I was introduced to Christian history through a children’s picture book when my children were small. Since then, I have spent a great deal of time researching, writing about, and teaching Christian history.
There are compelling reasons for working stories about the history of our faith into your homeschool. There are also a number of fantastic resources for incorporating Christian history into your studies.
Reasons to Study Christian History….
1) Teaching Christian History gives kids heroes.
Humans gravitate toward celebrities, sports stars and comic book characters. Let’s give our kids some real heroes.
Psalm 16:3 (NLT) says: “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!”
2) Teaching Christian History gives kids peers and a family history.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV)
What could be better than allowing the “cloud of witnesses” to point our kids toward Jesus?
Charles Spurgeon (the “Prince of Preachers”) once said: “Cheer up, Christian! Things are not left to chance: no blind fate rules the world. God hath purposes, and those purposes are fulfilled. God hath plans, and those plans are wise, and never can be dislocated.”
We often cannot see God’s purposes in our own lives, but we can recognize them years later in the lives of others.
4) Teaching Christian History gives kids solid examples of lives sold-out for Jesus.
One of my boys wrote a long testimony to give on the day of his baptism. He gave me permission to share the last paragraph with you. He was nine at the time: “I’m a Christian. I will follow Jesus for the rest of my life… I’ve been thinking about all the great Christians we’ve been reading about like Lillian Trasher, Mary Slessor, and Eric Liddell. I want to be like them–a God-fearing Christian who leads many lives to Christ. I will follow Jesus with my life.”
Christian History Resources
When children are young, we teach Christian history simply by reading it. For middle and high school students, check out the Cobblestone Path Church History Research Journals. You can incorporate the readings into your history, science, art, music, devotions or bedtime routine. I thought I’d share some of my favorite series with you.
For the Youngest Children
The Little Lights series by Catherine Mackenzie are recommended for ages 4-7:
The Heroes for Young Readers line by Renee Taft Meloche is a set of picture books written as rhyming biographies.
The Trailblazers Series by Dave and Neta Jackson are a set of engaging historical fiction that incorporate lives and facts about real people.
For Middle Grades & Middle School
The Christian Focus Trailblazers line of narrative biographies now numbers more than 50 books.
We love this set. The History Lives set by Brandon and Mindy Withrow has stories in chronological order.
We also use Geoff and Janet Benge’s series:
Simonetta Carr has a beautiful line of unusual subjects in a picture-book-for-older kids series.
Don’t forget to check out my book on Martin Luther for middle and high school students!
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.