Is it important to learn history? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#61 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:56 PM
 
Wolfmeis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pugetopolis
Posts: 3,430
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
This seems like a really good summary of what I THINK a lot of people here are saying. Is this enough for most of you? Is it enough to have this kind of attitude toward history, along with a general sense of what happened when, and the understanding that a lot of popular ideas about historical events are not entirely accurate? Or maybe all that PLUS having actually researched a few historical events or periods enough to get beyond the pop-culture, children's textbook version of what happened? I think that's actually about what I want for my kids (though they don't have to think history is "incredibly important" - "pretty important" would be more in line with my own feelings.)
My oldest child is only 7.5 years old, so that works for me for right now. But we don't shrink from history. We tell them the stories-- and come now, what does a child love better than to have a parent tell them a story-- and let them reenact the ways they made it through their days. We've done (I hesitate to use the word unit studies here, but the unschoolers will get it) intense periods of study on the life and culture of Victorian Britain, Pioneer America, Native Americans in the PNW, Egypt, Rome, Frontier America, and the revolutionary war. They do these things because they flow from one to another. They can be sparked by random questions like "what did they do without lights?" or "Why do we have those funny columns on the courthouse?" And off they go.....

As children free of curriculum, mine have the luxury to actually GO to the places we're talking about. For instance, my kids have been to Chief Seattle's grave, across the water from the city that bears his name. They know what his tribesmen look like today, how they earn their money as a tribe even now; what they had to do to maintain their autonomy. Do they know it's "history?" I don't really know. They just know that's the story.

As we get older, I expect the children will become more involved and interested in the intrigue and drama of it all; of the planning and skill that is required for military maneuvers on a global scale; an appreciation for the brutish lack of skill it requires to bully small subsets of populations. They will understand how standing, unquestioned racism becomes genocide without people even really noticing. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point: the human condition is the same across the years. How we respond to different ideas and motivations is recorded. We should know that the record exists, and how to access it, and why. For me, right now, I am still shielding them somewhat from the burdens of an adult life, and they don't need to know just yet the bloodiest bits of it all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I think maybe at least some of you are saying that's not quite enough, you also ought to accumulate a fair amount of detailed knowledge about what happened when - more than you're likely to pick up through random reading. And make sure there are no major gaps in what you know. Am I right? That accumulation of detailed knowledge, without gaps, is what feels particularly unnecessary to me, so I'm particularly interested in arguments for why it's not.
There are gaps in what *I* know, so I wouldn't have much to say here. A healthy dose of the understanding that one doesn't know it all is helpful. I don't mean that in a neener neener booboo way; I really mean that one of history's greater lessons is that there is very little original in the way humans react and approach things, even new technology. I am not sure a textbook alone can give you that. But I do know one of the benefits of homeschooling is that we as adults can give our kids a heck of a lot more information, and access, than they would get through a prescribed half hour a day in school dedicated to the subject. Can I give you a curriculum of the have-to-haves in human history? I can sure give you my current opinion on it, but that would differ from household to household, I imagine. I also know I'd be adding things into any such curriculum because of current events.

A lot of what frustrates me in general conversation comes from people who really think living in the "now" trumps all else. To answer one of your earlier questions a little more directly: no, it is not enough to view current events as standalone events. Everything should be perceived through the lens of historical knowledge because we are all in the timeline.

IMO there is no way that our children will know "everything" before they graduate high school, whether a brick and mortar place or our kitchen table. But what I need-- what I think is necessary about learning history-- is that as a matter of reflex, the kids see something and immediately have a context or know how to get one for what they're seeing. Then they can function-- day to day-- as a truly empowered individual.
Wolfmeis is offline  
#62 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:59 PM
pia
 
pia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In my apartment
Posts: 308
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I asked my ds if he thought history was important. He said: Yes. Because history is everything before now. And how can we be here now - if we didn´t experience before.

He loves history, and at the moment is totally into everything American Civil War.

Personally I used to hate history at school. But now that I am able to choose what and when I learn about the past, I just love it.

