On my blog and in my new book, Biblical Home Education, I wrote about a method of lesson planning that we use in our homeschooling, which I call the “Hear, Learn, Keep, Do” method, after Deuteronomy 5:1,
“And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them” (KJV).
It’s one thing to say that this is how I intend to homeschool, but I’ve found that I actually use this method consistently when I have a checklist (or “lesson plan”) that lays it all out for me and reminds me of my good intentions.
Today I’d like to walk you through an actual history lesson, so you can see what this looks like in a week of our homeschooling, where we’ve been writing our own history curriculum.
>> Download my blank lesson-planning form here, so you can follow along.
(Note: If you use pre-made curriculum, most of this work has been done for you. You would only need to check to be sure the curriculum you have purchased actually includes each of these areas, then you can beef it up where needed. For busy moms, this is a tremendous benefit of using pre-made curriculum, as long as we remember that we are ultimately responsible for what our children are taught.)
A Brief Overview of the Method
- I clearly present information to my children.
- I ensure that my children are listening with intelligence and understand what I have presented.
- Since “learn” means to “goad,” we review the information in various ways.
- Memorization and review over the week.
- Scheduled, purposeful review in the future.
- Writing assignments
- Application to life, high school
A Week in the Pax Romana
>> Download our “Pax Romana” lesson plan, so you can see what one looks like filled in.
In our history lessons, we are using the Bible as our primary textbook. When studying the fall of the Roman Empire, we saw how God had predicted it in Revelation 6.
The first week, we studied the white horseman of Revelation 6:2,
“I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest” (NIV).
In the “hearing stage,” we read Revelation 6:2 together. I helped them “listen with understanding” by having a discussion with them about the meaning of the symbolism in this verse:
- What does “white” mean? Peace, purity, and goodness are all possible answers they might give me. We would discuss the white flag of surrender, meaning that peace was sought. We noted that this time in Rome’s history would be characterized by peace.
- This verse talks about a rider. What would this rider be like? He would hold a bow, which means he would be a warrior or be involved in a battle with someone or something. He was wearing a crown, which tells us he is a ruler or king. We note that he would conquer something or someone, even though it was a time of peace.
Next, I would read aloud chapters 87-90 from the history book we are using, The Story of the Romans, by H.A. Guerber, edited by Christine Miller. As I was reading, I would periodically stop to check my children’s understanding by explaining vocabulary words or asking if they remembered dates or historical characters from previous reading. We might discuss the actions of Marcus Aurelius, noting the ways he fit the description of the rider in Revelation 6:2. We would end the day by reciting our facts from the timeline cards published by Veritas Press.
On Tuesday, we would begin the “learn” portion of our lesson by adding the names of the Roman emperors of this period to our chart on the wall, where we had been listing the names of each of the Caesars. We would also add their names to our timeline notebook, noting that Marcus Aurelius ruled after the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, thus fulfilling Revelation 1:1 which said these things “must soon take place.”
We would also recite Revelation 6:2, planning to eventually memorize most of this chapter. We’d also briefly review memory work from earlier in our studies. Then we’d again end the day by reciting our Veritas Press timeline cards.
On Wednesday we would do a map study to find out where the barbarians of Britain and Germany lived, labeling the areas conquered by Marcus Aurelius. We would add this map to our geography notebook. Next we’d read 1 Peter 2:11-23 and 3:8-4:19, discussing the proper way for a Christian to respond to persecution. Then we’d again end the day by reciting our memory verses and timeline cards.
On Thursday, we would make a page for our history notebooks. My sons might enjoy making a page illustrating weaponry and armor of the late Roman period. My older daughter might research some of the sayings written by Marcus Aurelius in his book, Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, and copy a couple of them into her notebook. All would choose a few verses to copy in their best handwriting from yesterday’s Scripture reading from 1 Peter. We’d again finish the day by reciting our memory verses and timeline cards.
On Friday, each would work independently by taking a short quiz reviewing the last several weeks, then writing a one-page story pretending he was a soldier fighting under one of the generals of the Roman armies.
My high-school student has additional reading assignments. These are mostly completed during his independent study time.
It takes much longer to explain all this than it does to actually plan or do it. In the summer, I made a rough plan about what we would study each week, but oftentimes I fill these plans out in detail after the week is over, as a record of what we did. I do this for two reasons: First, I have younger children who aren’t old enough to enjoy history with us yet, but I’d like to remember our plans for next time we do them. Secondly, as I fill out this chart each week, I can easily see if I’ve covered each area of the “Hear, Learn, Keep, Do” method. This keeps me consistent and thorough.