If you’re a Christian, teaching your kids about the history of Christians who’ve come before us might seem like a no-brainer.
After all, historic Christians are family, right? And we all want our kids to be able to observe character through the lives of faithful Christians. Maybe we even want our families to learn about some massive mistakes Christians have made throughout history. It’s a lot easier to see where poor doctrine leads when we look back than it is to guess where it may lead looking forward.
I asked my fourteen-year-old son how studying Christian history at home has impacted his life. Here’s what he had to say: “It’s introduced me to theology. It’s obviously introduced me to the lives of the Christians we’ve studied. It’s helped me to realize that they are imperfect as well. It’s been interesting me to study the heretics. When I hear a heresy now, I know how old that heresy is and where it came from. And I know what the name of the heresy is. Historic Christians, like Augustine and John Bunyan and Polycarp encourage me to live for God by the way they lived their lives, and to see what they did. It’s cool.”
Teach Christian History at Home
Ok. So, we want to teach Christian history… but how? Let’s be honest–most of us aren’t well versed in the history of the Christian Church. And how can we teach Christian history in a way that makes it something our kids want to learn?
Take a deep breath! Kids love stories, and Christian history is a series of fascinating stories. I’m going to give you three ways you can teach Christian history. I’ll suggest some great resources, and I’ll even give you a discussion guide to get you started! You can start teaching Christian history in your home by the time your kids are in preschool, and you can ramp it up as they grow–by the time your kids leave home, they’ll have a good understanding of not only Christian history, but also of theology, doctrine, heresies, character, and world history!
1) Teach Christian History at Home Through Literature
One of my favorite ways to teach Christian history at home is through literature. Age-appropriate biographies and historical fiction are wonderful and can be used as family read-alouds. I love that reading these books to our children allows us to have engaging discussions.
One of my children actually had a significant heart change when we read Pilgrim’s Progress, then read the story of John Bunyan. Bunyan was a difficult child, opposed to Christ and the Church. Once saved, he spent years in prison for preaching the gospel. This testimony made a tremendous impact on my son. He asked to be baptized after we finished the biography.
Literature is a wonderful way to share the history of the Christian faith through story. It can be non-confrontational and engaging, but highly educational. In fact, that’s why I wrote When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther as historical fiction. I wanted to tell Luther’s important story in a way that would engage teens, helping them to feel his story, rather than just learn the facts.
Excellent Christian History Literature
When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther
Trailblazer Evangelists and Pioneers Box Set 1
Trailblazer Missionaries and Medics Box Set 2
Trailblazer Preachers and Teachers Box Set 3
Trailblazer Reformers and Activists Box Set 4
Trailblazers Heroes and Heroines Box Set 5
Trailblazer Art and Science Box Set 6
Hammer of the Huguenots (Heroes and History)
The Thunder: A Novel on John Knox
The Betrayal: A Novel of John Calvin
The Revolt: A Novel in Wycliffe’s England
Check out our ENORMOUS list of Living History Books for Kids.
2) Teach Christian History at Home Through Chronological History Books
Another great way to teach Christian history is by reading through chronological history books with your kids.
Overviews of Christian history give children context to help them understand how all of Christian history ties together. Kids will start to understand how the Church ties into history, and where the historical figures and events they’ve learned about through biographies and historical fiction fit into the broader context.
Chronological Christian history books are best used with middle grade students and teens. You’ll want to start these after 4th grade.
Great Christian History Overview Books
History Lives Box Set: Chronicles of the Church
Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History
The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History
Church History in Plain Language: Fourth Edition
3) Teach Christian History at Home Through Research and Writing
Once your children are in middle and high school, teaching them Christian history can take on deeper dimensions. Your older kids can begin to research Christian history and take notes about what they’re learning.
There are a number of benefits to having your older children research Christian history. Not only will they learn to research and take notes, they will delve deep into the roots of the Christian Church. Your kids will have a deeper understanding of denominations, modern lines of thought, doctrine, and theology than most adults!
Another benefit to individual research is that your kids will learn about Christians not always covered in overview texts or in individual biographies. There have been faithful Christians all over the world who have made an impact for Christ. Those individuals are worth learning about, even if they aren’t normally studied in overviews of the Christian Church.
Cobblestone Path™ Church History Research Journals are one way to facilitate research into the history of the Christian Church. Laid out in a chronological manner, the journals take teens through the major people, events, documents, and heresies of the history of our faith. Students will do research on each topic or individual, then take notes about what they’ve learned.
Teaching your kids about Christian history is important, and it can be fun! You can easily work it into your daily routine, and you can start today.
Michell Bernice says
I’m an Evangelical Christian and a homeschooler mom of four. Christian History is very important to me because it shows the relevance of Christ into our lives. I hope I can get these informative books as we are starting to homeschool in the Philippines.
Tami Qualls says
I’m excited about both because I wasn’t taught Christian history in public school. The opportunity to teach it to my son at home is amazing!
I want my kids to learn to think for themselves and not just rely on the church leaders. Studying those who have gone before is a great way to reinforce that teaching.
Heather Goetsch says
This year we are using The Mystery of History III, The Renaissance, Reformation and Growth of Nations. We are looking for some additional supplements and we’d love to add this to our study.
I feel like this is exactly what my son needs! It looks fantastic!
We’re studying church history this year & this would be so helpful!
Rachel Tankersley says
I would love to teach my kids about Martin Luther. (and learn more myself)
I’ve never thought much about church history until the last couple of years. I’d love some resources for myself, and my kids!
Liz McVey says
These look like amazing resources. Thank you for sharing so many great ways to teach about Christianity.
The lives of great men and women who furthered the gospel, even unto death, have inspired a truer form of patience and endurance for Christ’s sake in our own lives.
Sally Chancellor says
I think this would be quite interesting for me, actually, and to go over with my oldest. And both of my school age kids would love When Lightning Struck.
Lisa F. says
Thank you so very much for passing on the wonderful stories of the Reformation to the next generation! Your site is an encouragement to our family!
Deena Hargett says
This is a wonderful blog. I love using books to teach history, especially Christian History. Thank you for thos giveaway. We have never done journaling or notebooking but are starting to do some this year so the Cobblestone Path will be especially helpful.
Cassie Middaugh says
I am new to reformed theology, but want to teach my children church history, because it is so important and has had such an impact on the history of the world! I homeschool a 6 year old boy and also a 19month old girl 🙂
Sunny Silva says
Learning from those who have gone before us is critical, and these resources will make that so much more interesting and fun!
Jamie E. says
I am excited about learning more myself about Martin Luther and the Reformation. Also, this is a topic we will be covering in school next year and this looks to be a great supplement to that.
Sharon Normark says
I believe teaching (and learning) Christian history is very important for my students’ understanding of their heritage, which helps them ponder and understand who they are as a Christian. Having good/great resources is vital to that endeavor.
JIll VS says
Thank you for this great resource! This is an area I want to be strong in, but wasn’t sure where to start! Thank you!
Cheryl Powell says
So excited for the 500th anniversary this yr. Would love this resource
With this he 500th year of the reformation, I would live to read When lightening struck to my son. My son is a bit young for Cobblestone path, but I believe it would be an incredible Bible curriculum when he’s a bit older.
Thank you so much for posting a list of books! My 9 yr old son absolutely loves to read all kinds of books and to discuss history, but never seems to enjoy his History text book for school. I went a different route this year, but the same results. These books make me feel like I could make a “curriculum” with them and he would enjoy it. Thanks again!