Hsitory !!!! As aichild, I hated history when I was in school because all we seemed to study were events and dates. For years together history was thought in a monotone where in teachers came and just read that text during the history period”Who was born in which year?” or “When was the battle of Panipat fought?”, like many of my friends I found these details irrelevent to my life and found it diificult to learn these and regurgitate on paper. .
It wasn’t until I was in Grade 8th that I discovered my love of history at the hands of, you guessed it, a gifted teacher. This teacher focused on the people and themes of each time period we studied, making the topics and people easier for me to imagine,understand (and memorize!) and more interesting.
If we want our children to love history and to make history fun, we should teach it in a way that will engage their minds and their hearts. We do this by making it about people, about thoughts and ideas, about choices they made and consequences they faced and not about dates and events! Teaching historyis mainly about focusing on the concepts and themes within the era and less on the small facts and minute details.
What’s more important, that the child understands the causes and outcomes of WWII, or memorize every battle, general, and important event? If children have been taught in this manner and there is this kind of engagement with the subject even at home it will enable the child to develop their critical thinking and looking at various narratives and deriving their own thruths.
As parents, its important to remind your children that they are history explorers, navigators, and conquerors. Their aim is to explore how, humans, behaved during the period they are studying. Why? Because who doesn’t want to be an explorer?
And, history is about human beings; our choices and feelings, our food and dress, our literature and hobbies. Study all aspect of human studies when you’re doing a history unit and your lessons will be so much fun! Insert cooking, art, poetry, dancing, biographical studies, maps, and more to keep your students busy and engaged. And DO what you are studying! If you’re analyzing poetry written by the Greeks, try your hand at writing poetry in that style. Are you studying the Renaissance? Be sure to visit an art gallery and then create paintings or sculptures inspired by your favorite artists. Make food from each region and time period you tackle. Dress up and put on dramas based on the historical fiction or biographies you’re reading. History comes alive when you live it!
History is a word that should bring a smile to everyone’s face. As a history teacher and lover, I truly believe it is possible for all our students to love history and want to dive into each unit with joy and excitement. Follow these steps to create lifelong history lovers and explorers in your home!
Dr Shruti Jaiswal with inputs from articles on Homeschooling