There are so many ways that we learn about history on a daily basis. The radio, newspaper, television, Internet, friends, neighbors and family. Occasionally we even pick up a history text book, but most of the history we enjoy and remember has come from real life, real places and from biographies.
My family has always loved to hear our family’s history. I recall that my oldest child interviewed his grandparents, aunts and uncles when he was very young. I would love to have done the same with my relatives who are now gone. We treasure the records he has of how they all met their spouses, what their first jobs were and any other bits of their experiences that they shared with him.
No matter what history or herstory that you might be researching today, I hope the following articles and resources are helpful to you.
So Many Books – Joan Torkildson
Explorations take readers all over the world, from the frozen tundra of the Arctic to the highest peaks of the Himalayas. In between, there are coniferous forests in Canada to tramp through, as well as African savannas, the Australia outback, Asian swamps, South American rain forests, and a host of other exotic locations. After arriving at their destinations, readers have the opportunity to soak up a suitcase full of engrossing facts about howler monkeys, snow geese, chinchillas, blue-footed boobies, hairy-nosed wombats, and scores of other creatures in the animal kingdom.
Other titles in Candlewick’s Gamebook series: The Magic Hourglass, The Magic Globe (reviewed in Sept/Oct 1995 HEM), One Green Island, A Puzzling Day at Castle MacPelican, The Pirates of Doom, and The Planet of Terror. The gamebooks come in three skill levels, so there’s lots of fun reading and exploring in store for armchair adventurers/detectives and history/geography buffs of all ages.
A World of Learning by Barbara Theisen
Next fall we will be sailing to Central America for six months. While there, our studies will include Mayan Civilization, coral reefs, rain forests, and geography and history of Central America. Kate would also like to study for her Ham Radio license, a great way to keep in touch with the rest of the world. I’ve already started teaching the girls (and Tom) Spanish – I have a degree in Spanish, so I definitely have an advantage here. But I know the girls’ Spanish will improve by leaps and bounds. There is nothing like being immersed in a foreign language to really learn it.
I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago
I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago, retold and illus. by Steven Kellogg, Morrow Junior Books, Sept. 1996, ISBN 0-688-13411-4, $16.00 hardcover, ages 5-up
No one retells a tall tale with more panache than Steven Kellogg. In this one, which was adapted from a nineteenth-century American folk song, multiple narrators boldly take credit for some of the most outrageous claims in history. One by one, they brag about having seen King Pharoah’s daughter fish Moses out of the water, of seeing Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden, of showing Columbus the way to the New World, of secretly marrying Queen Elizabeth in Milwaukee, even of playing hopscotch with spacemen on the moon (with plans to visit Saturn). All of these outlandish boasts are embellished with Kellogg’s own verse and typically exuberant illustrations.
The Value of Virtual Expeditions – Judy Aron
Every homeschooler knows what a wonderful learning opportunity travel is for kids. They learn mathematics (conversion rates in currency, distances traveled), history, social studies, geography, art, writing skills… you name it, because travel is a real life experience.
For homeschoolers who have access to the Internet, virtual expeditions are also an incredible resource. There are many web sites which can “take you away” to a particular place, but a virtual expedition is different: it’s more interactive and is added to on a daily basis. These daily unfolding experiences are almost like a real trip.
From Home to Higher Education – Sunshine Campbell
So what are some useful suggestions for homeschoolers who are preparing for college? First of all, read a few classics while you are still in high school. College literature, history, social science, and humanities courses make frequent allusions to the “great” works of literature – and, believe me, college affords little time to go back and catch up on this reading!
Time Travel with a Teaspoon Archaeology For Kids – Rebecca Rupp
Issues of Calliope, Cobblestone Publishing’s magazine of “World History for Young People,” recommended for kids aged 10-13, often center around archaeological or ancient civilization themes. Also see the March 1991 issue of Faces, Cobblestone’s magazine of world cultures for kids aged 9-12, which is titled “Archaeology: Finding the Past.” It includes short nonfiction articles about the history of archaeology itself, the excavation of Pompeii, the discovery of a lost Spanish mission in the American Southwest, and the techniques modern archaeologists use for determining ages of ancient artifacts. (There’s also a fictionalized account of the discovery of the Lascaux cave paintings by four young French boys in 1940, a Pompeiian puzzle, and an archaeological board game.) Back issues of Cobblestone publications cost $4.50 apiece; an annual subscription to Calliope (5 issues) costs $17.95. Order from Cobblestone Publishing, 30 Grove St., Peterborough, NH 03458; (603) 924-7209 or (800) 821-0115; fax (603) 924-7380; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web site: http://www.cobblestonepub.com.
Biography Fair – Nancy Winningham
Real people, true stories…who isn’t fascinated by them? Biographies are consistently on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list, and “based on a true story” is a staple of made-for-TV movies. A&E, a cable television channel, has been running its popular Biography series for ten years, and now has imitators on other cable networks. What better way to jump start a child’s interest in history than to investigate the life and times of one fascinating person