Jump to content

Menu

Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks & Get Students Excited About Doing History


Recommended Posts

Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks & Get Students Excited About Doing History By James W. Loewen.

 

I am interested in trying to do a better job with US History this next year--we started it this past year and will be continuing, and thought maybe trying it the Loewen way would be worth trying. Anyone else interested in doing it and discussing it as we go?

 

1) To start, my understanding is that we (the teachers) are supposed to come up with 30 to 50 main topics that we want to cover--important "trees" that interest us, not gazillions of "twigs". I am busy thinking this out, and also considering whether I want my list to be thematic, or chronological or mixed. I am at present leaning towards mixed. If others are interested, I'll post my tentative list as I start to work it out. And if anyone else has such a list I am interested.

 

2) He seems to think there are lots of paperback US history books available in the $12 range, and around 300 pages long that give an overview of US History that one can then supplement with projects and primary sources to flesh out those main areas one wants to focus on. However, I have yet to find such a book. Anyone know?

 

3) Where he thinks one can get such a book does have helpful lists of resources (both US and World as well as some other topics) and links to primary source material:

 

 

 

DOCUMENT-BASED ACTIVITIES FOR U.S. HISTORY:

Using Primary Sources and the Internet

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.socialstu.../c/uslinks.html

 

 

I am also interested in incorporating the Stanford materials that someone posted about.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Starting to find some books that might possibly fit--

 

Penguin History of the USA is much longer, but under $15

 

A Short History of the United States by Robert Remini, might fit both the length and price idea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the book you are referring to, but I like to have 1 month long units on a single idea and find really good non-fiction for my dh to read to the kids. To find these books, I have looked at all the award winning non-fiction for America, UK, Australia, and NZ. They are clearly not all on US history, but I thought you still might want to see the list. Some of the blanks are because I have seen stuff at the library.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

 

Modern History

 

Inventions

Books on Edison, Bell, and Rutherford

The Wright Brothers: How they Invented the Airplane by Russel Freedman chBIO-

 

Life in the Victorian era

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Flesh and Blood so Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin 10+

Shutting out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York (1880-1920) by Deborah Hopkinson 11+

Oliver Twist by Dickens

Around the World in 80 Days by Verne

 

Exploration

Books about Livingstone and Stanley from the library

Lost Photographs of Captain Scott

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming ChBIOEar

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin Sandler (ordered) 10+

Reaching the Summit: Sir Edmund Hillary's Story by Alexa Johnston chBIOHil

Trapped: how the world rescues 33 miners from 2,000 feet below the Chilean Desert by Marc Aronson 10+

 

WW1

The War to End all Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman 12+

 

Between the Wars

Bootleg: Murder Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal 12+

Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal 12+

Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin 9+

 

WW2

Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration by Joanne Oppenheim 11+

Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal-- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin 10+

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, Doreen Rappaport ordered 10+

The Good Fight: How WW2 was Won by Stephen Ambrose ch940.58AMB 11+

Frontier of Dreams: The Weight of the World Wars ch993.1PAR

Diary of a Kiwi Soldier in WW2 by Cecil Coughlan ch940.5421COU

Secret Armies: Spies, Counterspies YA940.5485

Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow ch943.086BAR 12+

 

Asia

Young Fu of Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis Own

The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth Own

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin ChF 8+

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle GFloor- Graphic Novel

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle GFloor-Graphic Novel

Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China by Guy Delisle GFloor-Graphic Novel

Illustrated History of the South Pacific by Marcia Stenson ch990STE

 

Environmentalism

Black Gold: The Story of Oil in our lives by Albert Marin 12+

K- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

 

Civil Rights

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Non-violent Resistance Perry O'Brien 11+

They Call themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 12+

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom by Sue Macy A796.6082MAC 10+

 

Cold War

When the Wall Came Down: The Berlin Wall and the Fall of Soviet Communism by Schmemann ch943.1087 11+

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin chF 9+

Mao's Last Dancer by Chuxin Li chBIO-Li

 

Technology

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal YABio

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Thimmesh ch629.454THI 10+

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is this so very different from VP or TOG, both of which have topic outlines for the year and flesh them out with well-written books and the selective use of a spine... Interesting share though. Our library doesn't have the TWRH, but it does have the Lies book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen - the critique of Loewen that he is a sociologist, not a historian, is, imo, spot on.

 

Which isn't to say that he isn't helpful. He is. But I wouldn't worry too much about fulfilling his ideas about teaching history exactly. His main point, as I understand it, is to occasionally dive deep into the material. Once you do that a few times the student learns how he or she can do that themselves when they come across something they want to know more about.

