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<p>As part of the decision of what kind of school to send my children to, one of my major concerns has been that I don't want my children to be taught the history of colonization and imperialism the way I was, in Canadian schools. I understand that American curricula are similar. Particularly, I'm looking for a type of schooling which will illustrate colonization as violent and criminal, and recognize that the descendants of white settlers in North America live on unceded First Nations territories. I would also like to see a less essentialist, racist depiction of First Nations people.</p>
<p>Am I going to be homeschooling? What are people's experiences with these issues in Waldorf schools?</p>
 

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In our house, we call history taught at DD's school to be the American Myth. It's really shameful for the most part. However, I do think that we also need to know The American Myth. That is, I do think it's important to know the mythical story of the first thanksgiving as it is an important part of the culture here.<br><br>
We have lots of conversations about history at home. It turned out that DD was picking up on gross inconsistencies in what she was taught as early as first grade. We've talked about them at (what I hope is) an age appropriate level. She's also read most of the American Girl books and Dear America books, which are actually quite good, and a few address US racial history. This year we've also started watching a few American Experience episodes, including the We Shall Remain episodes. When she hits jr high or high school, she'll be provided more reading material.
 

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I just want to say that the history taught really varies by community. I was raised in a liberal college town and the high school offered courses on history from a minority perspective--using Howard Zinn as a textbook. A far cry from the "Columbus was a hero!" bs that is often taught in other schools. I plan on watching carefully what my son is learning in history and will definitely teach my own version of history if I feel that he's not getting it at school.
 

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<p>It totally depends on the teacher.  Most standards are written so vaguely that it can be taught either way.  One way to determine ahead of time is to ask about if they depend on a textbook and if so what it is.</p>
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<p>When I was a student teacher the best history guy in the school also used Howard Zinn (and Ronald Takaki) and presented the material in the way you would appreciate.  There were others in the same school that were very much into the American Myth.</p>
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<p>I teach world history but I think you would like the way I teach Imperialism <span><img alt="mischievous.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/mischievous.gif">.</span></p>
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<p>I have a 5th and 9th grader on the west coast USA and both spent 3rd grade learning about native americans, their culture and the devastating results of colonization. The learned native dances, they had several guest speakers from local tribes, the did huge projects. In 4th grade, they learned about California history and much of the time was spent on the negative impact for the native population. It comes up again in 8th grade when they study the constitution and the civil war. Attitudes have changed quite a bit as has the curriculum. None of the kids textbooks or teachers ignored the impact colonization had on the native populations.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Chamomile Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279672/concerned-about-history-classes-in-north-american-schools#post_16049656"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>It totally depends on the teacher.  Most standards are written so vaguely that it can be taught either way.</p>
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<br><br><p><span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"></span></p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Chamomile Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279672/concerned-about-history-classes-in-north-american-schools#post_16049656"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br><p>It totally depends on the teacher.  Most standards are written so vaguely that it can be taught either way.  One way to determine ahead of time is to ask about if they depend on a textbook and if so what it is.</p>
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I just read my state's standards (Ohio). Good grief, you weren't kidding.<br><br>
For K-3, there's nothing specific in terms of history. They learn things like what a time line is, but that's about it.<br><br>
WRT native american history, I see:<br><br>
Gr 4: "Describe the earliest settlements in Ohio including those of prehistoric peoples; Explain the causes and effects of the frontier wars of the 1790s, including ...."<br>
Gr 5: "Explain how American Indians settled the continent and why different nations of Indians interacted with their environment in different ways; Explain why European countries explored and colonized North America."<br><br>
Sigh.
 

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<p>Every school is different to be honest. At school I never learned the sugar coated BS that some of the parents here talked about. I honestly thought that teaching about the mistreatment and murder of aboriginals was just how it was done until I hear about other parents having trouble with how their kids are taught about the history of North America and very rarely from someone in Canada. I even remember hearing about the residential schools, the abuse that when on there and how it wasn't an option for aboriginal parents to refuse to send their kids to these schools.</p>
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<p>In DD's school, so far she has learned that Columbus wasn't actually the first person to arrive in the America's, that the story of Native Americans and Europeans being "friends" is a load of BS that white historians came up with to justify all the crap they pulled (as in "we do it to save them from themselves), and that some cultures and beliefs have been entirely wiped out because of it all. Mind you it wasn't worded just like that, I admit I'd be a lousy elementary school history teacher. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MusicianDad</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1279672/concerned-about-history-classes-in-north-american-schools#post_16050350"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Every school is different to be honest. At school I never learned the sugar coated BS that some of the parents here talked about. I honestly thought that teaching about the mistreatment and murder of aboriginals was just how it was done until I hear about other parents having trouble with how their kids are taught about the history of North America and very rarely from someone in Canada. I even remember hearing about the residential schools, the abuse that when on there and how it wasn't an option for aboriginal parents to refuse to send their kids to these schools.</p>
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<br><p>This, exactly -- I'm also Canadian.</p>
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<p>I would suggest looking at the curriculum guidelines for your State or Province *and* contacting local schools you may be interested in sending your child to and inquiring about their current curriculum and  standards of teaching in these areas.  You may be pleasantly surprised - or seriously offended - by what you find, but at least you'd *know* what you were facing.  </p>
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<p>Also, putting together some supplementary materials to have at home, even planning some family vacations to appropriate historic sites and museums could be a way to approach this.  My dad had a keen interest in history, always had books in the house by First Nations authors and about the relevant history, took us to the sites of Metis battles and history when we vacationed in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, for example, told us about them as stories of oppression and injustice - and we are definitely descended from the colonizers, not First Nations.  If this subject is one you are passionate about - and I totally do understand that -- what *you* teach them about this subject will  likely be far more important to them than what they learn in school.</p>
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<p>If you do experience that this area of history is ignored or taught falsely to your children -- well, imagine the impact it would make on your children if you asked if you could come into their class to share information about colonization or arranged a visitor who could speak about this area of history authoritatively?    If you argued with the teacher or pulled them out of history lessons if you felt it necessary?  Hopefully it won't ever be  necessary - but a passionate parent sometimes can change things. </p>
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<p>A lot of it is up to the discretion of the teacher - and the principal/superintendent/school board.  In other words, it can be changed - if there is enough pressure and support for that change.</p>
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<p>One of the local schools has a high school history/government teacher who teaches that Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR were three of the worst Presidents our nation has ever had, that they were anti-American, etc.  I know that parents have complained - but there are enough parents who support that world-view that there is no traction with the school board and principal/superintendent.  He'll get to keep teaching that way, with the occasional brave student who debates him on it in class. </p>
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<p>I have a friend who tangled with his middle school history teacher - who kicked him out of the class and gave him detention when he contradicted her (and again when he brought in a typed, cited essay correcting her again).  The school board got involved; the teacher was essentially told to back off.  I doubt her behavior changed permanently, but he had enough facts on his side that she couldn't argue against him with the school board.</p>
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<p>I think in the end it's really important that the parent(s) know real American (and world) history and are able to discuss it in-depth with their kiddos. </p>
 
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