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Addressing the violence in history


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We will be starting SOTW 3 this September. We love it. The kids run to the couch when they know it is SOTW time.


I am wondering how those of you with younger children in particular address the violence that is sometimes described in the books?


My eldest is 8 and I usually read the books as they are written. Sometimes I do just say the person was killed etc. instead of beheaded or what have you. But my youngest is 4 and does listen to the stories. He seems to talk an awful lot about killing and cutting your head off and I think he has picked it up from SOTW. I wish that I hadn't mentioned those parts earlier on.


Anyone else with similar experiences?

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This is why I chose a cultural history route rather than a political history. My dd was extremely sensitive until around ten or eleven. Once we read a story about a ruler who was stabbed in the back (I didn't preview well enough) and dd walked around with her hands up behind her back, protecting herself from potential assassins, for a few weeks.


Now she shrugs off major violence while I hide my eyes or refuse to read the pages.

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I've always told my kids just the way it is and was. We're Jews. Our history is full of all kinds of stories, both joyous and extremely difficult. I don't go into ultra-gory details, or provide visuals of such things, but I do read SOTW exactly as is. We've discussed the Holocaust and WWII and Nazis, bad/evil people, the many stories in the torah, etc., etc., etc. My kids are 7, 5, 4, and 3. And the interesting thing is, not ONE of them has ever had a bad dream (??!!??). I had to explain to DS5 what one was last week because he had never even heard of them!


(And, actually, the only explanation I can think of is that every night a Jew says a prayer called "she'ma" before going to bed and one thing that saying the prayer is said to do is to protect us through the night...)

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My third grader has just been interested in listening to SOTW1 & 2 this past few months for bedtime.


We don't do all of them, he would pick one he wants me to read.


Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I ordered SOTW 3 because we're doing US History with TT and a couple of Sonlight-recommended books. I thought SOTW 3 would be a nice spine.


HE felt v. disturbed with some of the things in SOTW3. Not only the killing, but also the tragedy. He couldn't stop thinking about the baby (and colony) who was lost in the Roanoke island. I remembered when I read that part of story a couple of months ago (not in SOTW), I was also disturbed ...:). Same with other exploration story where people are left to die in an island, or on a ship, or kill each other in a ship because they're so hungry, or when there's an ambush between colonies in early America, etc. It's so depressing. And I'm an adult.


As a child, I was also sensitive.


It's a good thing my mom didn't read me SOTW kind of book back then ...:). But I remember when I was 10 I went to a revolutionary war museum (in Indonesia) where there was an exhibit of 7 generals who got kidnapped from their homes by people of communist party, tortured and then buried alive inside a dry well. I couldn't sleep alone for one full year (keep thinking about the exhibit, torture house, and the dry well I visited), and was scared to be at home, thinking that soldier would come and kidnapped my dad at night. When my school told us to watch a movie about those generals and the revolutionary night ... I just didn't go. I couldn't.


I remember I was about to have a final Indonesian history test for my elementary years, and I just couldn't open the textbook to study, even though my mom has covered pictures of the mass killing and so forth. Thanks God I passed the test ...:).


Anyway, I tried to censor the scary and sad things about history for my boy, knowing how I was. But somehow my son found out about people who used to cut up the heads of their enemies and stuck the head on top of a stick as a reminder of how bad he was. He was so depressed afterward.


He didn't want me to read any SOTW 3 at the moment, and I might not give him SOTW 4 anytime soon because it could be more depressing. So at the moment, I'm just telling him ancient and middle age history again and having him look at Usborne books... somehow it's not that disturbing for him.

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It's interesting to me that it seems to be primarily once folks get to around the Rev War period that violence in history becomes a concern. I wonder if it's because it's closer to us in time or closer to us geographically that it seems worse (maybe more "real"?) than all the violence and war, etc in ancient and medieval history. It's certainly not that those time periods were less violent, people were kinder to each other, there was no slavery, no war, no murder, no assassination.

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