Do you find yourself placing history as the last subject of the day or every other day? Do you find yourself thinking history is not as important as other subjects? You are not alone! However, history should be a subject in which people and times from the past jump from a dusty page into the vivid imaginations of our children so that all (children and adults alike) will learn from it.
Many library books are available to help introduce children (at a young age) to historical figures. For older students, let them find out about some of the historical figures that they’ve been studying. You can find historical books in the 900 Section (the Dewey Decimal System) at the library.
For example, there are age appropriate books to introduce young people to: Alexander the Great from ancient Greece; Sulla, the Roman general; George Washington, the first U.S. President; George Washington Carver, African American botanist and inventor; Florence Nightingale, female founder of modern nursing; or whomever you wish. Biographical books or books on specific time periods can bring the historical personalities to life.
You may also want to visit some historical areas and museums that are further away in order to give your children the opportunity to experience various time periods. As a resident of South Carolina, there are many indoor and outdoor museums available. Did you know that more Revolutionary War battles were fought in the state of South Carolina than in any other state? A day may be spent studying the Revolutionary War by walking through the area where the Battle of Cowpens or the Battle of King’s Mountain were fought. Or enjoy historical re-enactments in Camden and North Augusta. Perhaps a visit to the State Museum in Columbia fits better into the broader range of your study of American History. These are just a few places of historical interest in the state of South Carolina. Before you travel, have your children research the historical sites ahead of time and plan to visit one museum while you are there.
Allow your children to play with dolls, stuffed animals, and with one another inside or outside after the lesson. You might overhear Paul Revere shouting, “The British are coming, the British are coming;” Betsy Ross “sewing” an American flag; George Washington Carver “working in his lab” with peanuts; Queen Elizabeth I “speaking” after the defeat of the Spanish Armada; or The School Boys of the Ecole de Cavalerie “defending” their school at Lys, France in World War II. Let your children engage in role play and really learn the lessons of history.
Encourage your children to read about historical figures and time periods from the library, internet, etc. Visit places and museums far and near. Listen with enthusiasm as your children “become” the people about whom they are studying. Remember that the study of history can and should be fun.