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 is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes 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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