Learn & Discuss
First, the Big Picture
It is natural to add biography to the humanities. Whatever curriculum you are using, when you read about Ben Franklin, you can grab his autobiography and enjoy. How much better to hear directly from the man! You can plan your biographies or you can let your curiosity lead you as you encounter people along the history path.
Our family together, humanities course is called Christian Study.
Around the timeline, we group together these subjects:
Next, we schedule it into the big picture.
or you can mix the schedule around like this:
What are the keys to success?
You can take a look at our peaceful morning schedule here. It gives us time for indoor, outdoor, homekeeping, mom time, and more.
When to Schedule Biography
We plan for about one biography each month. A child can easily read one chapter in the biography each day. Here's what the weekly schedule looks like:
So, on Days 1-3, after the family together lesson, children can read a chapter in their grade-level biography and can easily complete one biograpy per month.
What Biographies to Schedule
There are two considerations when picking biographies:
Old Fashioned Education has a great list of free online biographies per time period. You can find the free reading schedules here.
How to Teach Biography
Teaching Biography is very simple. Just do these three steps:
A biography lesson is simply: read-talk-write. I, personally, like to let the "talk" portion of biography come naturally, as the child desires to share (and they do).
Food for Thought
"I think every child deserves to be introduced to the worthy people," I told my children as we were driving to our favorite low-fat, ice cream shop, Chiller Bee.
"Mom, that sounds corny," my adult daughter challenged me. "Deserves?"
"Think about it," I said, "If Ben Franklin booked a stadium in Houston because he had a message for America today, wouldn't you want to be there?"
I do believe children deserve more than a snippet from a textbook. Children deserve to hear directly from the wise people of old. That's what it's like to give children biographies. We, as teachers or parents, allow the child to hear directly from the lives of great people. They take from their lives the golden nuggets of truth! But, let's remember, to not hold up people too highly, but the Bible, above all else.
On a personal note, my favorite biography (auto) is Ben Franklin's with Henry Ford as a close second. Do you have a personal favorite?
We have a few resources to help you with teaching biography.
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