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Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview

Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview

by Marcia Harris Brim
Publisher: Brimwood Press
Curriculum Bundle
Current Retail Price: $35.00

A Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview presents the concept of worldview to pre-high school students in four lessons. Four basic worldviews are presented—Naturalism, Pantheism, Polytheism, and Monotheism. The course goals are simple: to define the concept of worldview, to help students understand themes common to all worldviews and provide them a tool to identify the differences, and offer a basic understanding of how worldview influences history.

How Does This Work?

The author presents four brief lessons on the nature and purpose of worldview:Defining Worldview, What All Worldviews have in Common, Identifying Worldview Family Beliefs, and Worldview's Impact on History. Together these form the basis for more thorough investigation of specific worldviews, providing questions to be asked in evaluation of other religions and philosophies. Each lesson can be completed at your own pace, and follows the same general pattern—text, hands-on activity, discussion questions, family discussion topics, and review questions.

Four stories in the appendix are referenced repeatedly throughout the text.One is an allegorical representation of people with different worldviews coexisting in a community called "Lensland." This is used to show where certain worldviews are deficient and how others can fill those gaps even while presenting difficulties of their own. The other three stories are historical fictions more specifically illuminating specific worldview patterns. Putting the material in narrative form like this is both attractive to younger students and can help them comprehend the material more thoroughly.

The authors of the series point out their attention to the three major styles of learning—audial, visual, and kinesthetic—and their attempt to cater to all three. To include kinesthetic learning methods in A Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview, the author designed a hands-on activity illustrating the importance and influence of different basic worldviews. Students wrap four boxes in different kinds of paper denoting certain truths about the worldview each box represents, and put cards inside bearing the names of religions and philosophies operating from that worldview. Students also make cardstock lenses each containing a brief precis of a dominant worldview. The materials for these activities are all included in the purchase of the book.

In the parent/teacher introduction, two books are suggested (The Tiger and the Brahmin by Brian Gleeson and Religions of the World – The Illustrated Guide to Origins, Beliefs, Traditions & Festivals by Elizabeth Breuilly, Joanne O'Brien and Martin Palmer) to accompany the course; neither are necessary for completion. In fact, all necessary elements are included, except access to the internet.

This is a family-oriented course, with a section following each lesson designed to facilitate discussion around the dinner table. Some of these discussions may take some preparation, but while each lesson is intended to be instructor-led, this is not a teacher-intensive program, in the sense that there isn't a lot of prep work necessary.

Our Honest Opinion:

While it may seem a bit over-priced, this is the only product of its kind we've seen. Alone, it's a good introduction to general worldview; used in conjunction with the rest of the materials, however, it fills a gap left wide open by many history courses. The authors thoroughly understand that the impetus of historical progress is usually driven not merely by events but by philosophical and ideological developments.

While the authors and publishers are Christian, in this text no preference is demonstrated for one worldview over the others. This is simply a presentational introduction. Later books in the series take an obviously Christian stance. The even-handed approach in this early text is very helpful as students not even familiar with the concepts they are dealing with are not yet prepared to begin criticizing them. Overall this is a good tool, made even more helpful when used with the other resources in the series.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
Summary: Uses stories, hands-on activities, and discussion questions to present the basic worldviews active throughout history.

Series Description
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Timberdoodle's Review
Cathy Duffy's Review
Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review
Description of the Tools for Young Historians series
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  Our Family's Perspective
Lori H. of Washington, 11/13/2009
As parents, many of us will spend our children’s growing up years instructing them in the Christian faith, which is good and right. But, how about inoculating them with an understanding of how Christianity compares and contrasts with other worldviews?

In our family, we have strived to teach our children sound Christian doctrine. We also planned for each of our children to take worldview courses in high school because the subject of worldview seemed too lofty for us to approach until then. Well, that’s not the case anymore. With this curriculum, parents and children can engage in a concrete and understandable worldview study together--and do it well before the high school years.

This immensely rewarding curriculum has many facets. First, it’s a worldview primer, but the content is not juvenile in the least. Parents will be pleasantly surprised by how much they will learn right along with their children. Second, this course is a tool for helping students of history get beyond the questions of who, what, when and where to discern the whys behind historical events. Understanding and contemplating the whys makes the study of history much more meaningful. For example, “Why did so and so’s worldview drive him to conquer a neighboring country?” Third, this curriculum is a stimulant for dialog. It has taught our family to ask thoughtful questions of friends and relatives in order to discover and discuss world views. Along the same lines, this study has challenged me personally to get beyond those “pat” Christian answers, and practice articulating my faith in a deeper, more descriptive way.

If I may, I would like to make a gentle appeal here to parents who feel apprehensive about exposing their children to other worldviews. Please let me encourage you… God is very BIG, and God makes a lot of sense! While our children are with us, there is no better venue than the home for wrestling with hard questions about faith, and seeking deeper answers about life in this crazy, mixed-up world.

NUTS AND BOLTS

The course is broken into four long lessons, but there are plenty of good stopping places for pausing each day. Our family took either seven or eight days to complete the course and spent an average of about 45 minutes per day for lessons, which included me reading the literature activities aloud to my children. Once you start this study, it’s important to keep the momentum going. We accomplished this by doing the lessons on a Monday through Saturday. Then, we picked right up again the following Monday.

This course would be great for both parents to do along with the children. However, if Mom and kids are doing the course during school hours without Dad, plan to do each of the four Table Talk discussions with Dad in the evenings. Table Talk is the built-in review, and took our family about 15 – 30 minutes each evening, depending on the lesson. One preparation suggestion: During the second Table Talk, parents are asked to communicate to their children the evidence they have for their beliefs, and how they believe this evidence for their worldview is true and reliable. If you haven’t had to “…give the reason for the hope that you have…” for some time (1 Peter 3:13-17), consider spending personal time in prayer and jotting down important thoughts in advance. This way, you’ll make the most of the opportunity to share from your heart in the context of this study.

In regard to age appropriateness, the course is slated for ages 10 and up, which is ideal. I agree with Timberdoodle's review that younger children (ages 6 –9) could grasp many of the concepts with a slower pace, repetition and explanation (and with a parent or older child assembling the hands-on activities). However, I personally would recommend you hold off using this curriculum until you have a few children who are ages 10 & older. The result will be more thought-provoking discussion, more effective interaction for the activities, and better retention because the information will be more meaningful to children this age. Additionally, I would recommend keeping a steady pace with your older children through the lessons, and reinforcing or reviewing with younger ones at a separate time during the day.

I do have one caution for families who are including children younger than 10 during a run of this course: Some of the literature activities (stories) contain material that is written for a more mature audience, both in terms of comprehension ability and subject matter (thus, the recommendation for ages 10 & up). Before embarking on read-aloud time with younger ones, it would be wise for parents to preview the stories for age suitability.

(Also posted on Timberdoodle.com)