5 Ways to Educate Your Child about the Holocaust
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Educating online homeschool students about the Holocaust presents a challenge for many parents. You want your children to see the beauty and wonder in the world, and teaching them about this dark time in history feels heavy. You may be worried about burdening your children with the knowledge of such a tragedy. Yet many parents also recognize the importance of educating their children about the Holocaust. We have to learn from our history. We have to know what humans are capable of, both good and bad. We have to teach our children a Godly moral standard.
In many places in the world, learning about the Holocaust is an inescapable part of life. In Europe, the history of World War II surrounds people daily. Places like Auschwitz have been turned into museums that are open to the public, and Holocaust memorials are in evidence in most major cities. School textbooks and Young Adult Novels dealing with this topic are part of every student’s reading list.
In the United States we are more removed (both physically and emotionally) from this topic. Without reminders surrounding us, it is easy for many to undervalue the reality of what happened, and misconceptions abound. Most curricula offer some lessons on the history of the Holocaust, but given the topic’s heavy moral implications, that might not be enough. Online homeschool parents who recognize the importance of teaching their children about the Holocaust have to be intentional and proactive in approaching this subject.
How can you introduce this weighty but important topic? How can you talk to your children about the tragedy, the loss of human life, and evil that became apparent through the events in WWII? How can you engage them in a discussion of the continued importance of the moral issues this topic brings up?
Here are five ways to start a teaching your online homeschool student about the Holocaust:
- Visit a Holocaust Memorial Site. You can find Holocaust remembrance sites all over the United States. With a little bit of research, you will be able to find a site near you. We recommend taking the time to learn more about the memorial before you go. What group is responsible for building it? When was it built and dedicated? Has the group released a special statement about it? After visiting the site, take the time to sit with your student, answer their questions, and allow them to process.
- Visit a Holocaust Museum. There are several Holocaust museums in the United States. Since the biggest ones are found in major cities, a visit to a museum might take the form of a larger trip for you and your family. If your family is taking an educational vacation to Washington DC, for example, make the Holocaust Memorial Museum one of your stops. These museums are intentionally structured to be educational, and are often a very intense experience. After you leave the museum take the time to pray together as a family and give your emotional burdens over to God’s care.
- Learn about Yom HaShoah. Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed all over the world by Jewish people in April. Often Jewish temples have special services commemorating those who died and those who lived through the Holocaust. Take the opportunity to learn about Jewish traditions surrounding this day, and see if there is a remembrance event near you that is open to the public.
- Read a Related News Article and discuss the impact that the Holocaust still has on the world today. The importance of the Holocaust is such that world leaders often address the topic. History is not just a record what happened in the past; it continues to have a social and personal impact on us today. Discussing the ways that the Holocaust continues to impact us is an opportunity for your student to understand the importance of studying history, learn to make connections, and expand their critical thinking skills. It is an opportunity for you to talk to them about loving others.
- Discover Young Adult WWII and Holocaust Literature. For many young people today, it is easier to learn about history when they can connect it with a story. There are many excellent books, both nonfiction and novels based on true events. If your family likes to read out loud together, reading one of these books could create the opportunity to have a discussion with your online homeschool student.
Biblical Perspectives to Consider
God created humans in His own image, “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). God made the peoples of this earth, and the killing and degradation that were a part of the Holocaust, and the racism and evil that caused them, is a perversion of God’s desires when He created us. The people who died in the Holocaust were made in God’s image, and still the Nazis tortured and murdered them. While this happened, otherwise good people stood by and allowed it to happen.
The Old Testament tells the story of God choosing the Israelites as His people and making a covenant with them. God chose the Jewish people to be His treasured possession and a light to the nations, and the covenant He made with Abraham still stands today. God grieves when His people are persecuted against. He grieved over those who suffered in the Holocaust and he grieves over those who suffer today.
Enlightium Academy wants to support you as you educate your online homeschool students about this difficult topic. We offer a variety of accredited history courses to students and certified teachers to help the students. Our students are encouraged to go on educational trips, and we offer students extra credit for writing reports about those trips.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.