My adult son and I like to exchange audio books with each other. Each of us spends a lot of time driving and these are good ways to redeem that time. Lately I have been listening to one he shared about George Washington. My son knows more about Washington than most people, having made him the subject of much study. I can honestly say that I learned more about our first president from this son whom I homeschooled, than I knew while I was teaching him.
I did not give my son a love of history. God gets the credit for giving him a good mind and the motivation to pursue his interest. My son gets the credit for using the gifts he was given. What I can take credit for is creating an environment for learning and encouraging him, and my other children, to read more than just one book on any given subject. I also emphasized the importance of consulting primary source material in addition to biographies and historical accounts written much later than actual events. I also made it clear that, as a result, they would be in a better position to come to their own conclusions rather than just parrot mine. In truth, when they pursued their interests, they often surpassed my knowledge in various areas.
My fifteen-year-old daughter and I were at the movies watching a film that dramatized a WWII spy mission to capture a German enigma-decoding machine. Much of what was happening went over my head and I muttered, “I don’t understand!” She quickly explained what had confused me. How did she know all about submarines when as her teacher I had not made this a focus of study? Later, she explained that on trips to the library she had read a number of books on the subject and that she and her dad had watched a documentary about submarines.