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mexican americans - how will you teach LOs about the "real" history of USA? - Page 2

post #21 of 34
I don't think that it is helpful for the OP to discuss history in a framework of "real" vs. "not real" with her kids -- it fact that seems frequently dangerous to me!

There are historical facts we know (as much as we can know anything) to be true. For example, the date of the Declaration of Independence.

There is historical information that we can deduce, for which the "trueness" is dependent on the strength of the deduction and the historian's analysis. For example, a historian might attempt to deduce the relative wealth and standard of living of the colonies of Mass. and VA from 1710 to 1750 by compiling and reviewing probate records of that time period.

There is historical opinion -- what did the people of Mass and VA (based on their letters and diaries and newspaper articles, etc.) think of their relative wealth and standard of living from 1710 to 1750? What weight such opinions should be given in trying to analyze that issue is, of course, open for interpretation.

Then there are historical interpretations made from such historical facts, deduced historical information, the opinions of people living at the time, information provided by archealogical findings, etc., etc. Some of these interpretations are sounder and/or more broadly accepted than others. Kids should understand the broadly accepted historical interpretation, and then that there are many other interpretations that take those facts and come to a different result and then look at a couple of the sounder alternative historical interpretations.
post #22 of 34
Why not teach them your family story as it relates to the border moving?
post #23 of 34
We live in a city that is bilingual and our culture in this city has a lot of Latino flair. Maybe your perspective is influenced by where you live. I'm a teacher myself so I certainly don't think that the school curriculum is designed to mislead students (at least not here or in other places where I've taught) or something like that. And since the 90s there has been a huge movement in many schools to present a view of history and the world around us (if that's what you are talking about), a huge push for multiculturalism. Is it enough? no, but the public schools are full of leaks. One plug at a time. I do "correct" things my children learn in school, of course. I do encourage them to look beyond textbooks, to question constantly -- but I would do that regardless of our heritage, because I am naturally skeptical and believe it's a healthy approach to life in general.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane91 View Post
I don't think that it is helpful for the OP to discuss history in a framework of "real" vs. "not real" with her kids -- it fact that seems frequently dangerous to me!

There are historical facts we know (as much as we can know anything) to be true. For example, the date of the Declaration of Independence.

There is historical information that we can deduce, for which the "trueness" is dependent on the strength of the deduction and the historian's analysis. For example, a historian might attempt to deduce the relative wealth and standard of living of the colonies of Mass. and VA from 1710 to 1750 by compiling and reviewing probate records of that time period.

There is historical opinion -- what did the people of Mass and VA (based on their letters and diaries and newspaper articles, etc.) think of their relative wealth and standard of living from 1710 to 1750? What weight such opinions should be given in trying to analyze that issue is, of course, open for interpretation.

Then there are historical interpretations made from such historical facts, deduced historical information, the opinions of people living at the time, information provided by archealogical findings, etc., etc. Some of these interpretations are sounder and/or more broadly accepted than others. Kids should understand the broadly accepted historical interpretation, and then that there are many other interpretations that take those facts and come to a different result and then look at a couple of the sounder alternative historical interpretations.
I have to agree with. Things like the American revolution looks differently from the British point of view. Which one is right? There are hard facts -- dates in history. Then you have peoples point of view.
post #25 of 34
I am Native American and I do teach my dd history with that viewpoint added.

We haven't gone over the Mexican wars but I do intend on including the viewpoint of the Mexican natives.

I second the recommendation for Howard Zinn.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
I have to agree with. Things like the American revolution looks differently from the British point of view. Which one is right? There are hard facts -- dates in history. Then you have peoples point of view.
I agree, from the British viewpoint the taxes were being levied in order to pay for the French and Indian wars and they were only being expected to help pay the costs of keeping the colonies within the Empire.

There are layers to every tale.
post #27 of 34
We are part Native American and my children are also the children of someone born in the Soviet Union. Besides that, yes we are also hispanic, here since before the Mexican-American war (so hiya, Sister!). I will not have my children believing lies--and frankly, some textbooks DO print outright lies, pure and simple. But yes, at times they are just different perspectives. I plan to be frank with my kids: To the victor go the spoils, including history books. None of us was there. Here are some things that are backed up with fairly solid evidence even though some may say they are not true, because they believe it would justify actions they don't agree with.

The tests in school ask you about what the book says, not about God's absolute truth, and you need to be able to explain that you know it. You don't have to believe it.

Mambera... that book sounds so interesting, even though you only gave the title. But what a great title!
post #28 of 34
EdnaMarie I completely agree, some textbooks do print lies and I am not ok with that.

I homeschool now so it is easier but when dd was in school I am sure I was a bit difficult. I tended to send notes. "My dd has colored Columbus' hands red because he has blood on them "
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
EdnaMarie I completely agree, some textbooks do print lies and I am not ok with that.

I homeschool now so it is easier but when dd was in school I am sure I was a bit difficult. I tended to send notes. "My dd has colored Columbus' hands red because he has blood on them "
HAH! Awesome. I wonder how that would go over at a Department of Defense school overseas.
post #30 of 34
"I homeschool now so it is easier but when dd was in school I am sure I was a bit difficult. I tended to send notes. "My dd has colored Columbus' hands red because he has blood on them."

That would have been subversive. In maybe 1971.