So, I think history is important, but what and when and if, should be up to the individual.
pia is offline  
#63 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 02:07 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRED View Post
How about science? Isn't evolution the history of living things and how they change over time? ANY laboratory study involves history, what changed over time to the end result. In fact I would say that history is the ONLY subject that can be universally applied to almost all other subjects.
By the way, Joy Hakim, author of The History of US series, has been very excited about her series in process that combines science and history. Might want to take a look: The Story of Science.

Quote:
Lillian, archaeology as you know, is a sub field of anthropology. I majored once upon a time in anthropology and I was NEVER involved in a dig that didn't have a plain old historian on the team.
Interesting! I wasn't that interested in archaeology, so I didn't pursue it much - but the one dig I participated in involved a Native American tribe's settlement that amounted to lots of seashells and arrowheads - one that wasn't very complicated - and the archaeologist was well versed in their culture (and that of tribes all over North and South America), so I don't know whether he would have had a historian involved. Actually, I really doubt it in his case. I just think he probably played the historian role - which really amounts to the same thing. Any way you look at it, history was an integral part of it.

Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#64 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 02:17 PM
 
dharmamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Bywater, West Farthing
Posts: 4,548
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
We should decide what WE think makes sense now, and not worry about whether or not it's exactly what one group of people had in mind back in the 1700's. (Feel free to tell me I'm dead wrong about this, as long as you explain exactly why.)
I disagree with you. Knowing why people made the decisions they made both clarifies the issue by allowing people to see and understand more than on facet of the issue, and it also keeps us from making decisions based on what's currently politically expedient and popular, not on what's actually right or legal.

One specific example is the electoral college. People have lots of different opinions on it, and without knowing why it was created in the first place, we can't have a discussion about its place in today's society.

dm
dharmamama is offline  
#65 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 02:34 PM
 
CrazyRED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Who cares what they thought? We should decide what WE think makes sense now, and not worry about whether or not it's exactly what one group of people had in mind back in the 1700's. (Feel free to tell me I'm dead wrong about this, as long as you explain exactly why.)


Does it really matter how much it is or isn't like Vietnam? If there had never been a Vietnam war, would you still have an opinion about the Iraq war? Would it be the same opinion you hold now?
Another example comes to mind. Look at the Arab/Israeli conflict. Far too many decisions have been made by one group of people about what THEY thought in the "right now" and no concrete solution has ever been achieved because the history of at least on group of people has been completely ignored. Culture, land rights, and so many other things are tied into a people's history. If you discount tha,t you have a disaster. What has happened with the Arab/Israeli conflict and really poor foreign policy on teh part of western nations has led to harsh feelings in the Arab world, and we are trying to fix that and completely discounting what has happened before. You just can't do that successfully.

How can you make a policy decision without understanding the events that led up to the problem at hand? If you make a decision based on "right now" chances are it will be a bad one. That is what has been happening in the Middle East for decades now, and there will not be peace until the history of both sides is respected, and the historical rights of both people are recognized.
CrazyRED is offline  
#66 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 03:23 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRED View Post
Another example comes to mind. Look at the Arab/Israeli conflict. Far too many decisions have been made by one group of people about what THEY thought in the "right now" and no concrete solution has ever been achieved because the history of at least on group of people has been completely ignored. Culture, land rights, and so many other things are tied into a people's history. If you discount that, you have a disaster. What has happened with the Arab/Israeli conflict and really poor foreign policy on the part of western nations has led to harsh feelings in the Arab world, and we are trying to fix that and completely discounting what has happened before. You just can't do that successfully.

How can you make a policy decision without understanding the events that led up to the problem at hand? If you make a decision based on "right now" chances are it will be a bad one. That is what has been happening in the Middle East for decades now, and there will not be peace until the history of both sides is respected, and the historical rights of both people are recognized.
Thank you! I wanted to say this, but I didn't even want to try to get started. It chokes me up to think of the ignorance that abounds about so many profoundly important issues of all kinds around the globe that can and have caused widespread tragedies of immense proportions.