 

I'm not particularly familiar with US history, but I am doubtful about cheap spines. Unless you are willing to use a previous-edition college textbook. What age/grade are you looking for? My suggestion is to look into the Pages of History series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're just trying to get something to overview basics, then I'm sure there are cheapie books. Or things like the Larry Gonick cartoon history book. Or the Kenneth Davis Don't Know Much About History series. They're hardly great books and I wouldn't use them alone, but if your goal is just to have a quick read through then something like that might be it, depending on the ages. Maybe you could start by just reading through a book and then diving in with specifics. You could peg things with an ongoing timeline.

 

I liked Loewen's first two books, but I haven't read this one.

 

Presumably anyone who likes his work might be interested in the YA version of A People's History of the United States or the YA version of A Different Mirror.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is this so very different from VP or TOG, both of which have topic outlines for the year and flesh them out with well-written books and the selective use of a spine... Interesting share though. Our library doesn't have the TWRH, but it does have the Lies book.

 

 

I do not know TOG, but VP from what I have seen of its catalog, never used it, seems completely different. It looks like it (parent taught version) uses fairly lengthy and expensive texts, such as Hakim (lengthy in total though each book is not) plus much historical fiction, timeline memorization and so on. Is that so?

 

This other system asks the teacher to choose a limited number of important "trees" that he/she feels strongly about, can teach well, is very interested in, or the like, that will be delved into deeply, particularly by using primary sources. My "trees" might be totally different than anyone else's.

 

For example, mine may most heavily involve law and social and environmental and science development aspects, someone else might focus on technology, someone else might look at immigration and race and labor issues mainly, someone else might be looking at biographies of presidents, someone else might particularly consider the arts and architecture, someone else might focus on chronological aspects, another might pick banking and economics... Because I am in a homeschool situation, my "trees" may give my ds's interests greater prominence in what I choose to focus on (or how).

 

No heavy historical fiction focus would fit this so far as I understand, unless perhaps it is something like Uncle Tom 's Cabin that was important to the time being studied--in which case it becomes a fictional primary source in a sense that can be looked at for how it might have affected people at the time, or if it is something to apply critical understanding to and ask what aspects are true or myth.

 

Learning about connections between events, or ideas, or ideas and events, would be emphasized, rather than memorizing a timeline, though having some sense of when things were is also important.

 

A book gives a chance to get some overview of things one does not choose for in depth coverage, but it also gives a chance to analyze how the book covers history as historiography, to question and debate with the book, as I so far understand it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen - the critique of Loewen that he is a sociologist, not a historian, is, imo, spot on.

 

Which isn't to say that he isn't helpful. He is. But I wouldn't worry too much about fulfilling his ideas about teaching history exactly. His main point, as I understand it, is to occasionally dive deep into the material. Once you do that a few times the student learns how he or she can do that themselves when they come across something they want to know more about.

 

I'm not particularly familiar with US history, but I am doubtful about cheap spines. Unless you are willing to use a previous-edition college textbook. What age/grade are you looking for? My suggestion is to look into the Pages of History series.

 

Yes, yes, yes to the bolded.

 

We use many of Lloewen's ideas in history class. I have a stack of history books, along with Project Gutenberg finds on my Ipad, that show carefully constructed bias and emphasis on different events. But our lessons don't come from those. The favorite phrase around here is "prove it!". Even the $10 History of US volumes are not exempt.

 

Here's an example. My son's final project for history class was a 10 page paper this year. He could choose one of two topics: California Gold Rush or Oregon Trail. He picked CA and made his list of subtopics.

 

For the next month during class, we had discussion time. Discussion over the timelines we found indicating progress on the railroad and the shaping of CA law/government. A timeline of immigration. Forcing him to compare and look at different events had him researching more on his off-time for his paper. He wanted to know - why was CA so strongly anti-immigrant in their laws? What happened? How did the influx of people shape society out there? Did the perception of immigrants change between the 1880s and the world wars of the next century? Did the Dust Bowl create a renewed battle of worker's rights in CA?

 

Out of his original 7 subtopics, he narrowed it down to 4 due to sifting through letters, documents, and old photos and he wrote a darn good paper. We compared it later to the different history books on the shelf - most glossed over events from Sutter's Mill to the Transcontinental Railroad, stopping for the Civil War. And most, with the exception of Levi Strauss' example, painted a grim picture of life. Even Vol. 5 of Hakim's books gave a small spread to immigration but without any details.

 

 

We find the same thing over and over in American history. It's not enough to read what is written, but to question it. Make them think. If Susan B. Anthony died in 1906, how did she help get women the right to vote in 1920? If Germany was practicing eugenics, why didn't the world stop them? Why was McCarthy able to start the witch hunt on communism? DId he? Or did he simple take it to a new level? What was the attitude of the U.S. here?

