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#1 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We were talking on this thread about whether everyone needs to know history. I say no. What do you think?

Wait, let me qualify that question a bit. Almost everyone picks up a general familiarity with a lot of major historical events from conversation, books, movies, etc. Is that enough, or is it important to study the subject more systematically or in greater depth?

Can anyone think of a specific situation where you used your knowledge of history? I mean, beyond solving a crossword puzzle or understanding a historical reference in a novel. Has it ever helped you make a decision or accomplish some goal?
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#2 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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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.

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#3 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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We were talking on this thread about whether everyone needs to know history. I say no. What do you think?

Wait, let me qualify that question a bit. Almost everyone picks up a general familiarity with a lot of major historical events from conversation, books, movies, etc. Is that enough, or is it important to study the subject more systematically or in greater depth?

Can anyone think of a specific situation where you used your knowledge of history? I mean, beyond solving a crossword puzzle or understanding a historical reference in a novel. Has it ever helped you make a decision or accomplish some goal?

I use history to evaluate current events, to understand what brought us to this point and what needs to be done to get us in a better direction, which in turn helps me decide who I want to support in the '08 election.

People also use history to defend parenting choices. There is historical precedence for attachment parenting. The very reason that people call it a "natural" choice is because it is believed to be the way children were raised by our ancestors.

By studying history I discovered what educational method I wanted for my DS (classical).

By studying women's history I have a completely different view of myself and my place in the world. That obviously affects all kinds of choices.

Studying the history of agriculture has guided my choices about my own diet.

Studying the history of how boys have been raised in different societies has helped guide my own parenting philosophy.


History helps me make sense of WHY we're here to begin with. I don't have a religious belief, so I use it to try to find answers to the big questions. I also don't have much for family and I think studying history is a way to meet that instinctual need for a connection to those that came before me.

I also totally believe the old saying that if you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it.
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#4 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:48 PM
 
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I vote yes...it is important, but i must tend to bathtime, and cant go further than to say I vote yes!
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#5 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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I would say it is not only important it is imperative.
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#6 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Daffodil;10284193] Almost everyone picks up a general familiarity with a lot of major historical events from conversation, books, movies, etc. Is that enough, or is it important to study the subject more systematically or in greater depth?

QUOTE]


I don't think it's absolutely necessary for every person to learn history systematically. Most people would benefit from a systematic approach simply because it's the least confusing. However people that are passionate in their studying will work through the confusion and be just fine. I do think in depth study is very very important. People tend to read one book about something and call it done. History requires reading many many different sources because every writer has a different point of view. You're not going to pick up a book and "learn" what was the number one cause of WW1, it's not that easy. Studying history requires huge amounts of critical thinking and logic. I think when a society has a shallow level of understanding, which is what you have in the US today, it leads to a wide variety of negative consequences for the society. The main one being corruptness among the leaders and apathy among the voters.
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#7 of 170 Old 01-14-2008, 11:58 PM
 
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#8 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:03 AM
 
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The more I learn of world history, the deeper perspective I gain on events today. Really, everything has happened before. There isn't much new under the sun.

I feel strongly that everyone should learn at least an overview of history--not only their own country's history or their own culture's history, but the history of the whole world. It gives a person so much more understanding of the world, of current events and issues, of themselves, of other cultures.

In my opinion learning history is essential to a complete education. No, you may not "use" it in your job or even in your daily life, but there is so much more to being a human being on this planet than that.

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#9 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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I would say it is not only important it is imperative.
wow - ITA!

i think there are different levels of knowledge and interests regarding history of course....but there are imo fundamentals of history that are very very very important.

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#10 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:13 AM
 
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I find the question isn't even something I can relate to - whether everyone "needs" to know history is almost beside the point, the point being that history is part of us, part of everything... And fascinating, to say the least - one of the more fascinating things imaginable. Although, if you're asking whether we think everyone needs to study a dry and packaged set of facts about history, that's a whole different thing, and I think a whole lot of people who've been subjected to that are proof that it's pretty futile and meaningless.
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#11 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:17 AM
 
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History is unimaginably important. Had you asked this question about the mechanics of language, or whether one should learn to play the piano or even the value of algebra in our daily lives, I'd answer you differently. But history?

