Teaching Tip 6 — Storytelling


The art of storytelling has been valued for millennia. From tribal peoples to Hollywood producers, telling a good story is one of the most powerful means of teaching the next generation.  Stories well told capture our minds, inspire our hearts, provide a model, and occasionally tickle our funny bone, don’t they?  

Stories exists in fiction and fairy tales, in real-life adventures on land and sea and air, in all countries and cultures and languages, in times past and times present. Stories can be written, filmed, painted, danced and spoken.  But if we were to go back to the earliest people, the keeper of collective memories, of oral traditions, and of remembered history would be the storyteller.  

We can get a sense of the power of oral storytelling by thinking back to our own early days.  Do you remember sitting around a campfire at night as a kid? Whether scouting, church groups, or family outings, there was usually someone who captivated everyone else with their riveting tales. Storytellers such as Garrison Keillor, with his News from Lake Wobegon, delight listeners with hilarious tales of home. First Nations storytellers on Without Reservations share profound stories of coming to faith in Jesus. Among homeschoolers, one of the best known storytellers—and a dear friend—is Jim Weiss of Greathall Productions. His dramatic ability to bring a story to life is amazing.

And, those stories stay with us. Far beyond the facts memorized for tests and quickly forgotten, stories have a way of interweaving themselves within our memories.  They influence, they remind, they direct, they encourage, they comfort, they challenge.

For me, sharing the breath-taking, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-chair-in-suspense stories of history is one of the greatest joys of my life. I love seeing the way stories from history intertwine with stories from Scripture, from Church history, and from the history of missions and revivals. There is something life-changing about seeing the thread of God’s goodness and loving-kindness in human history, even in the midst of the deepest tragedy. These stories not only draw students into history, but encourage their own relationship with the God Who is Faithful.

It changed my life. And, evidently, it is changing the lives of others as well. One of the most precious memories I have is of a homeschool mom telling us that her sixteen year-old son would, when overwhelmed with life, say, “I just need to go listen to Diana for awhile.” She said that my stories from history comforted him as it brought perspective.

And, it is my privilege to share this with you and your students.

My audio CDs are appropriate for ANYONE who wants to learn more about world history, whether students or adults, whether using another history curriculum or simply interested in the stories.

For those using the History Revealed curriculum, we have three different audio CD sets for each of these time periods, Ancient Civilizations & the Bible; Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries; and World Empires, World Missions, World Wars:

What in the World, Vol 1-3

True Tales, Vol 1-3

Digging Deeper, Vol 1-3

Here is the chronological order:

Volume One is history from Creation through Christ.

Volume Two is history from the Roman Empire through the French Revolution.

Volume Three is history from Napoleon through the Korean War.

What in the World is a fast-paced, chronological overview of world history, showing how one event leads to another. This is the “spine” of the audio CDs, and is required for the History Revealed curriculum.  Here is a sample from Volume 2.

What in the World, Vol 2 Audio Sample from “Life as an Eastern Emperor”:

True Tales is a collection of short biographies, vignettes, and more stories from world history. This is supplemental information, bringing people and events to life.

Digging Deeper is an in-depth look at particular events. This is supplemental, as well, with fascinating insight into various events and movements, such as Church history (Vol 2).