I'm not sure that it should be a matter of pride to have traded instilling in your child one unnuanced view of a historical event for a different unnuanced view (just of a different political persuasion).
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
This! I also recommend the Howard Zinn book and Lies My Teachers Told Me. There's the Young Peoples' Guide for the Howard Zinn book I got from the library for my kids. I really cringe at mainstream American history. It's sooooo wrong. My mom taught me at a young age the truth behind what I was told in school. I'm glad she did.
I was going to "THIS" that, too I'm not Latina, but I find a lot of the textbooks and standards abysmal (I'm a high school English teacher in California). I can't believe I didn't figure this out until college-- we'll be homeschooling or seriously supplementing DD's education, and this is one of the major sticking points for our doing so. I actually enjoy using LMTTM as a supplemental/choice text when kids are doing related projects in English class.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane91 View Post
"I homeschool now so it is easier but when dd was in school I am sure I was a bit difficult. I tended to send notes. "My dd has colored Columbus' hands red because he has blood on them."

That would have been subversive. In maybe 1971.

I'm not sure that it should be a matter of pride to have traded instilling in your child one unnuanced view of a historical event for a different unnuanced view (just of a different political persuasion).

He murdered and enslaved people, that is a fact.

There are things that one ought to offer a balanced perspective and then there are facts.
post #33 of 34
I think the most important thing to teach kids in terms of history (and anything, really) is to analyze sources. Primary sources, definitely, but also secondary sources. Every source has biases. What are they? Why do they exist? What is in the author's history, background, and purpose that is leading the author to write this way about this subject? What is the author getting out of this? How could you look at the subject being discussed from a different viewpoint? If author A says one thing, and author B says another thing, why?

Professors who have dedicated their entire lives to a subject write long books about this, and children definitely don't need to be taught to pick everything apart at that level. But a healthy skepticism about anything they read, and an understanding that everyone has biases (personal or cultural) goes a long way in creating a historically educated child.

In most cases, history is written by the victors and it's simple enough to dissect bias and where it appears and why it's convenient. In a few cases, it's written by the losers (see, for example, Gone with the Wind's pretty pronounced effect on our cultural understanding of the Civil War and Reconstruction). Historical jingoism sometimes causes backlash which is just as inaccurate (for example, the "Noble Peaceful One-With-The-Earth Savage" American Indian trope that often gets trotted out particularly for kids history books, which is so unbelievable patronizing and infantilizing). Even the "right" side has its exaggerations and myths: the Rosa Parks story that usually gets told is that she was just a tired old woman, when, in fact, she was an established activist well aware of what she was doing and very much meaning to spark exactly what she did spark. The innocent old woman who accidentally sparked a revolution makes a better story. She gave interviews until the end of her life basically saying that it really bothered her that she was going down in history as just an unassuming and unaware victim.

The Revolutionary War subject mentioned above is a really fascinating topic full of misinformation. As Abimommy said, the taxes we've heard about being so unfair were to pay off the debts of the French and Indian War, which had been entirely about protecting the colonies and which the residents of England had been paying for decades with no relief in sight. Up until this point, the colonists had paid no taxes whatsoever: all of the infrastructure and administration and salaries and protection were being paid by taxpayers who lived in England. Popular opinion in England was divided, and the majority did NOT support any effort to retain the North American colonies: they were a huge financial and bureaucratic pit with little return other than wood and furs. which were getting really hard to find at that point. The colonies in southeast Asia and Africa were already proving far more profitable and worth the effort. Most of the soldiers who fought on the British side were mercenaries, because England didn't even really think it worth it to devote too much of their naval and human resources. Cornwallis's next gig was as the Governor of India: not exactly the job you'd give to some truly shamed military failure who had lost a great asset to the Empire. George III was practically the only one in government really gunning to keep the colonies, and he was already insane at that point. His obsession with keeping the North American colonies was widely seen as a perfect example of his insanity. Good luck learning much of any of this in a history class before college.

But all countries need a creation myth, a shared heritage with which to rally the troops. Sometimes those goals are laudable, sometimes not. Sometimes they're harmless, sometimes they're not. Brits basically just roll their eyes when they hear about how devastated England was to lose our bickering little backwater: our Revolution is seriously just a blip on their long history. Thanksgiving was resurrected during the Civil War to give a shared heritage to North and South. The turn of the 20th century saw a huge prominence placed on colonial heritage: this was largely to differentiate "real" Americans from such interlopers as the Italian, Jewish, and Russian immigrants who were coming in large numbers. And going to "take over the country" and why couldn't they learn English like REAL Americas and they were having too many children and taking up too many social services and soon we'd all be speaking Yiddish and be forced to convert to Catholicism and soon there would be more Italians and Jews than white people! Sound familiar? Some things, unfortunately, never change.

Wow I went on for far too long in this comment Sorry about that. I think that there's not much you can do about what's taught at school. Teachers' hands, in many cases, are tied. History gets short shrift in most classrooms anyway. Until middle school, history is often just random little units taught around holidays or specialized months, with no coherence.

At home, I would teach your kids to read critically. I would make sure that they have access to a range of resources. I would check out the magazines Cobblestone and Calliope and see if they have any back issues that spark your interest: I find those magazines really well done. I would talk talk talk, as another poster recommended. This means that you have to make sure you've read a lot on the subject beforehand, so that you can be prepared to really have a discussion when something comes up. "Why do you think it says that? You know, I've read that actually X, Y, and Z is what happened. Why do you think your book says this, and my book said that? How do you think we can find out more?"

I think that the best way to make kids really think about history and culture is to travel. My parents were always taking us to random historical sites and little museums, and I think that it really fostered in me an appreciation of the human aspects of history.
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
He murdered and enslaved people, that is a fact.

There are things that one ought to offer a balanced perspective and then there are facts.
Queen Isabella of Spain, not exactly a model monarch of peace and kindness, was horrified at what Columbus did in the West Indies and how he specifically disobeyed her orders. When the woman who founded the Spanish Inquisition and was responsible for the death or expulsion of hundreds of thousands of her own people thinks you've gone too far, perhaps it's time to reevaluate...
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