I graduated from high school a year early and at the top of my class, but part of me feels like my real education started as an adult. Even when I graduated from college I felt distinctly aware of the giant gaps in my education. My writing skills were solid; I read and analyzed all the great works with the best of them; and my understanding of mathematics was satisfactory. I also felt well versed in the field of education, my field of expertise. Still, when it came to history, geography, the sciences, and the arts, I knew I was lacking. I remember wondering how on earth I got through 16 years of formal schooling and didn’t have a clue about the history of mankind.
Then I got my hands on the Usborne History of the World. It was like clouds parted and I could see the light for the first time! I poured over it. I couldn’t get enough! For the first time ever, I was learning history in it’s actual context; I was learning it in order.
Why don’t they teach it this way in school?
And why did I learn about Thomas Jefferson right after the unit on ancient Egypt?!!
There were other people on the planet at the same time as the Greeks? Really?
I’ve never even heard of the Hittites. Oh, so that’s how the Bible fits into all this!
So only PART of the Roman Empire fell in 476?
I was hooked. And I was converted. I decided right then and there that I would teach my kids the history of the world in the right order. And I do. And it actually makes sense. What a concept.
I thank my lucky stars over and over again for my first encounter with the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. It gave me the basis for my understanding of the main events of this planet, and has given me a jumping off point for many more in depth studies. We use it in our classroom all the time. I love that it’s internet-linked, has lots of pictures with great captions to talk about, and includes historical maps and timelines to keep things in context. It flows perfectly with the Layers of Learning program and fits snugly into our studies.
And no, my self-education didn’t stop with history. I became addicted to learning and jumped off in a lot of other pursuits too, but those are stories for another day.