Trying to get on with a big day here... - Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#67 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 03:40 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had resolved not to get into this discussion, but I came back to the computer to say one last thing. I think having a perspective of history is a lot like having a perspective on mathematics. You don't need to know all the "multiplication facts" or how to do calculus, to be clear that there are certain patterns and realities that can be accessed through math - to know that you can follow the patterns and connections to find answers. You don't need to know one particular set of "stuff" about history to get a very clear picture that it's a lot like mathematics - everything is connected, and you can figure out a whole lot by following the patterns and connections. History is part of everything we see and do and are influenced by - it's just there, here, everywhere. The more we look around and probe into what has led to what, the more we can intelligently affect what's going to come next. I never worried about "teaching" my son a particular body of knowledge about history, but it would have been impossible not to explore a lot of important historical information with him and encourage him in his own exploration of history. History fascinates him and is an important part of his college studies.

I never taught him about all the various kinds of chocolate available either, for that matter, but he learned enough about the various types of chocolates in my company that he has the idea firmly implanted as part of his being.

Off and running... Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#68 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 04:00 PM
 
mammal_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
Posts: 6,772
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
It's impossible to live without encountering history. Here are some examples from my family's daily life.

Example 1: Our neighbor's dog growls and gets very agitated whenever one of our girls pokes a stick through the fence in an attempt to interact with him. Since dh has seen the males in this family (gleefully) tormenting a dog with sticks on at least one occasion, we've been explaining to our girls that we think the dog's possible history of being hurt with sticks, causes him to feel afraid whenever anyone points a stick at him.

The girls have learned that when they throw sticks instead of poking them through the fence, the dog runs to wherever the stick lands, and seems to enjoy this activity (possibly some history of playing fetch?).

It's also possible that there's an evolutionary history that causes the fear of (humans pointing) sticks. I haven't gone into this with my dd's -- however, dd1 and I did get some exposure to the concept of evolutionary history (or genetic memory) while reading Jack London's book White Fang a while back.

White Fang also explores the concept of personal/psychological history: Such as how a loving new master can, with patience, overcome some of the hurts that were inflicted on a wolf/dog by previous cruel masters, as well as how some aspects of the previous history are always going to linger on and affect the wolf/dog's current perceptions.

(By the way: reading White Fang wasn't my idea; it wasn't even in the juvenille section of the library: My 7yo noticed it on the paperback rack, liked the cover-picture and wanted to check it out, and remained interested throughout the reading, so we read it.)

Example 2: Some of my 7yo's friends from across the street brought their visiting cousin with them to play at our house a while back. The cousin acted uncomfortable and anxious, and after a few minutes she finally said, "I have to leave; my daddy said I'm not allowed to play with white people."

They didn't stay long, and it seemed relevant to explain to dd that the little girl's parents may be worried that their dd will be cruelly treated by people of our race, because of our nation's history of slavery and oppression. This actually isn't the first time the subject of slavery/racism has come up as part of our natural daily life. Dd has been very interested in this topic, and frequently asks questions in her attempts to understand what happened and why.

Example 3 Dd 1 has greatly enjoyed Laura Ingall's Wilder's Little House books, which provides some information (albeit mostly from the Anglo-settlers' perspective) about the intersection between Anglo-American culture and Native American culture(s), and how devastating our Anglo ancestors' coming was for the Native Americans.

One interesting thought-piece, brought up in the books, is the conflict between the Anglo view that "the land belongs to the people who want to 'make something' of it" and the Native American (low-impact) lifestyle of living cooperatively within the land's natural ecosystems.

I was intrigued to learn recently, while reading (for my own entertainment) about the history of our city, that the early French settlers didn't have the same adversarial relationship with the Native Americans in our area, as did our Anglo ancestors. The French trappers actually seemed more interested in learning from the Native Americans and promoting respectful interactions between both cultures, often intermarrying with and living among the tribespeople.

I mentioned this to dh and dd1, and dd1 expressed sadness that our ancestors didn't just adapt to the native way of life.