Some of the OPs have put it very well.

A knowledge of even the briefest of histories-- such as the origins of organized, compulsory public education in the United States (it's so very recent!)-- helps us in our daily lives to defend our practice of home education. If you don't understand where we come from, you cannot adequately orient yourself in your culture. Specifically when you make choices that appear to be counter that culture, you need to be able to know who and what you are in the stream of time.

A knowledge of history gives us a knowledge of our true rights and responsibilities, not only as citizens of our countries, but as citizens of the world. Perspective is garnered only when you can look around yourself and recognize that which has gone before. Knowing what has passed, and how that worked for the people who lived it then, is crucial in making the decisions that will effect our tomorrows.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
--George Santayana

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#12 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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History, when it is taught well, is not about names, dates, famous white men or battles. You can look that up if you need to know.

It teaches you how to analyze information from different perspectives and sources. It teaches you how to think and how to understand. To see what complex factors are involved in why we are the way we are today.

I think it depends upon what your needs are, what you plan to do and what you enjoy.
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#13 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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What else is there, besides history? History is what people have done. People did things, and history occured. How can you learn anything, without learning history?

Now, if by history you mean rote memorization of facts, then no I don't think people should learn that. I doubt anyone thinks they should. But it's so important to know what happened here before we arrived. We are a tiny blip on the timeline. We need a context.
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#14 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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I find the question isn't even something I can relate to - whether everyone "needs" to know history is almost beside the point, the point being that history is part of us, part of everything...
I totally agree. I don't relate to questions like "are there certain things everyone should learn?" because usually they're things that children like mine, who are living rich unschooled lives led forth by their own curiosity and within the flow of community life, can't help but learn.

I mean, sure, let's accept for the sake of argument that there are essential bits of education -- but the reason those bits are essential is because they're necessary to understanding and interacting with the real world, and unschoolers just naturally get that stuff because they're out there, living enthusiastically in that real world.

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#15 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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I find the question isn't even something I can relate to - whether everyone "needs" to know history is almost beside the point, the point being that history is part of us, part of everything...
Yeah, that. History, like many things, just *is*. How interesting, important, valuable, or relevant it is to an individual is going to vary widely though, and that's what matters. The idea that everyone just "needs" it isn't really my bag.

A few years back my Dd came across some references to the Rev war. She wanted/needed more info and she got it. My Ds did not necessarily need or want the same information, but he was around to see and hear us finding and discussing so he got a lot of that info anyway. I have no idea if he retained any specific details, but it was fun and interesting at the time.

I was recently interested in some details about the Depression so I researched it and read a little bit about it. Prior to this I have never found myself in need of that information.

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#16 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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I'll have to agree in saying that history is very important. It's important to our culture, our society and to ourselves. History is living and breathing. Me make it constantly. Do dismiss history is dismissing life.
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#17 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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I think it gets dicey if we start saying that each and every person needs to know a particular set of something...who determines what that is?

I love history. I hope my children care about it. I worry when people make certain decisions based on not knowing...knowing can matter in voting. But I can't get behind every person knowing what I think they should know. Then someone else may tell me how important, um, scrapbooking is....and how it will harm my children if I don't glue memories on archival, acid free -paper...or something...and then I would have to hurt them.
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I think it gets dicey if we start saying that each and every person needs to know a particular set of something...who determines what that is?
"each and every person" on the planet. agreed. but people living in certain countries or areas that are "capable" of knowing certain things - well imo should. i mean....perception is a beautiful free thinking vehicle for each individual - so how we interpret historical events should always be up for debate and discussion.... but UUmom, don't you think there are certain things in history that people really should understand? i can see your point with the "who should decide what's important" statement..... but i really think there are some aspects of history where there is an overall consensus of what is and should be important....especially acts of injustice. don't you think??? or no?? ha ha, i'm certain you will tell me!

