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Linda Lacour Hobar was born in Texas, graduated from Baylor University, and worked for 17 years with Campus Crusade for Christ. A homeschool mom of three, she has a passion for history and loves sharing it with other home educators. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, biking, and playing the guitar. She lives with her husband, Ron, and their family in Ohio.

  • CBD: You homeschooled your children for 13 years. What led you to homeschool?
    LLH: My husband and I were first introduced to homeschooling when we were newlyweds. We attended a tiny church in Manchaca, Texas, where several homeschool families joined us in worship every week. I was so impressed with the closeness of these families that I began to explore homeschooling and seek the Lord on the matter. I interviewed the older children of these families and began to look at materials. Of course, we liked what we found. So, while my oldest was still in the womb, my husband and I concluded that we would try homeschooling, at least for the first year. That grew into 13 years with the addition of two more children. I learned along the way that while I didn’t always love the “process” of homeschooling, I loved my children. They are why we continued on. The positive outcome of our experience has been one of the greatest rewards of my life. And by the grace of God, we have grown to be a very close family, much like those who first influenced us to homeschool.

    CBD: World history is a very large subject. What motivated you to develop The Mystery of History series, and what challenges do you face when writing it?

    LLH: Several things motivated me to write The Mystery of History, but none more than sensing the Lord whisper the title of the series in my ear. (Not literally, but it was very clear.) I was in the kitchen, preparing dinner when “The Mystery of History” came to my mind. I knew immediately that the Mystery was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that I was to write about Him as the center point of history. I stopped cooking, went downstairs to our old computer, and wrote a dedication page to my children, which appears unchanged today in volume 1. Over the next few weeks, the structure of the series unfolded in my mind and onto scraps of paper. It was so exciting at times that I could hardly breathe.
    Interestingly, it was prior to this experience that I was praying about my life and asking the Lord to help me focus on something lasting. I am a high-energy person with many interests, but I was very spread out and not feeling like I was having a strong impact in any one area. I feel the answer to that prayer was The Mystery of History. Besides that, I had struggled finding a curriculum for my own children that integrated the Bible with world history events. I knew what I wanted and told friends “kiddingly” for a year or two, “One day, I’m going to write my own history curriculum.” That day came!
    My challenges? There’s not enough room here. I think God could have chosen someone wiser, holier, and with more credentials. (I had never written a book before!) I am humbled everyday that He gave me this calling, this passion, and this desire to write. I cling to the verse that says, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). From that I gather that despite my frailties, which are many, God will finish what He started with me—not for my glory, but all for His. With the message He’s given me to share (that He is the Mystery of history), I have been bombarded by the enemy in a myriad of uncanny ways. The struggle only serves to keep me on my knees and to believe all the more that this message is of great value.

  • CBD: The information on the back cover of your books states, Written by a proponent of making the classical method easier to use. In your view, what are some of the difficulties with the classical method of education, and how does your series address them?
    LLH: To answer this question, I would first like to define a classical education, which I believe has many layers. On a simple layer, a classical education takes one back to the classics—ideas, literature, original works, and stories from world history that have stood the test of time. On a second layer, a classical education veers away from traditional textbooks to study subjects more deeply with a heavy emphasis on reading and writing. On a third layer, a classical education is most effective when applied to students differently according to their stage of development (the three-fold stages are grammar, logic, and rhetoric.) For those three reasons alone, I feel a classical education can be overwhelming to a homeschool teacher or parent! He or she is faced with poring through deep original works for multi-age students at their various stages of understanding. That’s a lot of preparation for a teacher/parent who probably did not receive this type of instruction in his or her own education. Most parents today feel extremely inadequate in their knowledge base of the classics and of world history. (I hear this ALL the time!) They may easily feel that "they can’t teach what they don’t know.”

    I have good news. In The Mystery of History, I try to incorporate the layers of a classical education as outlined above. First, through historical narratives, I “talk” directly to my readers to tell stories from around the world. These include great achievements like the building of Stonehenge; classics like Dante’s Divine Comedy; major historical events like the fall of the Roman Empire; and biographies of legendary leaders like Cleopatra, King Arthur, and Attila the Hun. Teachers do not have to know the stories ahead of time—they can learn right along with their students. Each lesson is complete in and of itself. I do make suggestions for further reading of classics, historical fiction, original works, and books of interest, but none are “necessary” for grasping the main points of the lessons.

    Second, I tell history “stories” that cover far more than textbooks. Besides wars and treaties and politics, I try to cover people’s character, their beliefs, and their dreams. We all have these influences that shape us and ultimately shape our world. That’s taking a deeper look at history! For example, readers would consider the greed that motivated Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar; the strong beliefs of Daniel and Buddha; and the heartfelt dreams of Leif Ericsson and Christopher Columbus. Students are regularly challenged to read more than what is presented and to frequently write about their experiences through a variety of methods.

    Third, to tackle the stages of development, each and every lesson in the series is followed by activities for younger, middle, and older students. It is in these activities that students can handle the information learned on their level. For obvious reasons, younger student activities are more concrete, hands-on, and fun to help them retain what they’ve learned. They get to dye things, eat things, build things, sing things, and more. Older student activities are more research-oriented to expand what they’ve learned. They will seek original works; research legends; outline world religions, and more. Middle student activities are a combination of both to push and pull students as they mature. And they may always choose younger or older activities to suit their learning style.

    Having homeschooled myself, one of my primary goals in writing this curriculum was to make it user-friendly. I empathize with those who desire quality education for their students but who feel inadequate to provide it because of their lack of time, knowledge base, or resources. My prayer is that The Mystery of History will help meet the educational goals of students and go beyond that with telling the Gospel and providing a strong Christian worldview for the entire family.

    CBD: In studying world history, the issue of pluralism—cultural, social, and religious—inevitably arises. For example, in volume 1 of your biblically based series, you respectfully discuss the origins of Buddhism and Hinduism. How should Christian homeschool parents approach the topic of pluralism and diversity with their children?

    LLH: According to Webster’s dictionary, pluralism is “a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation . . . within the confines of a common civilization.” In simpler words, it’s “how do we all live together with different beliefs, different ideas, and different looks?”

    It’s a great question. I think our best approach to pluralism and diversity is to look at the life of Jesus. He spoke truth in love to people of all ethnicities, classes, and beliefs. He ministered to the Samaritan woman, the rich young ruler, the Pharisees, and the outcast lepers. In my opinion, we should follow His example. One way to minister to people of all walks of life is to try to understand them. For example, I think there is great value in understanding why people might adhere to the moral teachings of Confucius; why the Aztecs thought it necessary to sacrifice humans; or why Inuit people have similar physical features across the Arctic zones of the continents. I feel understanding can lead to compassion—and compassion for the lost is what Jesus modeled. (Of course, a desire to model the life of Jesus comes through experiencing a personal relationship with Him and having a solid understanding of His teachings.) Though we do see great diversity in mankind through customs, traditions, style, and faiths, it appears to me that mankind is more alike than different. In every culture I’ve studied and written about, I see common threads. For example, all people seem to want to preserve their heritage; to expand their cause; and to make sense of their existence. I believe we see this because all people were made in the image of God. He seeks to preserve His children; to further His kingdom; and to give meaning and purpose to our lives through relationship with Him. All this to say, I think the topics of pluralism and diversity are best approached as a means to share the Gospel.


     

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    The Mystery of History & Enrichment4You.com, Volume 1 Craft Pak on CD-ROM
    The Mystery of History & Enrichment4You.com, Volume 1 Craft Pak on CD-ROM


    The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and  the Middle Ages
    The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and the Middle Ages
    Linda Lacour Hobar


     

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