I think that any child who grows up in a responsive home, where parents are available to act as sounding-boards as the child ponders various problems/mysteries --

And in an enlightened home, where parents model the attitude of responding to difficult interactions/situations by asking questions like,

"Why is this happening?... What happened to make it so?... In view of (what I can discover of) the history of this other person/family/cultural group/institution -- how can I address this situation in a way that's respectful to the other(s) involved, and in a way that's likely to earn their trust and their collaboration towards finding a solution?" --

Well, to compete my long-@ss run-on sentence, I believe such a child is bound to learn how to access and process the historical information s/he needs for informed living and decision-making in his/her personal life and in the larger society. So yes, historical knowledge (and knowing where/how to find it) is vital -- and no, it doesn't need to be forced on anyone.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
mammal_mama is offline  
#69 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 04:15 PM
 
mammal_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
Posts: 6,772
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
I think having a perspective of history is a lot like having a perspective on mathematics. You don't need to know all the "multiplication facts" or how to do calculus, to be clear that there are certain patterns and realities that can be accessed through math - to know that you can follow the patterns and connections to find answers. You don't need to know one particular set of "stuff" about history to get a very clear picture that it's a lot like mathematics - everything is connected, and you can figure out a whole lot by following the patterns and connections. History is part of everything we see and do and are influenced by - it's just there, here, everywhere. The more we look around and probe into what has led to what, the more we can intelligently affect what's going to come next. Lillian
Bolding mine. I totally agree with this.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
mammal_mama is offline  
#70 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 04:42 PM
 
CrazyRED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think this sums it up. Almost any time the question "Why?" is asked, the answer will involve history.
CrazyRED is offline  
#71 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
Daffodil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,601
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRED View Post
I think this sums it up. Almost any time the question "Why?" is asked, the answer will involve history.
Hmm, not in my world.

Why is it colder at higher elevations?
Why is sleep necessary?
Why do people dream?
Why do rats have naked tails?
Why does metal feel colder than wood?
Why do people like music?
Daffodil is online now  
#72 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 06:20 PM
 
theatermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NC
Posts: 989
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have to say that the study of history is to me much like the study of science, or math, or literature. Does everyone need to know the periodic table, or calculus, or the imagery in specific novels? Probably not.

They do, however, need to be able to think scientifically, logically, and creatively. And I would argue, with a historical perspective. It's hard enough now with the short memories that people have and the poor history instruction in schools coupled with a lack of respect for the stories that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents carry with them, to maintain any sense of what has been learned in the past.

Do you think that most of our grandparents realize that their grandparents were breastfed? In a little less than a century, bf'ing was nearly wiped out in this country. You speak of gay marriage issues. Well, less than 40 years ago, biracial marriages were illegal in some states, and basically illegal in others. It's important to be able to make meaningful connections to the past, and to realize that our decisions are not made in a bubble. Insight into how we got here, and the realization that we have carried certain positive customs with us (bf'ing, homebirthing, midwifery, nutrition, etc), give us a base from which to operate.

I think some of the answers are "vague" because it's hard to put into words the importance of things that shape our thoughts, actions, and words every day. Maybe when making a decision about where you stand on the legalization of marajuana, for example, you might want to know why it was made illegal in the first place. If you find that there was indeed a political bias rather than a safety concern, your decision may be informed differently.

I don't think that we have to know all of history all at once (nor can we), but I do think that as we travel this world physically and intellectually, we have to have a strong sense of where we've been. Most people's historical understanding these days just isn't cutting it.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
theatermom is offline  
#73 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 06:21 PM
 
mags's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,957
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Hmm, not in my world.

