history through different lenses - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-29-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm curious how history can be taught in various ways. I've never been much interested in learning about royalty, wars and 'major' significant events. I definitely see the purpose of being aware of these major names and events but I personally don't value researching these things in depth and in a seperated context. I also feel that much of what we learned in history class and read in books has been selected for various purposes and don't necessarily reflect the truth, or whole truth.

We're not homeschooling at the moment, but did so last year. We're possibly starting up again sometime this spring and i would like to make some sort of vision board for what we'd like to focus on. I'd love to hear about other families' take on history. perhaps i'm leaning towards integrating history as part of other subjects more than letting it be its own. i don't think my son would be receptive at all to traditional history lessons.

sorry i'm not bringing any more specifics here about what i'm looking for, i think i mostly just want to get a feel for the various ways i can bring history into homeschooling. any suggestions on books, philosophies, curricula etc are welcome. if we do manage to get our HS application approved and HS doesn't become illegal here next fall, we'd have to follow the swedish state curriculum so we'd obviously throw some dry facts into the mix as well.



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#2 of 7 Old 12-29-2010, 05:36 PM
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I am a history teacher and my favorite way to teach is to focus on how people in the past lived.  Everyday life in other words.  Once that foundation has been established (what people ate, where they lived, what they wore, where they worked and what they believed) it can be incorporated into larger events.  So for example when I teach WWII I teach the civillian experience and not the battles.  Students are much more interested in London during the Blitz than they are in a strategic play by play of the "action".  Especially when you look at rationing, sleeping in the underground and such.


What age is your son?  Because there are tons of really cool stuff online, but all I know about is the stuff more for older kids.

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#3 of 7 Old 12-29-2010, 08:37 PM
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My son just turned 5. We are using the books from www.sonlight.com without using the instructor's guide.


Teaching specifics of history seems pointless to me unless the kid is interested in the specifics. However, teaching the essence of human existence seems like powerful stuff. I like the sonlight books because, from what I can tell, they focus on individual lives. For example, I recall that one of the books for older kids is from the perspective of a Native American girl living in a valley. The white folk come along and insist the natives go away and this is the girl's story. Powerful stuff. Probably the actual character is fictitious, but the story is so important to know.


At the preschool level, the history book I recall is called Then and Now. It's pictures of contemporary scenes, say a grocery store, across the page from a market from history.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing and living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
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#4 of 7 Old 12-29-2010, 11:34 PM
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While we haven't made an effort to come up with an over-riding approach to teaching history, we've done a lot of what the PP have mentioned ... focusing on how people lived in previous ages, how they looked after the basic things of day-to-day existence, how that has changed over time and evolved into what we do today. We've read a lot of historical fiction; the Sonlight reading lists have provided us with some inspiration, but we've read a lot more than those especially from ancient through medieval times. And we've watched a lot of documentaries, especially those with re-enactments of historical life or historic events. 


As the kids got older (tweens and teens) it was helpful to have some sense of linear time to tie things together, and that has included some knowledge of rulers and dates. The Cartoon History of the Universe, Joy Hakim's "Story of Science" and Teaching Company lecture series covering high school history and the history of music helped create a bit more order and accuracy out of our living history approach. But that's not where we started. By the time the kids were introduced to that they had a lot of familiarity with life in other times.




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#5 of 7 Old 12-30-2010, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your great examples and insights. I love learning about how people lived myself. I'll check into that website.

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#6 of 7 Old 01-01-2011, 01:32 PM
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I'm afraid we have been all over the map with history so far. We tend to do a lot of crafts like dioramas or other multimedia projects to pull stuff together.

My son is almost 12 and now we want to do something more linear and in depth. Chamomile Girl  I would love for you to share some (or all) :0 of your resources! 

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#7 of 7 Old 01-01-2011, 02:34 PM
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my dd has autism, and she is a very cut and dry learner. we have a history journal for her, that sort of doubles as a timeline. we do read story of the world, but aside from that she loves getting books from the library to see examples of art and every day living.

Leah- mama to Audrey born 12/29/03 and Gwyneth born 4/1/2009! Soon to be TTC #3!
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