HS 195 Audioblog: Of Dates and Dynasties, by Judy Wnuk
WENDY – Hi there, welcome to the Homeschool Solutions podcast. I’m your host, Wendy Speake. Here on the podcast, we start each week with a longer, more traditional podcast, most often with guests. But sometimes, we simply open the Word together and apply it directly to our homeschooling days.
On Thursdays, however, we share shorter episodes, that I like to call blogcasts, where one of our favorite homeschool bloggers simply encourages us with the content of one of their recent blog posts. I hope this message serves you and your family today.
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And now let me introduce you to one of my friends.
Literature Based Learning: Of Dates and Dynasties. Read by the author, Judy Wnuk
“I have rather unpleasant memories of my junior high and high school history classes. Spending late nights memorizing dates and names and events for the next day’s test, and then promptly forgetting them all just as soon as the test was done.
“I was reminded of this the other day, as I had the privilege of interacting with a mom who was concerned that her student was having a hard time remembering all those Chinese dynasties they were learning about in the Eastern Hemisphere studies. And the dates attributed to each of them.
“I stopped for a moment, to see if I could bring to mind the names of all those dynasties, or if I could even get close to the dates tied to each one. And what about all those other dates related to Eastern hemisphere countries? When was the Boxer Rebellion? Which decade saw the opium war? When did Genghis Khan lead the Mongols in Russia? And when did Britain make India a colony?
“I obviously hadn’t had time to prepare for that test, because I couldn’t remember a single one. And I suspect, if I were to ask my now-adult children if they recalled the dates tied to all those people and events that we studied together, they would fail just as miserably as I did.
“So, what’s the point of learning all those dates, anyway? And what good is a timeline book if you’re not going to remember the contents a month from now, let alone a few years from now?
“A friend shared the following quote on Facebook one day: “Much learning does not teach understanding” by Heraclitus. And therein lies the answer to my questions. It’s all about context! Memorizing dates and names and events, without any context or meaning, does not help our children to understand the bigger picture.
“However, when I would open our timeline book and my students could see that Mao formed the communist party in the same decade that Lindbergh made his famous Transatlantic flight, and the Zhou dynasty in China was in power at the same time as some of their favorite passages in the Old Testament were taking place. Like Jonah going to Nineveh, and the stories of Daniel and Esther. Then history came alive for them. Now, they had context for those dates and names and events, and the larger picture of history began to make sense.
“So, I was able to reassure that concerned mom and remind myself anew, why learning history through stories is a much better way to learn. What was going on in the world when Hudson Taylor traveled to China? What was it like to live in thirteenth century Mongolia when Kublakhan’s army invaded? Or what kind of determination and courage was required to survive in Sudan in the 1980s?
“This story-based, or literature-based learning, is where true understanding takes place.”
WENDY – I hope that today’s blogcast equipped and encouraged you. Remember that next week, I’ll be back with another great conversation right here on the Homeschool Solutions podcast. My name is Wendy Speake, I’m your host, and I am so glad that you tuned in today.
But before we sign off, I’d like to invite you to subscribe right now to the Homeschool Solutions podcast through Apple or Google Play. And speaking of invitations, won’t you join me at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions this year? These conventions are my favorite, offering dozens of wonderful speakers and hundreds of inspiring exhibitors. Go to www.greathomeschoolconventions... and find one near you in 2020. This year, I will be at the Ohio, Texas, SC, and California conventions. Make sure to stop by and say hey if you’ll be at one of those events.
But in the meantime, we’ve got this podcast and Homeschooling.mom as other great resources to support you as you educate your kids in math and science and literature, yes, but also as you train them in Godliness and love.
Until next time, this is Wendy Speake. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful day.
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