Why is it colder at higher elevations?
Why is sleep necessary?
Why do people dream?
Why do rats have naked tails?
Why does metal feel colder than wood?
Why do people like music?
Actually all of your questions *ARE* historically related! Any science related questions have historical significance, b/c scientists would continue re-inventing the wheel if they did not know HISTORY about the science that was researched before their research. This is how humans have become so advanced, they keep building upon history to improve things (not always, but you kwim). We know about dreams, b/c of science research, we know about sleep due to science research. I am sure that there has been reserach done on rats and and their naked tails. YOu know that metal feels colder than wood, b/c metal is a better conductor of heat and cold... this is yet another science related field that would not hav happened w/o knowing the history of that particular research. Same with music, music involves a lot of cultural study, classical music came about during a VERY specific part of history where arts and music were encouraged.
mags is offline  
#74 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 06:27 PM
 
theatermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NC
Posts: 989
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Actually all of your questions *ARE* historically related! Any science related questions have historical significance, b/c scientists would continue re-inventing the wheel if they did not know HISTORY about the science that was researched before their research. This is how humans have become so advanced, they keep building upon history to improve things (not always, but you kwim). We know about dreams, b/c of science research, we know about sleep due to science research. I am sure that there has been reserach done on rats and and their naked tails. YOu know that metal feels colder than wood, b/c metal is a better conductor of heat and cold... this is yet another science related field that would not hav happened w/o knowing the history of that particular research. Same with music, music involves a lot of cultural study, classical music came about during a VERY specific part of history where arts and music were encouraged.
Totally! All scientific research builds on the research of the scientists who came before. And, in fact, all of the studies are repeated, and built upon, and repeated again. Nothing would be accomplished scientifically without relying on the information discovered before -- scientific history.

This is true of all disciplines.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
theatermom is offline  
#75 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 06:40 PM
 
CrazyRED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Hmm, not in my world.

Why is it colder at higher elevations?
Why is sleep necessary?
Why do people dream?
Why do rats have naked tails?
Why does metal feel colder than wood?
Why do people like music?
As mags and theatermom said, SOMEONE had to figure out the answers to these questions. You couldn't answer them without the answers that history has prvided. Or if you had to find the answers that history hasn't already provided, well then you just contributed to history.
CrazyRED is offline  
#76 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 10:17 PM
 
mammal_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
Posts: 6,772
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRED View Post
As mags and theatermom said, SOMEONE had to figure out the answers to these questions. You couldn't answer them without the answers that history has prvided. Or if you had to find the answers that history hasn't already provided, well then you just contributed to history.
Also when interpreting research, it's helpful to learn about the historical, cultural, and geographical context(s) in which the research was done.

But again, this kind of learning doesn't have to be forced on one, because if you're interested enough to delve and look into, say, the experiments about how heat and cold are conducted, you're going to want to find out everything you can relating to the accuracy of the research and any potential flaws.

If you forget to think about it, a mere suggestion from a mentor or colleague will have you saying, "Oh, yeah!"

For instance, I was fascinated once to watch a documentary about Lizzie Borden, and discover that one reason the courts found insufficient evidence to convict her of her parents' murders, may have been the cultural mores of the time which made it taboo to thoroughly search a lady. This made it totally possible for her to pull clean clothes on immediately after the murders, and in this way cover up her (possibly) blood-stained clothing until she had sufficient time and privacy to burn it.

Of course, I don't personally know for sure whether Miss Borden was guilty or innocent -- only that the puritanical Victorian age in which she lived, was an age when a lady "of good standing" had a better-than-average chance of getting away with murder.

In the same way, I'm sure that prevalent cultural beliefs play a part in shaping how all kinds of problems are viewed, and what kinds of questions are asked, or overlooked, in the search for a solution. It's natural for someone with a strong interest in a subject, to be eager to devour everything related to that subject, including the history of that subject, and how it's unfolded over time.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
mammal_mama is offline  
#77 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
Daffodil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,601
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I've been enjoying this thread. One of the interesting things about it is that there doesn't seem to be anyone else out there who thinks history is not all that important. And I guess even I am becoming somewhat more convinced of its importance. Reading everyone's responses has gotten me thinking about all the ways my knowledge of history (deficient though it may be) has influenced my world view.

