Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Making Peace with History

When I was growing up, one of my least favorite subjects was without question history. Talk about boring and miserable. When you're a kid, you just have no context to really grasp and appreciate what you're being taught. With the exception of a few genuine history buffs, I think this is still the case today. Kids are still forced to learn about various historical events and they really have no idea what they're learning or for that matter, why.

As you can imagine, this is a problem with homeschooling, because for the most part, our kids are not that interested in history, and who can blame them? Ironically, now that I'm an old man, I actually find it all very interesting, and even look forward to studying history with the kids. I don't think my enthusiasm is infectious, but it does motivate me to find a way to make it more interesting for them. For N, this may be impossible, but I have to give it a try. And since we homeschool, we can design a course plan that fits our interests and needs.

We have been using a combination of books, videos, and online courses, and it's been working out fairly well, albeit a bit slow. Then again, what's the rush? For A the focus is on civil rights but within the context of important historical events, and this is where we can make it interesting. She is doing an independent project at school that pertains to civil rights, so we decided to make that the focus of her history lesson. This kind of ties her whole year together. We begin with the Civil War, which we had studied ad nausum and are pretty much done with, then look at WWI and head into Women's Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. For N, we are looking at the French Revolution, which we will study as a precursor to the Industrial Revolution, which I think he'll find interesting... I sure do.

My hopes are that by tying different subjects together, it will make it more interesting and give a broader context to what they are learning rather than just memorizing facts. For all it's worth, I find it much more interesting and if you can believe it, am actually enjoying learning about some of these things, especially the French Revolution. Now that I'm old and creaky, I really like history.

We'll see how this goes. For A, she really just needs a year of history/civics for future scholastic endeavors, though it may spark an interest that she might pursue at a later date. For N, it's just about surviving and minimizing the amount of boredom that is inherent in learning history. I can't say a blame him.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Ryan Fellhauer for the pic.

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