I remember third grade in public school. I recall two things that I learned that year; one was trying to tell time — it was so hard for me. I also remember the topic I enjoyed very much; that year I was first exposed to Greek mythology. Now that I am a Christian, I often wondered if teaching about Greek mythology in my Christian homeschool was wrong. I did some research and here are my findings.
Scroll down to access some free resources on teaching Greek mythology.
I find it hard to go through ancient history without mention of the culture which explains the happenings of the era. If your family plans to follow ancient history from the Old Testament through Western Civilization in sequence, which makes good sense, you will find that you will be faced with decisions to make about what to teach and why.
There surely are legitimate concerns parents have about teaching Greek mythology. Pretty much for the same reason, we don’t tell our children Santa is real or that Easter is about a fluffy bunny. There is, however, a slight difference that I can’t shake.
The difference lies in that dismissing Greek mythology leaves out the whole culture of ancient Greece. It also is a missed opportunity to compare the Greek gods worshiped to the One True God we worship. Another missed opportunity arises when Greek mythology could pave the way to introduce the ideology of false religion.
There is, however, one thing I do advise you do before teaching Greek mythology. That one thing is to make sure your child has a good understanding of the book of Genesis. Begin your Greek mythology unit with reviewing Genesis and what God says about man-made religion in the book of Romans. Not doing so could leave your student confused and wondering why you are teaching, in essence, myths.
Teaching Genesis as a foundation, provides a framework to set the scene for an understanding of Greek mythology. Yes, mythology is intriguing and cool. Yes, it is fun to learn about, but above all, it is a falsehood.
There are a few reasons I think it would be wise to teach Greek mythology and the mythological figures as part of Christian history in your homeschool.
- Early exposure to false religion will equip them to build their knowledge base on false beliefs and to search for Truth in Christ. When faced with the challenge to choose to follow Christ in a world full of falsity, knowing how to spot a counterfeit can be useful. That awareness can begin with learning about mythology.
- Myths are genuinely a part of our literary history. Much of our Western literature draws from the mythological stories of the past. Shakespeare uses stories from myths that children just won’t get unless you can refer back to ancient cultural history in Greece and Rome.
- To understand about ancient Greece, or Romans, Egyptians and Europeans for that matter, we should understand the culture in which they lived. Their culture involves mythology and explains why they did what they did. Explaining biblical events like not eating meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians and appreciating the issues faced by early Christians can be better explained when we know Greek and Roman history including the worship of their deities.
Teaching about Greek mythology in your Christian homeschool is not a bad thing if godly men had working knowledge of myths. It was evident that Moses knew about Egyptian false gods.
In fact, each of the plagues in Egypt could be understood more wholly when talking about deities that were worshiped there. For example, God’s first Egyptian plague was turning water to blood. It would be significant for our children to know that Egyptians worshiped Heket, the Egyptian goddess of fertility, water, renewal.
Paul even knew about historical Greek literature as he quoted Greek poetry in his teachings. In Acts 17; 22 – 28, Paul quotes two Greek writers to support his case that the God the creator did not need temples or temple services from humans.
To me, it is clear that we should have a working knowledge of biblical history, and yes, that includes mythology as it pertains to the culture of the empires surrounding Christianity through time.
Teach Greek mythology in context and NOT apart from scripture and biblical history. Teach it in the context of Christian history and prepare the teaching with a review of Genesis.
This will set the stage for you to edify your child in the ideas of false religion and have some fun learning about the different false God’s for the sake of knowledge base and context. Kids read fiction books all the time and find them intriguing. This should be no different.
You will find the conversations you will have with your children around Greek mythology will be intriguing and may draw them nearer to the Lord as they see how empty worship of other gods truly is.
Therefore, no. Teaching about Greek mythology in your Christian homeschool is not bad. In fact, it is historically accurate to teach about cultural and false religions surrounding Christianity through time.
Are you looking for FREE Ancient History resources?
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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