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Archive for October, 2009

Greetings PHR readers!  I know it’s been a while.  PHR has had to take a back seat to other professional priorities, like my new HistoryThroughArt program for adults, and my expanded HistoryAtOurHouse product line for homeschoolers, which now includes a high school level that is also perfect for adult learners.  I have been writing, however, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy these two essays, published in Secular Homeschooling magazine that offer guidance on the study of history.  PHR will resume something like “normal service” at some point.

Why History?, from “Secular Homeschooling,” Issue 4

From the article:

…Historical-mindedness is the ability to engage the past as a productive aspect of living in the present. It is the capacity to draw on history as an intellectual resource for living.

There is a big difference between having such a capacity and merely knowing a lot of facts. The most brilliant people are not those who retain everything, but those who have the instinctive ability to discard anything that isn’t relevant.

Regarding history, the real power lies not in piling up more facts, but in being able to see relationships between them. When one can grasp fundamental similarities between past and present, despite circumstantial differences, one can learn and apply the “lessons of history,” i.e. the principles applicable to all human life. If one can grasp the connection between the actions of people in the past, and the world that those actions produced, one can develop a proper appreciation for the man-made values around us… (read more)

The Importance of Memorizing History, from “Secular Homeschooling,” Issue 8

From the article:

…Memorization — the act of committing information to memory, so that it can later be recalled without referring to an external source — is crucial to all learning, including the creation of a useful body of historical knowledge. The purpose of memorizing facts in any area is to automatize foundational knowledge, and thereby to automate thinking… (read more)

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