Global Narrative History Moving Forward
How should history be taught? As it was lived . . . moving forward . . . as a narrative . . . globally.
When your children are young, and if you agree with me that you don’t need to do math workbooks early, you have time to live deeply in history storybook land while teaching your children to read.
Again, my three recommendations is to teach history moving forward and narratively and globally . . . so many reasons for this . . .
It is how it happened.
It is how it happened.
It is how it happened.
Now that we have that settled . . . here are more reasons . . .
Young children are fascinated by cultures that do not look like what they have become accustomed to and it is important for them to see them early and often.
They will understand, early on, that how we do things is not how things have always been done. They will see social constructs at work, throughout time and cultures.
They will see how cultures freely borrowed from one another and at times, chose to improve their own culture with those ideas or stubbornly refused to improve their own culture with those ideas.
Stories from ancient times are revisited over and over again and it is fun to know the original story. One original story that surfaces again and again is Pyramus and Thisbe.
It teaches an appreciation for the sky. Your children will learn that life and death sometimes hinged on locating the North Star and how the rest of the stars can became dot-to-dot paintings of your culture.
There are so many fun ancient activities and stories. You can spend the first six years of their education soaking up all there is to know about ancient cultures before moving on to the last two centuries in middle school and high school. (Or you can cycle through by four years or three years.) If I were able to do it over again, I would remain in ancient history through fifth/sixth grade and been more deliberate about teaching about all cultures.
Perspective, perspective, perspective on the comfort and freedoms we have today.
It assumes that it is a story of humans as one race. The divisions are geographical and generational . . . supremacy of ideas can be centered on ideas themselves, not on certain groups of people being superior to others as a whole, even though the groups themselves created narratives to claim superiority as a people.
There is really no need to get a curriculum when history is taught as a story. You can get books at no cost (or like me, at cost of the late fees which I call donations to the library) with the help of your librarians and when you do this, you have the freedom to get books from within that culture. The only thing you really need is a timeline.
My recommendation for a timeline is one that . . .
can be played like a game,
small enough to hang long chains on your walls,
does not have details about the event on the card, because it is likely to come with that organization’s slant on history and I like to teach my children to understand the culture from within each culture.
portable so it travels easily.
affordable (even suggest it as a gift from friends and family).
The timeline games from Asmodee are all of these things. We were introduced to these games in the middle of my youngest’s elementary school years. Had we had these earlier, it would have been our main timeline.
Here are the cards compared to playing cards in size. The date labels are different colors according to how they were packaged and sold. You can intermix them and then return them to the proper box if that is important to you.
Game play: You can play with the entire set of cards or just pick out the events you have studied and slowly add more complexity. Each game has 55 events so your children will have over 250 events in history committed to memory if you play this game on a regular basis. There are so many variations in how these can be used that it deserves its own blog post.
Here are affiliate links for the games. The packaging has changed as well. The three at the top are in the new packaging and the two at the bottom are in the old packaging. The cards, though, have remained the same size. There is some overlap in cards, like there are two Titanic sinking, but not much.:
We don’t own Chronology but it comes highly recommended for those who enjoy the Asmodee timeline games above. I like the Asmodee games for use as a visual timeline because of the artwork on the cards as well as the size of the cards. This game doesn’t have the same artistry but if you just needed an all-in-one chronology game, here is an affiliate link for Chronology.
We read a lot to our children but I wanted them to be immersed in the stories of history more than I had time to be the one reading to them. So, we used a lot of audio books. I recommend audiobooks by Jim Weiss. Some of my kids enjoyed these more than others but all of them recall many of the stories. The first three are Jim Weiss reading Susan Wise Bauer’s history books. The other three are samples of his other historical audiobooks that we had and enjoyed. If you prefer reading, you can certainly purchase the books themselves. These are all affiliate links.:
Another helpful resource is data visualization. These are beautiful examples that teach perspective in history:
These are some other examples that aren’t as beautifully executed but very effective. In the first video, start from September 1942 at 3:30 and watch how it drastically changes:
My favorite history teacher in high school teared up when he taught us about the Holocaust. He focused on people, and history to him was about people and their stories. Bethany made this . . ..
How do you think teaching history moving forward impacts how we view human progress? Consider this excerpt from John Adams.
Artwork in thumbnail is by Anna Truax, age 10ish.
(For the artwork in the thumbnail, we used Prismacolor. Here are some affiliate links.)