The history of one’s country is an important knowledge to have. It is part of schools’ curriculums, taught every year in elementary, high school, and covered by some subjects in college. Yet even though this topic is so important, not every kid knows the colorful account of her own country’s past.
We can point to various reasons for this lack of interest in history, but it mostly boils to one thing: students find history boring. For history buffs, this may be surprising to hear – each country has such a vibrant past, with stories worth keeping and telling, passed on from one generation to the next. However, the fact remains that the human attention span is very limited. As stated in this article, some experts say that the average attention span is no more than 10 minutes and that would even be cut shorter if one has no genuine interest in the object of one’s attention.
A reason for this disinterest may be due to how history is taught. Lessons are focused on specific details – precise dates, correct spellings of towns and capitals, middle names of significant people – rather than the concept of how the events came to happen in the first place. If teachers focus on the smaller stuff rather than the bigger picture, students will continue on being ignorant on the story of how the current world situation came to be.
How then can history be made interesting for children? One of the methods to teach children history is through books. Reading and talking about history through books made for children will capture their interest. There are available books that tackle almost any historical topic, and there are historical fiction books that promote multiple perspectives and shed light to the everyday life that people back then lived. These historical fiction can help your child relate to little girls in different eras and will help her analyze how different people lived various lifestyles, giving her a wider perspective on the world.
Museums and historical sites that show tangible evidence of the past are also all around us. A trip to historical cities will help your kids put a place and face to the books she’d been reading. It is an awesome way to let kids experience the past visually, by showing landmarks that have a significant meaning to history. Museums are literally everywhere. In the US alone, according to this website, there is a total of no less than 17,500 museums.
Relate to the kids as well. At their age, they will be fond of things that hold their attention, and these things are usually toys. In the unlikely case that your daughter has no interest in reading your suggested books, or gets bored when you go to the historical sites, try reaching out through the toys she plays with. The American Girl Company sells American Girl dolls, a line of 18-inch dolls that represent historical characters of various ethnicities living in different time periods. Each doll has a back-story that will surely get your child’s interest, all told in a book that you can buy with it.
Reading and playing with the dolls will help teaching sessions with child more fun. With stories told from these young dolls’ points-of-view, your daughter will have an easier time understanding important historical topics. Admittedly, these educational dolls do not come cheap. If you’re worried about the price tag, you can always print some American Girl coupons from this site, and you’re on your way to saving money on your purchase.
It is a personal obligation of each citizen to know of their country’s histories, but adults can certainly make a way for the lessons to be more captivating. This way, we can help the next generation fulfill their own moral and civic duty to their country, simply by knowing their past.