When we first started homeschooling our kids, the subject that I was most excited about was history. I LOVE history! And I couldn’t wait until I could homeschool history to my children and show them that same passion.
That was wishful thinking!
My kids hated history!
We tried curriculum after curriculum, but they just hated it.
This was actually one of the reasons why we eventually started unschooling…
If a curriculum isn’t the good way to teach our children, what options were out there?
Teaching them while experiencing it, was for our kids the best solution. When they can experience history, they learn like crazy. AND they are actually interested in it.
So that’s what we do.
Being passionate about history helps tons in daily life. Whenever we come across something in a newspaper or -site, online or anywhere else, we discuss it. Mostly me or my husband have a broad general knowledge about it, so we can answer the basic questions. And if we see that they are really interested in more, we go looking for more information.
We keep up some sort of timeline online where we fit the things that cross our paths in. That’s easier to visualize where in history it concurs. For visual learning children, that’s an amazing tool!
We also “visit” history. Instead of learning about in books, we go watch it.
Of course, in the last years we weren’t able to really travel the world yet, but we did visit a lot of musea over time. Whatever they needed to clench their thirst for knowledge.
History Is Not Real
That being said… this is the same like anything else: we learn our children to think for themselves!
History is not 100% real. People have played with storytelling, making history not more than that: stories. During our entire history, it were the victors who told the story, making them look better an taking up the role of real heros. But we all know that re-telling stories is pure objectively. It’s told the way people have seen it, not the way it really was.
Also don’t forget that theire were people during the years that didn’t want certain parts of history told to future people, trying to erase parts and often succeeding. The history that we get told in school is either objectively told, not complete or re-written to leave parts out.
To give some examples:
What do you think about the male viking population. It were the men that went onto the ships and into adventures, right? Having their women stay at home, waiting for the heros to come back?
Wrong! Vikingships were equally inhibated by male and female warriors. But since men tried the get the upper hand in our society during the Middle Ages, our entire history was re-written to leave women out of it, making men the big guys and women the domesticated ones.
Men hunting and women gatherers? Wrong! Both men and women went hunting, just like there were men staying home to help gather plants and fruits.
Are you sure that only Cleopatra and Nefertiti were female Egyptian pharaohs? I’m not… I’ve read sources stating that Egypt had at least 30 female pharaohs over the times.
Helas, most sources that show us our real history are destroyed over time. Making sure that we don’t know how it really was done.
Think For Themselves
So, that’s what we teach our children too… THINK! Think for yourself and don’t believe everything you get told. It’s easy to believe the things people tell you, but be critical of everything. Don’t just believe something just because someone tells you so.
Question everything and go looking for the answers yourself.
In the meanwhile, we tell history the way it is: as beautiful stories and fascinating fictional adventures.