First of all, let me thank one of our followers on Facebook over in the U.K. for the recommendation to review When We Ruled by Robin Walker. I certainly hope to hear more from them as they have some great insight on homeschooling in another country!
Now, how many textbooks have you had during your school career that really changed your life? Let me tell you, When We Ruled has the power to not only change your kid’s life, but your life as well as the reader and teacher. As a college graduate, I know more about Greek Mythology, European History, non-African languages, overall more about so many other groups than my own! If knowledge was an identity test, I honestly could not call myself an African-American. But Robin Walker’s work is definitely upping my knowledge game.
So far, this book is a true textbook with over 700-pages of not just text, but photos, maps, and notes as well. When I found out that he also put together a When We Ruled Study Guide and Reading Plan, that put the icing on the cake and makes it a must have in the curriculum of a homeschooled child. Dare I say any homeschooled child, regardless of ethnicity? If science has admitted that all life originated from Africa, then why would this work be excluded? Sadly, because it is about Africa (and not fitting into the usual narrative of spear-chucking and half-naked people) and has a so-called Black author, I’m sure it would be dismissed by many and that is a sad shame.
As you can see below, the study guide assigns a certain number of pages each day along with Test Yourself Questions, to bring out the main points of each chapter. I love how Walker uses study techniques like re-reading a chapter, having students study the picture and the caption, and will even ask a question forcing the reader to understand how certain positions stand or get refuted in modern history.
Now this is just part one of a series of posts we plan to do on When We Ruled. I have discovered quite a few different ways to apply the historical lessons from this book into bible and science as well. Therefore, the knowledge gets applied and reinforced, you know, the same way it is in traditional school when you learn that the Greeks and the Romans perfected language, knowledge, teaching, philosophy, medicine, fitness, the heavenly bodies, the days of the week, religion, and the list goes on and on!
But Robin Walker forces us to ask, “was what I learned in school correct?”
And that brings me to my last point. I have read some that question the history that Robin Walker outlines. Of course, I think all things should be tested and if false, rejected regardless of the source. However, much of the criticism that I have read thus far are similar to other arguments that I have heard made about African history which basically say, “there is no way African people could have been that smart”.
In The Roots of Nubian Christianity Uncovered, Salim Faraji speaks of the scholarly work done in the early 1900’s that debunked the narrative about Africa and the people and the racism they faced as other scholars would not accept their views (so much for the Ivory Tower being so liberal right?) William Leo Hansberry was the first academician in the United States to teach courses on African history in the 1920s, but was told by one of his mentors that, “I do not believe that Negroes founded these great civilizations. You are a brilliant student Hansberry, but you are a product of our civilization”. (The Roots of Nubian Christianity Uncovered, pg. 25)
My point? All of our lives we have been taught to never question what the Dominant Society tells us about ourselves, no matter how racist their worldview, but we will doubt knowledge from those who have no ax to grind. Or put another way, why do we always think someone else’s ice is colder?
If you are interested in any of the books mentioned in this article, click on any of the images below.
6 thoughts on “Our World History Book for 2016: When We Ruled by Robin Walker – Part One”
Thank you for writing this. I appreciate you responding so positively to my previous feedback. This book review is fascinating. One of my children is *very* keen on History, but both of them would benefit from more material of this sort. I am looking forward to the next instalment of your review!
It seems that it was serendipity that I found this blog. . When I read the story about Hansberry, I recognised the demeaning comment directed at him; for something uncannily similar had been posted on a mainstream American homeschool forum. When I challenged the errors in the comments, I was attacked, as if I were ignorant and a nuisance. I have had a rude awakening about some of the attitudes that are out there, and the persistence of ‘America’s original sin’. (It’s a little bit different in England, as BME people form a significant part of the churches. About 60% of the Christians in the London area are BME, and I believe that our ‘original sin’ is class prejudice.) It has made me wary of taking mainstream US home education sites at face value.
No, no, thank you! I can definitely relate to your experience as I have found it often over here. In the church, the battle definitely gets unnecessarily ugly. To the point, where I constantly ask, if Christians are professing to have The Truth, why not proclaim all truth? So why have a picture of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus that looks very feminine if your only defense is, “Well, it really doesn’t matter and we don’t know.” Sadly, so many US home education sites follow the same paradigm.
When We Ruled is providing me with quite a bit of knowledge to at least begin asking the right questions and forcing those who claim to be much smarter than I am on the topic, provide some logical answers. After all, the Truth sets us all free right? So keep challenging and don’t get discouraged!
Excellent post! I’m looking forward to receiving both the book and study guide!!! Thank you for sharing these gems. I appreciate your point about all things being tested and if false, rejected no matter the source. Per 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. And as the layman’s version goes, ‘Truth does not fear investigation (as we well know).’ I came across the below quote several months ago and the part that I find interesting as it relates to science, history, etc. is making ourselves an enemy of all that we read, and attack it from every side…another way to test what we are being taught and if proven false, you must reject it!
“The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration and not the sayings of human beings whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.”
― Ibn al-Haytham
Thanks for that Alex! I love that quote and I’m telling you now, you may see it again somewhere in the future 😉
We are finding quite a few ways to make the book more practical for our lives, so stay tuned for more parts in this series.