But I doubt history will ever seem as important to me as it does to many of you. There have been a few good examples of how a knowledge of history could be useful, but a lot of other examples that just don't cut it for me. For instance:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
One specific example is the electoral college. People have lots of different opinions on it, and without knowing why it was created in the first place, we can't have a discussion about its place in today's society.
Sure we can! I agree that it's probably useful to know why it was created in the first place, but I don't think it's crucial. All we really need to know is how the electoral college works now, compared to how different systems would work, and how most Americans would like elections to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
Maybe when making a decision about where you stand on the legalization of marajuana, for example, you might want to know why it was made illegal in the first place. If you find that there was indeed a political bias rather than a safety concern, your decision may be informed differently.
Again, I can see how this information could be useful, but I just don't think it's that important. You could even argue that it's largely irrelevant. If marijuana was originally made illegal for political reasons, it might still be possible that there are other good reasons why it should be illegal. And of course even if it actually was made illegal because of safety concerns, that wouldn't mean the concerns were well-founded. What we really need to know is how marijuana affects people, whether its use is affecting society in harmful ways, whether its illegal status is affecting society in harmful ways, how its illegal status affects usage, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRED View Post
How can you make a policy decision without understanding the events that led up to the problem at hand?
This is an argument for why SOME people should know history, but not for why EVERYONE should. Most of us are never going to make any kind of policy decision. (Of course, we do elect people who make those decisions, so I suppose you could argue that we need to know enough to judge the quality of their decisions.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Actually all of your questions *ARE* historically related! Any science related questions have historical significance, b/c scientists would continue re-inventing the wheel if they did not know HISTORY about the science that was researched before their research.
Yeah, I suppose you can justify a claim that practically anything (even woodworking!) is actually history, but that's not very helpful. You could convince me that everything that seemed important to me was actually history, and I'd still question the importance of the kind of history that's covered in history classes.
Daffodil is online now  
#78 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 10:35 PM
 
SugarAndSun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,095
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
I've found that in my life it helps to be a friend of history. It helps in understanding ideas, literature, and humanity. It orients me in my culture.

It just seems so rootless and kind of inhuman to disregard history.

What a sad thought.

History is absolutely important.
Exactly!
SugarAndSun is offline  
#79 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 10:38 PM
 
malibusunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 549
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If this were a poll, I'd say yes.

I teach history, which makes it seem like I'd have an automatic bias towards the subject, but in actuality, I don't at all. I didn't ever intend to teach history; the licensure came along with my social science (psych, soc, anthropology, poli sci) licensure.

As I teach history, particularly from a project based approach, I have found that it's v. important. The adage that history repeats itself is true, certainly. As I teach history, I am teaching tolerance and the importance of peace, often through the clear example of the opposite. As learners begin to see the present through a historical perspective, they grasp so much about their role in shaping the future. It sounds corny, but it's true.

History is NOT a list of dates and rarely do I present anything as a "fact" of history; instead, I encourage my kids to look at primary sources and explore the biases of those who have been allowed to control what is thought of as history. Understanding of history is crucial to understanding so much of art, music, and even science.
malibusunny is offline  
#80 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 10:58 PM
 
theatermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NC
Posts: 989
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Yeah, I suppose you can justify a claim that practically anything (even woodworking!) is actually history, but that's not very helpful. You could convince me that everything that seemed important to me was actually history, and I'd still question the importance of the kind of history that's covered in history classes.
We'll ignore the fact that in my hurry I misspelled marijuana. But I do think that understanding the historical context under which something becomes contraband is integral to understanding the inherent biases under which people are operating today -- rare is the study that is done without prejudice or bias. Knowing who has a vested interest and why is sometimes easy to determine, but just as often requires an understanding of how a certain situation became a certain way. Using all of the information at our disposal *does* help us.

I will say, though, that *I* have always questioned the importance of the kind of history that's taught in history classes. It really isn't until college that most people receive any quality history instruction at all. History is given such short shrift that the majority of history teachers in a lot of areas are also the baseball, basketball, and soccer coaches. We won't even get into the lack of political science and government and economics classes.

