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A Love or Hate? What Makes the Difference? : A word from readers

Nelson Bergsma enjoying Madeleine Takes Command

by Zonya Bergsma

What makes the difference between a subject we love and one we hate? I sincerely believe that the enjoyment of a subject is completely based on how it is taught.

During my high school years, I loved Geography. My teacher had travelled the world and brought countless memorabilia to class, basically “taking us with him on his travels” and creating a lifelong love for our world. But as far as history is concerned, my memories consist solely of my teacher and none of the history we were supposed to learn. His droning, monotonous voice, while we were to be taking notes and memorizing dates, dates, and more dates, is the only thing that sticks in my memory. To put it bluntly, I hated history.

Fast forward a few years and I started to home educate my children. One fear I had was how I would teach them history as I certainly didn’t want them to dislike the subject simply because I did! This is why I love to share my story with others, because now, after 12 years of home schooling, and many years of teaching this “dreaded topic”, history is, hands down, my favourite subject.

What made the difference? The way it was taught.

For Canadian History, I used Donna Ward’s Courage and Conquest. This brought the important beginnings of our country to life for us. I taught this course 2 years ago to all 4 of my children at once (grades 4-9). Each day we covered a lesson by reading in the text and supplementary material, doing any mapping pages or other activities and then watching the corresponding episode on Canada: A People’s History. These DVD’s did a superb job of bringing what we had just learned to life. We loved them. We also read many historical novels of which we couldn’t tell you our favourite. Although I originally borrowed the novels, we enjoyed them so much we just had to purchase them for our own library! In addition to all of this, as a family we travelled to many different historical places in Ontario to experience Canada’s past today.

Thank-you Donna Ward for the difference you have made in my life and as a result, the life of my children. All the work you’ve put into your material has made history come alive for my family. What has made the difference? Just simply the way its been taught!