Making History Sticky
- Friday, December 31, 2010
The Internet holds a virtual treasure trove of information waiting to be unearthed. A computer-savvy, mom-child team has only to mine this information using one of the many search engines available, such as Ask.com, Dogpile.com, or Yahoo.com. Or visit www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/ by-grade.shtml, a helpful Web site that consolidates hundreds of links on a wide variety of topics. This well-organized site lists topics alphabetically by grade level. Clicking any topic link will take you to a page that contains a collection of links related to the topic.
Two more helpful sites are www.Bible.com for searching scripture, and www.Biography.com, where supervised children will find short, written biographies and videos of almost anyone, past or present. Supervise your children on the Internet, even if you have Internet protection software activated. Children find ways around these protection programs (often by accident), and the minutes you sacrifice to supervise them will preserve you and your family from unneeded grief.
Model, Mold, Make, and Manipulate
The rubber meets the road here for that half of the population that tends toward active learning styles. Make a model of the tabernacle while studying Biblical history. Mold a ziggurat with clay during your studies of ancient civilizations. Make period food and costumes when you study the American Revolution. While studying the Renaissance and Reformation, learn to play Farkle, a dice game similar to one played during Renaissance times. Sing folk songs, hymns, and other songs related to your studies. The connection made by shaping models from clay or gluing Velcro to fabric to make costumes forms a memory link for hands-on learners that can't be replaced. Even left-brain learners will attach memories to smells, tastes, sounds, touch, and visual sensations.
I do not encourage children to seek more electronic entertainment, at least not for entertainment's sake. Parents will be pleasantly surprised, however, at how well a carefully chosen movie reinforces learning. As we studied the history of boats and ships, we reviewed ship vocabulary while experiencing the salty feel of life at sea when we watched Captains Courageous starring Freddie Bartholomew. We also witnessed proof of man's frailty before an Almighty God when we viewed the documentary Titanica, about the sinking of the Titanic, a ship touted as unsinkable. Choose videos in keeping with your parenting goals and related to your studies, and the results will underscore your overall learning experience.
Well-planned field trips provide a change of scenery that refreshes minds and sets the stage for discovery learning. Think outside the box when planning field trips, and you will find more options available. If you are considering an aviation field trip, don't confine your trips to the nearest aviation museum. Consider other options within your budget, such as a visit to a flying school, a trip to your pilot friend's private hangar, a hot-air-balloon ride, a helicopter ride, or a chartered-plane ride. Some organizations offer free rides, tours, and materials for schoolchildren, so ask questions.
Dialogue and Detail
Thinking promotes learning that sticks. Teaching and encouraging discovery with the TRrIMMED steps listed will give opportunities for dialogue. Ask leading questions, such as, "How does this event reflect the way man thinks about God?" Design questions with purpose to encourage your children to mull over their discoveries, giving thoughtful answers. Dialogue of this type should happen throughout each day over many topics, but certainly over your children's current studies. Children also benefit from detailing or writing about what they have learned, including their thoughts and conclusions. Dialogue and detail help us to follow the common thread that runs through each of the activities used to explore the topic. We do not want a collection of disjointed experiences, but a neat package, all wrapped up and presented with a sticky bow.
Is history a boring progression of names, dates, and places? Not when you teach sticky history!
Carmen Rockett enjoys sticky history with her children at her north-east Texas home and in the surrounding area. She's honored to be married to a Naval Intelligence officer promoting liberty and democracy in foreign lands. God has blessed them together with two graduates and four remaining home-taught children.
Note: Many of the ideas for activities and projects mentioned for history of flight, ships, and boats can be found in the KONOS curriculum guide, with further encouragement available by subscribing to HomeSchoolMentor at http://www.homeschoolmentor.com/.
This article was originally published in the Nov/Dec '08 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Get more great homeschooling help by downloading our FREE report entitled "The Secret to Homeschooling Freedom" by visiting http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com/resources/report.htm
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