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Creating a Love of History at Home

Aug 30, 2008
Where did I come from? This is one of the first questions your children will ask of you. This is one of those magic moments; an ideal time to start developing an interest in historical information. History is the story of people and events, it is a record of the past. Each individual has a unique place in history.

Almost every family will have documents and memorabilia that has been saved and treasured. A child's birth certificate begins their historical record. As the child grows and develops many other personal and individual items will mark their life journey. Family documents add to the historical recount of life before the child's birth.

Many people's birthdays coincide with significant or major events that happen nationally or internationally. At the start of each year the newspapers feature articles on the first new year babies. Perhaps a family member shares a birth date with a famous person or was born on the same day that Hillary and Tensing reached the summit of Mt Everest.

History is taught formally as a subject in schools as well as informally. As early as Kindergarten, students become aware that they hold a special and unique place in history. They begin by asking questions and investigating their family roots and what makes them different and the same as others in their class, school, neighborhood, town, state and country.

Children become very interested about many historical times and sometimes this interest develops into a full time career choice as an historian. The different ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth fascinates students. Parents support their child's learning by additional experiences, guided television viewing and visits to places of historical interest. Occasionally museums host traveling exhibitions like the treasures from Tutankhamen's tomb and the Entombed Terracotta Warriors from Xian, China. Exhibitions of this kind bring history alive. Movies that depict historical times also convey a picture of bygone days.

History is taught as a school and university subject. In Elementary school, students begin to learn historical information about their country and the significance of national holidays. They learn of the events that shaped their nation and of the different people who have inhabited their country over the course of history.

Gradually the students build their personal knowledge about where they are placed in history. They begin to realize that many battles and wars have been fought throughout history. Parents and immediate family members may have served their country during times of conflict and are willing to share historical details of that time.

Parents can facilitate a thirst for historical information. They can model and guide their children's experiences to include activities that have a historical bias. Dinner table discussions can include the current news and the importance of daily events.

Encouraging children from an early age, to take an active interest in the world around them by reading and watching the news and documentaries will foster a love for history and broaden their perspective. They will understand more and be more reflective. As well, this knowledge will help them make good decisions as adults.
About the Author
Columbia Lee, an educator, believes history is essential in children's education. Parents can help their children learn history at home. Learning history has benefits beyond historical facts. Watch your child learn and grow.
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