Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Educational Confession

George and I are watching the Ken Burns Civil War Series. For those who don't know, George has a college degree in History. In comparison, I was apparently mentally absent for each and every history lesson I ever had from kindergarten through college. I have vague memories of studying certain topics, but the details are completely lost to me. This has become apparent as we watch these films, and I realize that I recognize names of people and events, but I have no context for them. I can't keep all the people, places, dates and events straight in my mental time line. (George was surprised to discover that I don't even have a mental time line like he does.) I make George pause the movie to ask him questions, and he is surprised every time that I don't know or understand what he does.

I am really enjoying this series of documentaries, and I recommend them to anyone, either as a good review of the Civil War, or as a completely enlightening education experience (like my own). This experience has also made me wonder how I can encourage my children to learn about history. How can I make them understand that history is not just dates in an "overly huge and boring" text book that an unenthusiastic history teacher is making them read? How can I encourage them to actually learn the details, instead of studying them for the test and immediately forgetting them, like I did? How can I get them to not only learn about it, but to find it interesting and important to know? Is it possible for my childred to love it, like their dad does?

George's answer is to give them lots of books. I believe him because that was his experience, and he loves history. I just don't want my little boy to have my experience, and then to have to admit, as a 28-yr-old adult, that you can't place the people and events of the Civil War.


Matt and Christy said...

If you show an interest in history, your kids probably will, too. There are TONS of great history books for kiddos- I have one for my tutoring students that is called "Gross facts from history." Kids love it because it is all about blood, boogers, and stinky stuff. I've even been able to get Matt interested in history. He hated it, now he kind of likes it.

Kirsten, Mike & The Boys said...

I agree. Lots and lots of books. I took a non-fiction children's literature class for the credits to renew my teaching certificate, and really enjoyed it. There is a lot of great stuff out there in that genre, if you don't mind looking for it. I'm not a big history person either. I know basic stories, but ask me about specific people or places and I'm clueless.

I'm so happy you're having a baby boy! I can't wait to see what he looks like!

lulu said...

I'm right there with you Mindy. I don't have a clue about history...I really hate to admit it. My parents didn't talk much about history either. Years later, my dad is finally interested in the history channel and is describing to me the amazing things he learned while watching T.v. Hmmmm. I guess better late than never.

Nunley Family said...

I laughed out loud when reading this. You almost perfectly described me. History was always my worst subject, and I don't understand why. Nun also has to educate me in history matters.