Years ago I purchased the Ancient Civilizations and the Bible curriculum by Diana Waring. I must have started going through it at one point because once I dug through the layer of dust it had accumulated I discovered a few of my pencil underlinings and notes in the margins. The memory escapes me, though, so I’m reading it afresh in preparation for a course we’re hoping to do this year. Julian and I recently had the opportunity to visit a number of ancient Mayan ruins in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, so our curiosity was piqued and we came home desirous of learning more about such ancient civilizations. We found the Moody Institute Empty Cities production from 1961 at our library and watched it with the kids a few days after giving them the virtual tour of our own Mayan adventure. Here’s the full film on YouTube:
Even though Diana Waring’s curriculum deals with different civilizations, I am excited to use it as a springboard for studying a variety of areas this year. I was especially encouraged by this portion of the Introduction:
“As dearly beloved followers of Jesus Christ, we who are teachers need to understand this: the essential truth at the very foundation of education is that God is the True Teacher, the Master Teacher, the Actively-Changing-Lives Teacher. To teach as a “student teacher” under His authority and His leading will transform our hearts and attitudes, it will dramatically affect our students’ experience, and, in the final analysis, it will reflect the heart of God.
Instead of a mere dispenser of facts, requiring our students to regurgitate the same facts back to us, we can teach with anticipation and a sense of wonder, expecting God to show us new insights, new connections, and new understandings we never had before. We can enthusiastically and humbly share with our students what and how God has taught us, eagerly encouraging them to watch for His involvement in their own lives.”
I realize that I’ve tended to “play it safe” – studying and learning things about which I was already relatively familiar. Perhaps subconsciously I’ve felt like in order to teach my children I had to be the expert on the material in their eyes. But I appreciate this reminder and challenge to keep being a learner myself, even in front of my children. If I am excited to learn and grow as we study new areas, perhaps that excitement will prove contagious and they will learn to love learning as well!