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my son has ZERO interest in history/global/cultural studies...

post #1 of 165
Thread Starter 

i have always kinda ignored this up until now. (he's 8.5)

 

i'm not sure what to do, he's a video game/lego/computer kinda guy. dislikes reading, dislikes me reading non-fiction to him. is bored with historical videos and trips to the local (and very cool) history museum. 

 

in our state he is required to learn local, state, US and world history starting in 1st grade. i'm not sure how long i can continue to "enhance" his quarterly reports. and he has to start testing soon at the end of the year. 

 

any suggestions? i don't want to fight with him. i'm not going to bother trying to "teach" him some random facts he's not interested in anyway. 

 

he's classic ADD and gets bored really fast, and is interested the most in hands on projects, esp science. 

 

post #2 of 165

Well, if you feel the need to "cover" information that most children in school likely forget soon after they've "covered" it, I would find ways to use what he enjoys to get at that content. For instance, you said he loves hands-on stuff, so how about getting involved in some projects involving skills that early settlers would have needed? Whittling clothespegs, making a broom, growing a garden, threshing and grinding grain, baking bread, building simple furniture, spinning wool, that sort of thing. If he's like most 8-year-olds he'll relish the opportunity to use a hammer, knife and saw, to dig in the dirt, etc.. If he dislikes non-fiction but enjoys novels, try historical fiction: I've not known very many kids to turn up their noses at stories like "The Sign of the Beaver," "The Golden Goblet" or "Johnny Tremaine." 

 

miranda

post #3 of 165
Thread Starter 

i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 

post #4 of 165

We're lucky not to need any reports / tests, but I wanted to say that my 8.5 yo DD is interested in history either, especially 'local' history. And definitely not in any systematic way.

 

For a while she was very interested in early humans and prehistoric people. This was sparked by some amazing Nova DVDs. We tried other history DVDs, but nothing sparked an interest.

 

It seems like every unschooler is into Egypt, but she is not into it at all, even if we have plenty of really cool (in my opinion lol.gif) books.

 

She's been reading the Little House books, so we do talk about the pioneer times. Mostly our explorations of history are focuses on how people lived during those time periods--what kind of houses they lived in, what food they cooked, clothes...How it is all different from our times.

 

I don't even know what I would be doing if we had to cover certain subjects. She is not interested in anything unless it is her own initiative.

 

 

post #5 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 


Do you listen to the radio at home? Having NPR on sometimes will spark a kid's interest in what the heck they are talking about.

ETA: And forgive me but it sounds like you had a crappy experience in your history classes. IME that's pretty unusual (especially the lack of analysis part). Is it possible that your frustration about the subject is somehow being communicated to your son?
post #6 of 165



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 

 

Knowledge of specific facts, and then the ability to analyse and synthesise them, come only if there's an underlying interest in the study of the past. I'm not sure what your question is, then?



 

post #7 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

i don't "feel the need" to "cover" anything. 

 

my goal for him is to learn whatever specific facts that will allow him to build the skills needed to critically analyze history and it's affects on the present and future. he's a smart, sensitive kid. it would be good for him to understand the underlying reasons for things like hunger in africa, or child slavery in india. he should know about the people who lived where we live now and how his people got here and stayed here. 

 

this i why my education in history was a waste of time: it left out the perspective of most of the people in the world. it left out major events. it was compartmentalized. there was no push to analyze anything. 

 

however, our state requires he have basic knowledge of history, social studies and cultural studies. i'd like him to get something out of what we have to do anyway. i would not waste my time "covering" anything. 


Btw you are totally contradicting yourself here. You need to teach him enough random facts to pass the stupid test...yes? That counts as covering the standards. I can see that it makes you angry and frustrated to be backed into that corner though...especially as you are unschooling.

What are the standards he is going to be tested on? What state/grade?
post #8 of 165

What state do you live in? It wold help to know more specifics about testing and reporting requirements where you live... even in states with testing, the requirements are usually pretty low.

 

Has he played Age of Empires? Cool game, and it "counts" as history. There's also a lot going on right now in the world that probably just comes up - news stories, newspaper headlines, etc. - and I think it would be hard to miss it, really...and talking about it definitely "counts".

post #9 of 165

That sounds really tough.

We did a cool one day archeology program that was hands on and interesting and taught about our local history. We've been to Civil War re-enactments for battles in our state. We visit local sites like ruins, historic buildings rather than just the museum. I like the idea of doing activities from that time, like a pp mentioned. Maybe you could incorporate Lego somehow? Maybe board games? My son likes Risk, and the Lewis and Clark card game. You might have a Monopoly game for your state, or you could make one.

 

 

post #10 of 165
Thread Starter 

good posts everyone... i see what a jumble this is now: i want one thing, the state wants something else and my son wants neither! okay 3 plates to juggle. orngtongue.gif

 

just an aside, i am a cultural studies freak. i took anthro in college, majored in women of color/third world women feminism in graduate school, and LOVE historical fiction! (among other geeky things)

 

i see i am going to have to do some project based stuff with him. he just needs to know general things about local history, revolutionary war, US history (like who was the first prez, etc) etc. 

