Archive for February, 2012

Homeschool History

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

It has been a while since I last posted.  Chalk that up to a busy schedule in January and February.  I’ve been working on a few articles separate from this post and better written. Also, I have a few classes that I am prepping for.  Now to the topic of history.

If there is one advantage homeschooling has, it should be the area of history education.  The opportunities presented through homeschooling are almost endless, and the family is not tied to dry, abridged paragraph history.  Unfortunately, many schoolers will select the vary bane of history that public and private schools utilize.  I see many a schooler not familiar with history or possess an inaccurate version of history.

Public and private institutions generally use a textbook.  In my years as a school student, a watered down textbook with very general information provided me with the boredom I did not need.  My outside interest in history gave me the education that is desperately needed.  It would take a college history course to help me see flaws in schools.  Too much time is spent on trivial agendas.  These agendas are doing silly projects or tasks outside of class on other subjects.  All it takes is a bit of reading and money.  This is where homeschoolers have a distinct advantage in the public library, purchasing power, national parks, museums and even lectures at the local historical society.

When you pick a history subject such as the French and Indian War, a little research will help your child obtain a in depth grasp of the subject, unlike the few paragraphs of a textbook.  First, find general books on the subject.  This helps you create an outline of the part of history you are studying.  You get an idea of the important people involved, the geography and timeline.  Now you can start finding the books .  The beauty of this is you do not need to find them NOW.  No, you can order them as you read them.  Reading the local paper can provide a potential talk on the subject.  There are many parks that have a relationship with this war.  You can start planning a trip to the place.  None of this can be done with the school system and sadly prevents a true understanding and learn about the subject.

A few years back we studied the French and Indian War.  Yes, I say we since it becomes a family course.  I was used in part with book for a general understanding of that period.  A few books loaned out from the library.  As one book was being read another was on the way.  We planned a trip to Fort Necessity in September, and I found a talk on Braddock’s retreat the night we were to go to Fort Necessity.  How perfect!  After the talk, we traveled to Fayette County and enjoyed a few days.  My sons learned where Pittsburgh’s Grant Street got its name on this trip.  A paper was written, more on this, and a good foundation on the subject was learned.  For a bonus, a television show discussed this war.

The lovely lady, my wife, came up with a creative way to produce a paper on the subject.  I was tasked with some of the details.  The write-up was not done on a 8 1/2 x 11 paper, but on an image selected by my son.  It was a silhouette of a general’s head.  I had to get this silhouette to fit inside a sheet of paper.  Next, my son chronicled the war using images, maps and text describing the images or map.  It truly ended up being a nice project.  The downside was the portfolio work.

If you want to study history use these following methods.  First, get a general history of the topic you selected.  A parent can do this or the youth.  Now search for books at the library or purchase your own.  You need not obtain the books at once.  As the youth is finishing one book, order the other.  Discuss the topic with the youth.  Search for family field trips and include the family.  History is best when written about, so select a means summarizing the event.  Let your child assist with this.  Yes, you’ll learn dirty secrets but that is what history truly is.