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Across Time and Place
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Subject Topic: Teaching American History without a text Post ReplyPost New Topic
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albeto
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Posted: Feb 27 2010 at 12:51pm | IP Logged Quote albeto

We have CHC's "From Sea to Shining Sea" but I'm finding that extracting information from a non fiction source is simply not working for dd 12. I found a book from Amazon that teaches American history through literature and I'm thinking we'll do visual time lines on the wall, movies, "Liberty Kids" DVDs, etc. I figure for now it will be an introduction, but would that be enough? Will she get the idea of *why* people reacted to events they way they did without me explaining (read, boring lecture)? What about my ds who is almost 15? He's resistant to any and all formal schooling (text books about non interesting topics are useless and he even gets himself worked up and can't comprehend a 5th grade biography if he knows he "has to")? How can I be sure they understand enough to equal a high school education?

For example, we're reading "Calico Captive" now, which takes place during the French and Indian War, but it doesn't really do anything more than give a reference of time - pretty dresses, social classes. But it takes so much time, which seems to me like it's "extra" but not the main way to learn. Which is why text books are so helpful, imo, to explain what happened. But I guess that would be the job of the time line?

How can I make a time line stick in their memory? Or is there a better way?
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guitarnan
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Posted: Feb 27 2010 at 1:09pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

You can learn a lot of history through good literature. Living books, DVDs and timelines sound like a good approach. I would suggest, perhaps, for your son, that he be asked to consider the idea that he won't always be able to pick and choose what he reads in life (even if he opts not to go to college), so it is a good idea to learn to read and understand some nonfiction.

Having said that, there are other types of nonfiction besides textbooks. There are magazine articles, websites (previewed by parents), oral histories...and field trips are also an excellent way to reinforce historical concepts. (Many of our local historical sites have homeschool days and programs.)

It sounds to me, from what you write, that reading textbooks doesn't play to your children's learning styles, and perhaps a timeline (on the wall - visual), DVDs (visual), field trips (kinesthetic/hands-on) and so on would be easier for your children to understand and remember. I think it's worth a try.

(Side note: My dd learned almost all her elementary school science concepts from Magic Schoolbus and Bill Nye DVDs. She remembers nearly everything. When we hit the Constitution in From Sea to Shining Sea, guess what I did? Went out and bought the Schoolhouse Rock DVD!)

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JodieLyn
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Posted: Feb 27 2010 at 1:14pm | IP Logged Quote JodieLyn

Oh.. go over to this thread how to use a book of centuries Chari just posted a huge amount of information on teaching history without textbooks.

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albeto
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Posted: Feb 27 2010 at 1:33pm | IP Logged Quote albeto

Thank you!
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