.

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#19 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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"each and every person" on the planet. agreed. but people living in certain countries or areas that are "capable" of knowing certain things - well imo should. i mean....perception is a beautiful free thinking vehicle for each individual - so how we interpret historical events should always be up for debate and discussion.... but UUmom, don't you think there are certain things in history that people really should understand? i can see your point with the "who should decide what's important" statement..... but i really think there are some aspects of history where there is an overall consensus of what is and should be important....especially acts of injustice. don't you think??? or no?? ha ha, i'm certain you will tell me!

.

Have we had this conversation before? Because I just got the creepiest feeling of deja vu. Really creepy. Not that you're creepy lol...but reading this this. I'm spooked. I do think certain things are important. I really, really do. I just don't know if we can determine what knowing is important for individuals.

But I do think history is important... I hope it feels important to my children. I love history. Always have.
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#20 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:55 AM
 
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I can't imagine not learning it, I love history. It is an integral part of my life.

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#21 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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Learning about history can give you valuable information about the past, present, and future of the place you live and it's government. I totally agree with all of that. We learn about these things in a variety of ways and from a variety of sources. Conversations, movies, music, TV shows, books, art, video/pc games, the internet, and so on.

If you are asking "Do you think history can be a useful, interesting, and valuable subject to learn about?" I would say yes. If you are asking "Should all kids be required to learn history?" I would say no. But then I am not into the required camp much anyway, so that's not a shock really.

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#22 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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Have we had this conversation before? Because I just got the creepiest feeling of deja vu. Really creepy. Not that you're creepy lol...but reading this this. I'm spooked.
i am kinda creepy! lol. well maybe not creepy....but at least a little weird!

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#23 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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Learning about history can give you valuable information about the past, present, and future of the place you live and it's government. I totally agree with all of that. We learn about these things in a variety of ways and from a variety of sources. Conversations, movies, music, TV shows, books, art, video/pc games, the internet, and so on.
It can also win you a pie sliver in Trivial Pursuit. :
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#24 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:00 AM
 
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It can also win you a pie sliver in Trivial Pursuit. :
So so true! And those pie pieces come in handy when one wishes to gloat over the husband person.

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#25 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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i am kinda creepy! lol. well maybe not creepy....but at least a little weird!
Seriously, I read your post and I was hit by the deju vu bullet train. I even felt dizzy. I'm a little weird myself. Shocking. I know.
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#26 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:26 AM
 
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i think that most people will end up picking up the bits of history that are important for THEM to learn

i think some bits will be almost universally important in some cultures/regions/groups

for example i bet most of us have some sense of the history of childbirth and parenting practices....

i have a better than average grasp of rock history

you and your kids will end up learninng what YOU need to know
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#27 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I use history to evaluate current events, to understand what brought us to this point and what needs to be done to get us in a better direction, which in turn helps me decide who I want to support in the '08 election.
So how does knowledge of history help you make a better choice than someone who is ignorant about history? Does a person really need to know any history to form opinions about global warming, gay marriage, abortion, our country's health care system, or whether we should be fighting a war in Iraq?

Some of your other examples - history of parenting or agriculture - seem more like anthropology than history to me, and they're examples of knowledge that does seem useful to me.

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I also totally believe the old saying that if you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it.
I suspect we're doomed to repeat it anyway.

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A knowledge of even the briefest of histories-- such as the origins of organized, compulsory public education in the United States (it's so very recent!)-- helps us in our daily lives to defend our practice of home education.
Can't we assess the effectiveness of our current public education system and compare it to homeschooling without knowing its history? Does its recent origin really tell us whether it's working or not? And isn't that what we really need to know - whether it's working?