The way these things are taught in school is totally antithetical to the way that we naturally communicate the past to one another. It's no wonder that people could come away from such a mindless force feeding thinking that history has little to no practical value. History is made up of stories and movements; the dates, times, even names to a certain degree are just place holders to help us organize. Yes, they matter, but they're a lot like mathematical formulas -- the ones you use often, you'll memorize naturally, the others can usually be looked up.

In some ways, it's fatalistic and self-defeating to say that history doesn't matter -- then, none of us matter, and we never will. We can do anything we want, or nothing at all. Nothing we do has any impact on the future, because no one after us should bother to know anything about what we did, or why. It's a little like removing seemingly useless body organs -- since we don't know why the tonsil is important, why not throw it away? At the same time, we risk holding onto to other things simply because we don't have the historical context -- maybe it was necessary to do X, Y, or Z under certain circumstances that existed long ago, but now it isn't.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
theatermom is offline  
#81 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 11:07 PM
 
theatermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NC
Posts: 989
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by malibusunny View Post
As I teach history, particularly from a project based approach, I have found that it's v. important. The adage that history repeats itself is true, certainly. As I teach history, I am teaching tolerance and the importance of peace, often through the clear example of the opposite. As learners begin to see the present through a historical perspective, they grasp so much about their role in shaping the future. It sounds corny, but it's true.
Yes! And I think that it's important to be able to understand through history how people acted and what they thought, because very often we lead ourselves into thinking of things in black and white terms: Evil people do X, and Good people do Y. The truth is that many people acting in their own self interest, or with little insight into the world around them, have made and continue to make decisions that have led our world to where it is today. Others with great insight, or a great sense of others, or simply with a great deal of fortitude in living their own daily lives well, have helped to make the world more sane. Understanding history as the story of the people who have lived on this planet helps us to define our roles. It both humbles us, and allows us to see the very large part that each of us has to play. I truly believe that one cannot internalize this without hearing the stories of the people and events that came before.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
theatermom is offline  
#82 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 11:09 PM
 
dharmamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Bywater, West Farthing
Posts: 4,548
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
All we really need to know is how the electoral college works now, compared to how different systems would work, and how most Americans would like elections to work.
I'd argue that you can't know how the electoral college works "now" without a knowledge of history. Without concrete examples, it's just an idea of what "might" happen or what is "supposed" to happen. What has "actually" happened historically is what shows us how the electoral college works "now." It's the difference between knowing the formula for the chemical reaction and knowing what has actually happened when that chemical reaction takes place.

Quote:
whether its use is affecting society in harmful ways, whether its illegal status is affecting society in harmful ways, how its illegal status affects usage, etc.
None of these things can be known without history, because marijuana use doesn't affect society in discreet, unrelated segments of time known as "now." It's the cumulative affect of time that gives us our ideas of how marijuana "is" affecting society.

Quote:
(Of course, we do elect people who make those decisions, so I suppose you could argue that we need to know enough to judge the quality of their decisions.)
Exactly.

Quote:
You could convince me that everything that seemed important to me was actually history, and I'd still question the importance of the kind of history that's covered in history classes.
History as taught in "history class" in school is mainly social and political history, which are very important for all the reasons already expounded on in this thread (although the ways they are taught in school are wretched).

Yes, everything is history. I interpreted the title of this thread to mean political and social history.

dm
dharmamama is offline  
#83 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 11:17 PM
 
theatermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NC
Posts: 989
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, and I do have to add, that if history as such isn't important, then why is it one of the first things that fascist or dictatorial governments try to tinker with? It's much easier to control people if they don't have a clear understanding of how they got to where they are, or if they don't know the reasons behind certain actions. It's also easier to incite them to violence or inaction or hatred or what-have-you if you manipulate the details of the past.

If it didn't matter, why try to control it at all?

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
theatermom is offline  
#84 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 11:57 PM
 
heidirk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: adrift in a basket...
Posts: 2,728
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Going back to two different things...

We're doomed to repeat history anyway and; The ideas behind events are what's important.

What we need to teach is an appreciation of how History is important. If we neglect it, we WILL repeat past mistakes because we have not gone back to examine past events.