 

maybe we should start with flint knapping or mound building? lol.gif

post #11 of 165

I was the same way as a kid...and somehow that changed because by the time I got to college, one of my two majors was sociology/cultural anthropology and now I am a culture *nut*...I love love LOVE learning about other cultures, cooking their food, visiting the countries, learning new languages.  But as a kid?  No fricken way...I hated it!

 

At our house, we do a lot to make culture fun.  We do the Little Passports subscription, do a ton of montessori-based cultural activities, I frequently print out pictures of life in various countries/their currencies/etc.  We learn about their celebrations, we cook meals from other countries, and I get videos & books (non-fiction) about various cultures.  Each month, we do an indepth country study based on whatever country we're receiving a packet from Little Passports on.  Last month it was Brazil...this month it's Japan.  We also go to cultural festivals & museums (Asia fest, world art museums, etc.)  DS made a pueblo house out of cardboard and then sat inside it while grinding corn with a morter & pestel, formed clay pots, and beaded necklaces when learning about the Pueblo culture.  We all made Tet Trung Thu masks, moon cakes, and laterns and then had a lantern parade when learning about the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn festival.  Stuff like that...

 

Culture/history/global studies doesn't have to be boring and fact based...there are a lot of ways to make it come alive.

post #12 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post

 

Culture/history/global studies doesn't have to be boring and fact based...there are a lot of ways to make it come alive.



yeah, i get this totally. my son however has not been made aware of this fact and totally not into mom or dad suggests/prepares/finds exciting... kwim? 

post #13 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post





yeah, i get this totally. my son however has not been made aware of this fact and totally not into mom or dad suggests/prepares/finds exciting... kwim? 


If you guys have a local Civil War/Revolution reenactment society that could be cool for local history. I'm not a huge fan of battlefield history but at least its something.
post #14 of 165

 

 

Quote:
he's a video game/lego/computer kinda guy. dislikes reading, dislikes me reading non-fiction to him.

Ha! He's my son's double. My son is 19 now but not much has changed. lol.gif  I always just put it out there if there was some legal educational benchmark that we had to meet. "This is what the state says we have to do. What do you think about it? How might we learn some of it?" Also, are you his tester when the time comes? If so, just help him with the answers.

 

 

Quote:

Has he played Age of Empires? Cool game, and it "counts" as history. There's also a lot going on right now in the world that probably just comes up - news stories, newspaper headlines, etc. - and I think it would be hard to miss it, really...and talking about it definitely "counts".

This. Esp if he's a gamer kid!

post #15 of 165
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post



If you guys have a local Civil War/Revolution reenactment society that could be cool for local history. I'm not a huge fan of battlefield history but at least its something.


ewwww... i'd rather do just about anything else. plus i think he'd hate it. 

post #16 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post

Has he played Age of Empires? Cool game, and it "counts" as history. 


Yup, and to this I would add Civilization (the first one is cool and available free now) and Assassin's Creed. 

 

There's also the UN's fairly teachy "Food Force," a computer game designed to teach kids about the challenges of delivering aid in the third world. And another one, "3rd World Farmer," a game that helps kids understand the cycle of poverty in developing nations.

 

Miranda

post #17 of 165

At 8.5, if he reads some historical fiction or plays some history-based simulation-style games, he should quickly pick up an age-appropriate understanding of the material.  I think of ages 4-10 as a good "Tales from History" age.  Most 4-10 year-olds are too young to benefit from attempts to teach in-depth historical analysis, but they can understand exciting stories about events, and older kids can understand that different perspectives lead to different stories about the same events.  

post #18 of 165
Thread Starter 

hmmm... i saw this online today. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/24/alchemy-making-comeback-scientists-say/

 

maybe using history of science as a springboard? i know he's interested in alchemy. 

 

post #19 of 165

History of science is really awesome, and you could re-create a lot of cool experiments (obviously, not ones that involve boiling heavy metals) that would help him understand what people were looking at and how they were explaining what they were seeing.  

post #20 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

ewwww... i'd rather do just about anything else. plus i think he'd hate it. 


You may change your mind. Look at Confederates in the Attic. My (historian PhD) husband is teaching it this semester. I'm reading it now. It's really fascinating and accessible.

 

I found that my kids really liked when we celebrated Mozart's birthday. What if you did something like that? I just sort of tell my kids stuff sometimes and they listen or don't. We'll watch YouTube videos or read wiki pages out loud. I talked about it being President's Day and we listened to Eric Foner on Fresh Air. It was sort of in the background. On MLK day, we have a picture book about him and we watched videos online. The really bizarre, non-holiday holidays are fun for the kids (and me). For Mozart's birthday, we printed out this neat image someone had made of him, listened to music on YouTube, read the wiki page, baked pumpkin cinnamon rolls (not really related, but my son's idea to celebrate), and I made a "powdered" wig out of yarn. They didn't necessarily participate in all of that, but they were there for it and didn't hate me for it. I think it sinks in through osmosis, in a way.

 

I also have this daily planner made by an anarchist collective out of Berkeley that has "this day in anarchist history" on every day, so I can get ideas about things that happened in the past that way. Talking with DH at dinner got my son asking what a protest was. I reminded him that he'd been to several.

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