Sequential History



While I love homeschooling for the many benefits it offers my children, I am constantly amazed by how much homeschooling has profited my own education as well. For example, I’ll never forget studying ancient and middle ages history and discovering that there is a direct line between the early church apostles and the beginning of the Catholic Church. Our understanding of early history has been greatly enhanced by studying it sequentially. While this is certainly not the only way to go about studying history, it has worked very well for us.

So just what is sequential history?

Simply put, it is studying history in the order it occurred instead of jumping around to various time periods. Beginning with creation, it takes us four years to reach the modern day. Rather than studying Christian, American, or World History separately, we cover them all at once as we study a specific time period. While studying the 1700s, my children came away able to explainconnections between the American and French Revolutions that I had not understood as a high school student.

There are several advantages in studying history sequentially, including:

  • Understanding how Jesus Christ is an in integral part of historical events, as well as the role of the church in history.
  • Developing a clearer comprehension of how events in history fit together.
  • Making connections between the causes and effects of historical events, and between the consequences of historical events and events that are occurring today.
  • Creating a more global, rather than America-centric, view of history.

If you think that a sequential study of history might work for your family, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Find a chronological list that covers major events in history. You can do this by searching online or using a world history book or encyclopedia.
  2. It is impossible to cover every historical event in detail, even when you are teaching sequentially. Choose the ones that are going to be most important for your children to understand and spend the majority of your time on them.
  3. Using a timeline helps reinforce your students’ learning. We’ve used a three-ring binder to contain our timeline, but other options include attaching butcher paper or a clothesline to the wall or using 3×5” cards filed in box. You can find historical photos online, draw your own, or purchase them. We use a set of beautifully-drawn timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods.
  4. Use non-fiction books, such as the Dorling-Kindersley series, and good quality historical fiction to enhance your children’s understanding of historical events.
  5. Tons of notebooking pages can be found online, both free and for purchase. A notebooking page is a document, usually with lines, that includes drawings or photos of an object or occurrence. My children use these pages to record what they have learned about a historical event or person. We file them chronologically in a three-ring binder so that we can study them in order later on.
  6. Rather than just learning a series of events and dates, teach history as a narrative. Connect the events to people who really lived them. Read first-person accounts and autobiographies.
  7. Help your student make connections between events in history and current events by tracking them through time.
  8. If creating your own curriculum is overwhelming for you, a number of already-written curricula cover history sequentially. See below for several of them.

Ready-made curricula that follow history sequentially:

  • My Father’s World
  • Heart of Dakota
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • History Revealed
  • Story of the World
  • The Mystery of History
  • All Through the Ages

Originally published at


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