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Knowing what has passed, and how that worked for the people who lived it then, is crucial in making the decisions that will effect our tomorrows.
Most of us aren't actually going to be making decisions that affect our tomorrows. I mean, we can vote, and maybe influence a few other voters, but I think you could argue that unless you're a politician or activist, you're not going to need historical knowledge for any important decision making.

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What else is there, besides history? History is what people have done. People did things, and history occured. How can you learn anything, without learning history?
Wow, talk about not being able to relate! This is so far from the way I think. What else is there besides history?! How about science?

Most of the answers I'm seeing so far are pretty vague. If history is so super important, can't you all come up with some more specific examples of just HOW it's important?

And what kind of understanding of history are you all talking about? Something beyond the general knowledge most people pick up without trying? Is it important to understand the causes of World War I? To know when the Spanish-American War took place, and what it was about? To know when and where guns were invented? What are some examples of important vs. unimportant kinds of history knowledge?
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#28 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:40 AM
 
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I vote yes!

At least to have enough to see that it's interesting and valuable. That way we can read more when we find somethign interesting. And you can't really understand government or politics or even other cultures or languages without learning some history.

History puts what we know into context.

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#29 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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Wow, talk about not being able to relate! This is so far from the way I think. What else is there besides history?! How about science?
Well of course there are other subjects and areas to life. I think what she meant was that all things have a history. The field of science has it's own history, math has history, cooking has a history (which also can involve math and science! ) ...

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Most of the answers I'm seeing so far are pretty vague. If history is so super important, can't you all come up with some more specific examples of just HOW it's important?

And what kind of understanding of history are you all talking about? Something beyond the general knowledge most people pick up without trying? Is it important to understand the causes of World War I? To know when the Spanish-American War took place, and what it was about? To know when and where guns were invented? What are some examples of important vs. unimportant kinds of history knowledge?
I think the answers are vague because what people need isn't the same across the board. Which was my point in my post, actually. I don't need to understand the causes of the Spanish- American War right now. I also don't care about it. If I wanted or need the information for some reason I would just find it. The examples of important vs unimportant kinds of history knowledge would vary depending on who you are asking. (Well, you are asking us but ...lol) The answer would likely even be different coming from the same person if you waited long enough. What's important or useful to me today may not be 6 months from now.

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#30 of 170 Old 01-15-2008, 01:44 AM
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We were talking on this thread about whether everyone needs to know history. I say no. What do you think?

Wait, let me qualify that question a bit. Almost everyone picks up a general familiarity with a lot of major historical events from conversation, books, movies, etc. Is that enough, or is it important to study the subject more systematically or in greater depth?

Can anyone think of a specific situation where you used your knowledge of history? I mean, beyond solving a crossword puzzle or understanding a historical reference in a novel. Has it ever helped you make a decision or accomplish some goal?
Well, for one thing, some reasonable knowledge of history would prevent many people from appearing to be completely ignorant fools, starting with our President.

I'm sure no one would be entirely surprised to realize that lots of people out there have no clue that Iraq and Iran are two very different cultures and can't be treated the same way. Let's start there. Same with Israel and Palestine. Anyone who's going to have a reasonably informed opinion about the problems of those two states needs to have at least a Wikipedia-level knowledge of the back story.

Not knowing history and then choosing to voice an ill-informed opinion about something one has basically no real knowledge of is essentially just annoying and childish, kind've like those people who come into a television show or movie halfway through and think they know what's going on without understanding that there's, well, a history there that colors and informs people's actions.

Our being ignorant of our own history has basically allowed the United States to continue to commit or support various vicious atrocities that we, as a nation, conveniently "forget" about -- such as partnering up with Saddam once upon a time. Other nations don't forget, though. They don't forget, and then when they strike back (as pissed-off people will tend to do once in a while), a lot of us sit around, scratch our heads, and say, "Why do they hate us? Oh, they must envy our lifestyle! They wish they were us!"

No, not really.

Here's another reason: Don't end up like this chick.
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