Could you imagine what it would be like one morning to wake up and not be able to remember a thing? You aren’t able to remember who you are, your children’s names, where you came from or what you had for dinner yesterday. Not having the ability to remember who we are deprives us of a sense of identity, having no historical memory deprives us of a sense of our national identity. Knowledge of U.S. history allows us to understand our nation’s traditions, its conflicts and its central ideas. Knowledge of world history enables us to understand other cultures. As the world changes cultures are growing closer together and it has never been easier to learn about our nation’s history and world history.
By showing interest in our children’s education, families can spark enthusiasm in them and lead them to a very important understanding – that learning can be enjoyable as well as rewarding and it is well worth the effort.
Children are born into history, every family has a story to tell and helping your child learn history gives them the opportunity to understand their family roots, their culture and the country which they live. As parents we don’t want to undermine our children’s perception of history by saying, “History is boring” or “I hated history class when I was in school.” Instead you want to be a positive force in your child’s education by encouraging them to learn and appreciate the value in all subjects, including history.
Tips for Helping Your Child Learn History
- Share Your Family Story – We all have a story to tell; share your memories of people and places from your childhood.
- Read with Your Child – Reading newspaper stories, internet articles and books about people and events that have made an impact is a great way to spend quality time together and get your child interested in history.
- People from History are Real – Show your child that people who make history are real just like them with similar dreams and ideas.
- Television Programs – Watch TV programs about important historical topics with your child and encourage discussion.
- Visit the Library – The library is full of resources for helping you and your child learn history.
- Be Excited, Involved and Have Fun – As a parent you can help your child want to learn which is key to their success. If you are excited about something they too will show excitement and when you are involved in their learning it shows it is important. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! Helping your child learn history doesn’t have to be boring in fact, you can teach your child a lot about history by having a good time and playing.
Having Fun with History
- If possible find the original source – it makes history come alive when children are able to see the actual words that changed the course of history.
- Don’t overdo it – information overload can deter a child from wanting to learn. Focus on a few important events and add new facts over time.
- Get your hands dirty – history is best learned by getting involved, asking questions, searching your city/town of its history, visiting museums and other historic sites.
History Teaching Activities
Preschool to Grade 1 – Listen My Children
Preschool to Grade 5 – History Lives
Preschool to Grade 5 – What’s the Story?
Kindergarten to Grade 3 – Put Time in a Bottle
Kindergarten to Grad 3 – School Days
Kindergarten to Grade 5 – Cooking up History
Grades 1-3 – Rub Against History
Grades 1-3 – Quill Pens and Berry Ink
Grades 2-5 – Time Marches On
Grades 3-5 – All About Our Town
Grades 3-5 – In the Right Direction
Grades 3-5 – The Past Anew
Grades 3-5 – Learning How to Learn
Grades 3-5 – History on the Go
Grades 3-5 – What’s News
Grades 4-5 – Weave a Web
Grades 4-5 – It’s in the Cards
Source – US Department of Education