Monday, July 16, 2007
With all the rave reviews of Scott Powell's A First History for Adults I have seen over the past year, and with the prospects of fatherhood beckoning (or looming, depending on my mood), it is encouraging to know that the former VanDamme Academy instructor is making it possible for home schoolers to profit from his historical and pedagogical expertise.
In his introduction to the first of a series of free teleseminars on history for homeschooling parents, Powell notes that the sad state of history teaching today is best explained ... by history:
A proper, critical analysis of the changing trends in the philosophy of history, which underpins and guides the activities of historians, shows how, during the nineteenth century, history ceased to be a science that instructs humankind through reasoned example, and was remade into two different, but equally flawed pursuits: 1) a "pure science"-- whose investigations are divorced from any practical application, and 2) a weapon for propagandists, who wish to wield it solely for political purposes.Just hearing this from someone with a history curriculum geared towards children is music to my ears. It was no less intriguing to go over the sample course materials and explore the various implementation options at the History at Our House site.
Homeschoolers and history teachers cannot afford to wade unknowingly into this ideological arena.
They will either present their students with a body of knowledge, the significance of which they cannot validate, or fall prey to a slanted presentation whose aim is to inculcate values that they would not otherwise chose to transmit. In these approaches history does not serve its actual purpose, which is to demonstrate the causes and consequences of ideas in the world. History can be a science. It can be an invaluable science.
From the looks of it, I could probably just let my own children teach me history after Mr. Powell teaches them, but not being quite that patient, I'm signing up for the lectures on Europe in his next installment of A First History for Adults, which will begin in just a couple of days.