. Therefore, I cover a volume of The World Before Christ, and a volume of The World After Christ in a school year. I want my students to learn at the end of each year what current events are, where they fit in with prophecy being fulfilled, and what the Lord is doing in the world.
For those who wish to teach all stories and information pertaining to a certain Epoch before moving on to the next, you will need to purchase each volume of that particular series. There have been several requests that I produce another version of my books so that a parent who does wish to teach all stories and information about a particular Epoch can do so without purchasing all volumes. That will be done, but after I complete some other more pressing projects I am involved in.
Q. What is the suggested order I teach the Living History series?
A. Each volume is independent of the others, so you can teach what you want, and even intermix volumes. I personally teach in the following manner: year 1 – The World Before Christ and The World After Christ, volume 1; year 2 – United States History, volume 1; year 3 – The World Before Christ and The World After Christ, volume 2; year 4 – United States History, volume 2; year 5 – The World Before Christ and The World After Christ, volume 3; year 6 – Native American History (in the process of being written).
Q. Why is your series of history books called “Living History”?
A. This is a play on words. When you teach history as a story, and put God and religion back into history as I have done, it becomes something “living” to the students, thus the name “Living History”.
Q. Does your curriculum work with other programs, such as “The Four Year Plan,” “Glenn Kimber’s curriculum; or “Charlotte Mason”?
A. The simple answer is yes. My books are written so that you can study a particular story in conjunction with what is being studied in another program. The Living History books would be used as a resource, giving additional information to what is already being studied in these other programs.
Q. How did you get started with this project of writing history in story form?
A. I began writing these stories in 1993, when I became a teacher at Benjamin Franklin Academy, a home school/private school organization, while living in Portland Oregon. I found that the stories behind all the facts and figures made history come alive for myself and for my students. At the beginning of a school year students could not recall many facts when we would review the previous days’ lessons. With practice, as the year progressed, those recall sessions were never long enough for the students to recall all that they could remember. It was thrilling to watch as history came alive for them, and I certainly felt more fulfilled as a teacher.
Originally, I had no intent to publish these stories, or even put together a history curriculum, but after the request of many fellow teachers and parents, these volumes are the result. When I decided to publish them, I tried to go back to the sources used to write the stories, and give proper credit to authors of quotes or other information I used. This has not always been possible, as I do not remember where they all came from, or, after several family moves, the source is no longer available to reference. That is why now and again there is a quote without the source listed.