History used to be my least favorite subject. I’m talking all through grade school, high school, and college, I had zero interest in it. Zero.
As far as I was concerned, the whole subject was a giant snoozefest that I had to pass to get through school (much to my parents’ chagrin). Afterall, it was in the past. What difference did it make?
Imagine my family’s surprise when, five years ago, I decided to start writing historical fiction. Suddenly, they saw me become obsessed with the Revolutionary War (thank you, Hamilton!), World War 2, and Vietnam. (Shout out to my supportive husband who listens to me excitedly spout all my newfound knowledge as I learn!)
I now laugh, and feel a little bad for, my former history-hating self.
If you or the kids in your world fall asleep whenever history comes up, I encourage you to consider the following points, and maybe you’ll learn to love history too:
- An understanding of history is empowering. Remember — there’s nothing new under the sun, and since history is cyclical, studying how and why things occurred in the past gives us insight on how to move forward. This broad depth of understanding is empowering!
- It’s okay to not know everything. There is a LOT of history to learn, and while I want to be sure to understand certain main events, there’s no way I’ll ever know it all — and that’s okay! So dive into whatever you deem relevant or interesting. There’s no scoresheet. (Thank goodness!)
- Videos can help. Here me when I say I love to read. I really do. But for some reason, it’s difficult for me to digest history books and remember anything I read. I engage and retain better through video form—at least when it’s a substantial chunk of information. So hit up YouTube or the library or wherever you can find trustworthy videos, pop some popcorn, and settle in!
- Look for parallels in modern society. It’s always fun to connect the dots of what you’ve learned to something relevant today. Like I mentioned in point number one, history is cyclical, so it shouldn’t take too long to find a comparison!
- Know that those with an understanding of history are forward-thinkers. Teaching kids the importance of history (not just teaching them history, but the importance of it) means raising empowered, forward-thinking kids. We can only move forward in a healthy direction if we’re able to first look back to understand where we’ve been and why. Remembering is the only way to avoid the same mistakes that were made in the past.
- Knowledge of history helps set the stage as you read historical fiction! 🙂 It’s a lot easier to get into the flow of your book if you’re already somewhat familiar with the context and events.
You may not have the same reasons I do for diving into history (historical fiction writing and an interest in family history), but I’m sure you have reasons of your own. Every person on the planet can benefit from an understanding of history in some way, shape, or form.
Now what can you do this week to learn something new? Try doing an internet search for something you’ve always heard of but never quite understood. Maybe something like “Stonehenge” or “the War of 1812.” Anything that comes to mind. And then dive in—for two hours or two minutes; it’s up to you.
And if you don’t care to read fifteen-page articles, let me share with you my little shortcut. Try searching like this, for example: “the war of 1812 for kids.” Adding for kids to the end of your search term will lead you to more abridged sources, but still give you the meat of the issues. You’re welcome. 😉
And what does the Bible have to say? “Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you.” –Deuteronomy 32:7
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, as well as what topic you plan to dive into soon!
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