a child should learn these and nothing else.
It is as true for children as for ourselves that, the wider the range of interests, the more intelligent is the apprehension of each." Mason
History is one of those areas of interest, and our summer book study touched on it recently. Summer is also a great time for vacations and day trips to places that might
bring history to life for a young child. I see these kinds of first experiences as
the hooks in my child's mind that the facts and information will hang on
as he reads and learns more later in his schooling.
"It is a great thing to possess a pagent of history in the background of one's thoughts. We may not be able to recall this or that circumstance, but, the 'imagination is warmed;'"
"The present becomes enriched for us with the wealth of all that has gone before."
-quotes from C. Mason
In these early years of preschool and kindergarten we have not formally begun a history thread in our school time. We have done lots of gentle introduction of the ideas that will lead into Year 1 when we start more formal history. I took a peek through the books we will begin with. My 'peek' turned into me being sucked in and when I looked up most of an hour had passed. A well written tale of history really comes alive and I'm looking forward to reading them with my son.
So during kindergarten and preschool, what have we done for introducing history?
The first thing is our daily Bible reading which gives a child a sense of time from the beginning and lots of lovely stories of the men of old and the tests to their character.
Another big thing was the Century Chart introducing a child to the idea of his own place in the scheme of time and history. (Did I mention that I found some great $2 calendar frames at our local hobby/arts store that fit my 12x12 scrapbook paper perfectly!)
Also we have tried to give our son(s) hands-on, life experiences whenever possible. We cook meals over the campfire occasionally; he rode on horseback, looked through Grandpa's military photo album. We went to History fest reinactments and our town's Mennonite heritage celebration. He canoed on the lake with dad, and is currently caring for a flock of chickens. We hike historic trails and see names and dates carved in the rocks, we walk where indians have walked, visit antique stores, stargaze, float boats in the stream, collect wildflowers, read poetry and stories and watch rabbits and deer nibble in the backyard. All of these things can be related to the lives of people in the past in one way or another and enrich future reading/learning. I'm leaving the relating/tendril/attachment thing up to the Holy Spirit and not lecturing him on the botanical collection of Lewis and Clark or anything like that.
- Our aim is honesty and knowledge of the truth
- Choose as accurate, well-written books as possible; read them to him and when old enough, have him retell the story
- Give the young child leisure to explore an age in detail
- Let him react himself
- Take children to the places where things happened whenever possible (though to be educated by living history, it is not solely dependent on such a visit to make the event
live and breathe)
-The curriculum should be planned as a consecutive whole, so that as the child moves along, he gains a sense of the broad sweep (of history)
We have begun reading The Childhood of Famous Americans series of history biographies. Grandma and Grandpa took a trip to The Alamo and so we read the one on Davy Crockett (a huge hit here!!) They also took a trip up the cable cars in the Swiss Alps and we looked at their photos, heard their stories and read The Magic Meadow and The Apple and the Arrow.
Another aspect of history that I am excited to begin when he is older, is the Book of Centuries, a timeline mixed with a personal narration of the 'pagent' as we go through it little by little. I hope to purchase this lovely book to hold ours.
I look forward to re-learning some of this alongside him. I can already see these ideas twining out and taking hold like those tendrils, and once we begin to sweep through our more planned and consecutive whole of history, I believe it will just get that much richer in that vivid imagination of his.