Ask the Author
The Mystery of History has been Bright Ideas Press’ flagship history program since it first came out nearly 20 years ago. We were delighted to release the Third Edition of Volume I this year. We asked the author, Linda Lacour Hobar, to tell us a little about herself and her latest work.
Tell us a little about yourself: what do you do when you are not writing, editing, or revising? How did you meet your husband, Ron?
I wish I could say I have a super exciting life when I’m not writing, but I still spend six days a week on The Mystery of History! That’s because I’m either updating existing work or I’m writing blog posts, newsletters, workshops, and articles. Write, write, write—it’s an enormous part of my life. When I’m not writing, you may find me weeding in the backyard, playing in the pool with my grandchildren, or kayaking with my husband of 35 years. For the curious, I met my husband Ron in Austin, Texas when he joined a ministry team I was overseeing on a mission trip to South Padre Island. He proposed about 8 weeks after we met! (Ours was a whirlwind romance and still is!)
What made you decide to create this series of textbooks?
I confess: I never said as a child that I wanted to grow up and write world history! Nope, I didn’t even like history. But I had professors in college who told great stories in history and opened my mind and heart to this amazing subject. Once that love was cultivated, it stayed. And once I began to homeschool, I felt a restlessness to perpetuate that love – for my children and others. With a sense of the Lord whispering the title to me, I felt “called” to write The Mystery of History in the year 2000 and have never looked back.
What was it like doing the research for this series?
On good days, the research was a breeze because I was enthralled by what I was learning. But if I were honest, there were days that I hit brick walls! History is rife with controversies, which always sent me back for more research – and prayer. A common prayer for me was: “Lord, what would You have me write about_______? Give me wisdom on this one!” After 20 years of writing, I’m still praying that prayer. Without His guidance, I couldn’t have written at all and wouldn’t continue to write. I have to lay it at His feet over and over again.
What was the most surprising thing you discovered during that research?
My greatest surprise was the discovery of kindred spirits across the ages. While I primarily write about “dead people,” some came alive to me by the writings they left behind. A few folks I’ve greatly admired across the centuries would include (in no special order): Blaise Pascal, Jeanne d’Albret, William Wilberforce, Sojourner Truth, Isaac Watts, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, Chief Joseph, Helen Keller, and Corrie ten Boom. There’s more, but I think you get the idea. I deeply appreciate inspirational characters in history and think our students desperately need to know them!
How did you choose which events, people, and places to cover? Was it hard to narrow down your lesson list?
It was always hard to choose what to leave in and what to leave out! I studied scores of lists and tables of contents to begin the process of narrowing it down and naturally chose the topics of greatest significance to my Christian readers. One rule of thumb for me was this: if I found myself quickly bored with the subject, then I tossed it. I determined that truly significant history would not be boring! History that’s worthy of our attention should teach important life lessons, explain cause and effect, lead us to ponder the plight of mankind, and point to God’s hand in history. When a subject does all this, and more, it’s a keeper.
The Mystery of History Volume I, 3rd Edition
What is new or different about the new edition of Volume I of the series?
The Third Edition of Volume I contains over 400 color pictures that were handpicked by me and by my husband. We spent hours and hours and hours choosing wholesome photos we thought would enhance the story or stir the imagination. It was hard to meet those criteria! Besides that, I was able to greatly improve the contents of the Companion Guide with improved activities, photos, and mapping exercises. We think our families will like the upgrades! (Even the Answer Key is more pleasing to the eye than it used to be!)
What is your favorite aspect of the new edition?
Hands down, my favorite aspect of the new edition is the inclusion of the colorful pictures. These paintings, relics, sketches, and historical sites really help tell the story of ancient times. I’ve welled up many a time just flipping through the pages. I think most people are like me and will greatly enjoy the added visual effects!
You speak at homeschool conventions all over the country — what is your favorite talk to give and why?
Naturally, my favorite workshops are about world history. I offer a few on homeschooling itself, but I feel I have the most to offer in telling stories from world history that ignite an interest in the subject for students and parents alike. My most highly attended workshops would be: “Bad Boys of the 20th Century,” “What Teens and Tweens Should Know about WWI,” and “When Bible History and World History Meet Face to Face.” For encouragement to moms, I personally enjoy “Mary and Martha Decide to Homeschool,” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Homeschool.” When the moms cry, I suspect I’ve touched their hearts and touched on a need. (Moms cry the most in those two sessions.) When it’s all said and done, I’m honored to speak anywhere, anytime on world history, homeschooling, and matters pertaining to a biblical worldview. (Most of my workshops are available on my website: . For booking information, please email .)
In closing, I just want to thank Bright Ideas Press for publishing The Mystery of History and standing with me on the timeless truths of the Gospel that are woven into the very fabric of world history!
It has been intriguing to hear from the driving force behind The Mystery of History, Linda Lacour Hobar. Her call to create this series nearly twenty years ago has had a significant impact on many homeschool families! We at Bright Ideas Press appreciate the time she took to share with us all about the NEW edition of Volume I and her creative process. You can purchase the new edition of Volume I now – visit the Bright Ideas Press store to see the new edition, along with many other practical tools that will guide you as you bring history to life for your children!