Teaching Canadian History

One of the workshops I attended at our Homeschool Conference last month was on teaching Canadian history in your homeschool, and I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with the workshop in general.  I even had the chance at the end to discuss some of my issues with the man who taught it, and while he agreed with my assessment, he didn’t have any ideas to help me.

Before I tackle the big subject, though, I want to give you three, short reasons on why we, as Canadians, should be learning Canadian history.  In another post I’ll talk some about ways to teach Canadian history in your homeschool and my thoughts on the workshop itself.

Reasons To Study Canadian History:

  1. One thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.

We’ve all heard this saying numerous times in relation to World History.  But how CAN we learn from history if we don’t even know that history?  How many prime ministers can you name?  Can you tell me who wrote the Canadian anthem?  Or how long we’ve even flown the Canadian flag?  Who was Joseph Howe (we have a main street in Halifax named after him)?   Who was T.T. Shields (an important figure in church history)?   Why is Canada so full of diversity (where did all the immigrants come from and why did they leave their home countries?  What sorts of laws have aided our country in the past that are not being enforced today?

There is so much that our children are missing out on learning.  Instead, many of us are using American curriculums in our homeschool and learning American history (which isn’t entirely bad – Canadian history is more woven with American’s past than many people know).  In more than one grade I might add.  And I’ve had many people say to me that they didn’t see the need for their students to do much more than learn about Canada in one “section” of their history curriculum for one year.

We know lots about the rest of the world and nothing about our own country.  That’s sad.

2. Canadians have no loyalty.

How can you be loyal to a country you know nothing about?  You have nothing to hold you here.  I realize that Canada is made up of a diverse group of people, but so is the United States.   I sometimes, almost, think there is no point in calling us “Canadians” anymore because each group so closely associates with the country that it came from.  They see no need to become “Canadian”.   And I know that I am generalizing here.  I realize that not EVERYONE falls under this category.

I, myself, am so fiercely patriotic that I had people in college who didn’t know me ask me if I was American after hearing me talk passionately about a subject regarding our country.  Canadians are known for not being patriotic.  That is so sad.  This is why our military is so under-funded, our soldiers barely paid to give our country the freedoms that we plaster on banners.

Knowing and understanding our history will encourage patriotism in our children.  Even learning our Christian heritage within Canada is important for understanding where we stand as churches.   I want my children to know how our Independent Baptist church came to be.  I want them to have a sense of pride in the country we live in.

3. It’s Biblical to remember history.

 All you have to do is open the Bible (especially in the book of Acts) and you can find numerous sermons where the disciples started their message by talking about the past.  The apostles gave a recording of Israel’s history, reminding them of where they came from.  It’s fascinating to study the subject.  The crossing of the Red Sea was a momentous occasion.  Waking up to find manna on the ground.  Getting water from a rock.  These were important events in the lives of the Israelites that helped them to remember what God had done for them and how He had brought them through so many trials.  Their past helped them to see where they were.   In essence, the Bible itself is one giant history book that takes us up to a certain point in the history of the world.  And there’s no need to stop there.  God’s hand is evident throughout our own nation’s great history.  Before our last election I reminded so many people of God’s promise to bless those who bless Israel.  Mr. Harper stood behind Israel and our nation benefited from that.  It’s absolutely incredible to look back on the prosperity our country enjoyed during his time as our prime minister.   How can we not use that to teach our children an important Biblical subject?

Teaching our children about Canada will open so many more discussions and opportunities for seeing God’s hand than if we just stick to a history of the world in general.  We need to make it personal, bring it closer to home.  The more I learn about Canada’s history, the more I see how closely the Lord worked in it’s beginnings and through the people who settled it.  We may not be a country that was distinctly settled for religious reasons, but, for lack of a better word, religion was the base for her founding as much as America’s was.  Wouldn’t you want your children to learn about that?  Don’t you want to show them how great she has been in the past because of God’s blessings and how we, as Christians, can work to see her continue that way?

I wish I could inspire a love for Canadian history in each person I meet.  I have heard so many people say how boring it is and I want to snatch those words out of the air.    If you spend your time looking at the EVENTS that shaped this country, then yes, you could find it boring.  We didn’t fight any big civil wars or burn down government buildings.  But the PEOPLE that shaped this country are fascinating.  Canadians have been known for having courage and stamina that surpasses other nations.  That’s the legacy I want to pass on.  Standing up for what is right and having the courage and determination to press on even when circumstances are difficult.

What do you want your children to learn?

Amanda Cunningham

Amanda worked as a full-time school teacher for two years before getting married and having two wonderful kids.She blogs about faith, family, food, and fun.While crafting takes up a lot of her extra time, Amanda also strives to help others through ministry in her church and in the community.Amanda, also known as Mae, works as the church music director and is hoping to start tutoring and teaching music again in the days to come.

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