Studying History Chronologically?

by | Classical Education, History | 3 comments

Hello Harvey and Laurie,

Thanks so very much for the excellent overview in Teaching the Trivium of 10 things to do before your child is 10. I have been re-reading it and it helps bring me back to the essentials in our homeschooling. I do have a question to ask, do you have any thoughts about the Tapestry of Grace curriculum? I have been attracted to it, for a few reasons:

1) teaching history chronologically in 4-year cycles through literature (real books),
2) each year is broken into the 3 stages — grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric (actually grammar is split into lower grammar and upper grammar too),
3) you can use their recommended books, or substitute those you have already on that topic

My question is, do you think there are advantages or disadvantages to this approach (the 4-year history cycle, for example)? Any ideas would be very appreciated.


I have looked through one of the Tapestry of Grace volumes and it seems like it would be very useful to homeschooling parents. A review is included in our book Ancient History from Primary Sources. I didn’t get a chance to see Volume One (ancient history) so, perhaps I might not agree with all the literature choices, but you could easily leave out or substitute any particular piece.

As far as studying history in a 4-year cycle, I don’t think we as homeschooling families need to be bound by those artificial constraints. History is not like math or Latin or grammar where we must follow a particular sequence of steps to learn the subject properly. In addition, studying history chronologically is not a requirement for using the classical approach. In fact, I think it would be much better to NOT study history chronologically in the grammar or logic stages — interest directed history study (using a prepared curriculum, if desired) seems a much better plan for young children. Teaching children to LOVE history is one of the goals in the grammar and logic stages, and perhaps an artificially structured study of history might not help us reach that goal. I suggest leaving the chronological study of history for rhetoric level students. Or even later.


  1. Megan Volmer

    When I was pregnant with #4 and my other 3 were 5 and under my husband told me he wanted me to go with a planned curriculum as he didn’t want me to spend so much time planning – which I love to do, by the way. At first I didn’t like that idea, but I knew he had wisdom and so I chose My Father’s World. We did their 1st grade and then their year of American history for 2nd grade. We did a year of Geography next. Last year we studied Creation to the Greeks and this Year we are in Rome to the Reformation. My kids really have enjoyed it. They love the living books we use and beg me to keep reading. I feel that studying chronologically has helped me to understand His plan and workings in the lives and civilizations. I have been awed by how God prepared the world for the gift of his Son. The Bible has really come alive for me as I have understood the history of the Bible. Just my 2 cents

  2. MamaMahnken

    Why would it be more difficult to teach young children to love history by learning it chronologically? We have done this for the past the years (my eldest is 8) and history is still their favorite subject. Well, it may be tied with literature. But my point is, while it *is* a bit harder to find interesting books on ancient history geared toward the youngest students, it is still an interesting story!

  3. MamaMahnken

    LOL! That should read “my eldest is 8” – although she is pretty cool too 8)


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