So I think, everyone having the entire timeline is NOT necessary, no, BUT knowing we can go back to history to learn and make better choices when the need arises, That IS necessary.

What we should have in our heads are the IDEAS behind the events. If we forget the dates and places, oh well...
For instance I remember that 'World War Two was sparked off by the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand' . This means nothing really, it has no context. What I NEED to know about World War Two was that too much pressure was put on Germany after the first world war, AND IT BACKFIRED.

Our History can guide us to better dealings with our fellow peoples...IF we take the time to learn why we need it.

computergeek2.gif  wife to bikenew.gif and momma to my intact boys headscratch.gif 06/19/06 and mischievous.gif 10/10/08 We delayed/selective vax; constantly wash.gif  always intactlact.gif

Niemals Gewalt
heidirk is offline  
#85 of 170 Old 01-16-2008, 12:01 AM
 
mz_libbie22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidirk View Post
For instance I remember that 'World War Two was sparked off by the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand' . This means nothing really, it has no context. What I NEED to know about World War Two was that too much pressure was put on Germany after the first world war, AND IT BACKFIRED.

I think you mean WWI was sparked off by the assasination of Franz Ferdinand.
mz_libbie22 is offline  
#86 of 170 Old 01-16-2008, 12:04 AM
 
mz_libbie22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
Oh, and I do have to add, that if history as such isn't important, then why is it one of the first things that fascist or dictatorial governments try to tinker with? It's much easier to control people if they don't have a clear understanding of how they got to where they are, or if they don't know the reasons behind certain actions. It's also easier to incite them to violence or inaction or hatred or what-have-you if you manipulate the details of the past.
If it didn't matter, why try to control it at all?

Exactly. Isn't that how it was in 1984? The protagonist's job was to rewrite history.

And call me a conspiracy nut, but I do think there is a political reason behind our kids in public schools being (mis)taught history.
mz_libbie22 is offline  
#87 of 170 Old 01-16-2008, 12:52 AM
 
homewithtwinsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,331
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't know about anyone else, but I sure think it would have been a good thing if this president had paid more attention in school to getting good grades in history. I think history, especially American history if you live here, is hugely important. Fortunately, my kids seem to love learning about it (we always bring it back to how things are in current events).
homewithtwinsmama is offline  
#88 of 170 Old 01-16-2008, 01:20 AM
Banned
 
Meg Murry.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Between here and there
Posts: 1,841
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I don't think your first example counts. When people talk about "history" (as a subject, as taught in schools) they usually mean "human history" and that's what I'm talking about in this thread.

But the other two examples are good ones. I have to say you're right, that kind of knowledge could be useful.
When does human history begin? When we started to write? When we diverged into this present genus and species? When our remote ancestors evolved from shrieky little tree shrews?
Meg Murry. is offline  
#89 of 170 Old 01-16-2008, 01:22 AM
Banned
 
Meg Murry.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Between here and there
Posts: 1,841
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
Anthropology is the study of human beings, past and present - much more closely related to sociology.

I vividly recall when I stumbled across the anthropology section in my college bookstore, was absolutely stunned to realize that people actually get to major in it and study all that stuff in the process - and went to the office that day to change my major from art to anthropology. Lillian


You said it better than I could. Thank you.
Meg Murry. is offline  
#90 of 170 Old 01-16-2008, 01:24 AM
Banned
 
Meg Murry.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Between here and there
Posts: 1,841
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRED View Post
How about science? Isn't evolution the history of living things and how they change over time? ANY laboratory study invloves history, what changed over time to the end result. In fact I would say that history is the ONLY subject that can be universally applied to almost all other subjects.

Lillian, archaeology as you know, is a sub field of anthropolgy. I majored once upon a time in anthropology and I was NEVER involved in a dig that didn't have a plain old historian on the team.
Thank you -- I thought the idea that anthropology somehow isn't history was -- well, let's say it was "inaccurate" -- and I was hoping others would agree.
Meg Murry. is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off