 

I often sit down with a history book now and start using highlighter stickers and a notepad. It's not enough to know what happened, but to be able to connect the thoughts. I expect (and get) my kid to do the same. History is a puzzle. I'm not expecting him to come up with a perfectly true version of what happened - only to be open minded enough to accept new evidence and fit it into his mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't respond to the original post because I don't think I totally got what you were after, but I am watching the thread because I love gleaning new ideas. I'm planning the details of DS10's 5th grade year right now, and yesterday I was reading through the WTM history section for logic stage. Your post tonight made me chuckle a bit because this idea of reading from a central spine and then digging deeper on topics of interest is exactly what SWB recommends. The spine she recommends is an encyclopedia (which I don't particularly love), but the concept is the same. The only difference I see is that she says the kids should pick the topics of greatest interest to them for further research, whatever captivates them. Anyway, thought that was interesting.

 

Personally, I don't get the thing about the cost of the spine (says the girl who, admittedly, has a thing for OUP :tongue_smilie:). Yes, the more expensive spines are generally longer and more detailed, but not to the extent that they would prohibit further exploration into topics of particular interest. If anything, they provide more choices for further research. Yes, "the usual players" will be there, but also more esoteric figures, and more events, more cultural nuance, more...just more. Admittedly, I have a thing for more. ;) We have been reading the OUP sets (along with SOTW) for a couple of years and those books are very detailed. The things my kids pick out of the details is endlessly fascinating to me! Of course, exposure is exposure. Latching onto a major theme and then exploring a facet of that might lead to the same details...or maybe not. In many ways, I think exposing my kids to a wide range of ideas is my biggest responsibility. I spread a feast of possibility and let them choose what to latch onto for further exploration. But it's my job to let them know what's out there for the taking.

 

Same thing, really. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just added the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for the tip!

 

I have always hated history until starting SOTW with my DS. Suddenly, things I never "got" are starting to fall together. I am planning to start a personal time line, and then have each kid start their own on the second time through the SOTW cycle.

 

Sort of unrelated, but who wants to join me in the Coursera class Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets? Never in a million years would I have found this class potentially interesting, if SWB hadn't gotten hold of me. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just added the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for the tip!

 

I have always hated history until starting SOTW with my DS. Suddenly, things I never "got" are starting to fall together. I am planning to start a personal time line, and then have each kid start their own on the second time through the SOTW cycle.

 

Sort of unrelated, but who wants to join me in the Coursera class Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets? Never in a million years would I have found this class potentially interesting, if SWB hadn't gotten hold of me. :-)

 

I'm in! I'm looking forward to the Coursera class.

 

And like Kristina, I'm planning out my 6th grader's modern history year, and went back to WTM, and was struck (again) by how much SWB's recommended approach melds with what you are describing. I've tossed out a text for this year, and decided to go with a list of topics, and I'm pulling together resources including primary sources. I expect that for some topics, dd will do my min required reading, and for others, she will get hooked and delve much deeper, and I'm intentionally building in room/time for that.

 

I'm finding myself moving away from texts for history. For one thing, because I am looking to have my Logic stage student do more of the digging and connection making herself (or with guidance & discussion) rather than reading the pre-digested text information. But also because they are so long that if you try and cover everything in them, they really dominate your time. I'm not crazy about reading from encyclopedias either, but I do like the idea of a concise statement of "the facts" followed by research, analysis, synthesis, and making connections, rather than spending an hour reading a history text.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Yes, yes, yes to the bolded.

 

We use many of Lloewen's ideas in history class. I have a stack of history books, along with Project Gutenberg finds on my Ipad, that show carefully constructed bias and emphasis on different events. But our lessons don't come from those. The favorite phrase around here is "prove it!". Even the $10 History of US volumes are not exempt.

 

Here's an example. My son's final project for history class was a 10 page paper this year. He could choose one of two topics: California Gold Rush or Oregon Trail. He picked CA and made his list of subtopics.

 

For the next month during class, we had discussion time. Discussion over the timelines we found indicating progress on the railroad and the shaping of CA law/government. A timeline of immigration. Forcing him to compare and look at different events had him researching more on his off-time for his paper. He wanted to know - why was CA so strongly anti-immigrant in their laws? What happened? How did the influx of people shape society out there? Did the perception of immigrants change between the 1880s and the world wars of the next century? Did the Dust Bowl create a renewed battle of worker's rights in CA?

 

Out of his original 7 subtopics, he narrowed it down to 4 due to sifting through letters, documents, and old photos and he wrote a darn good paper. We compared it later to the different history books on the shelf - most glossed over events from Sutter's Mill to the Transcontinental Railroad, stopping for the Civil War. And most, with the exception of Levi Strauss' example, painted a grim picture of life. Even Vol. 5 of Hakim's books gave a small spread to immigration but without any details.

 

 

We find the same thing over and over in American history. It's not enough to read what is written, but to question it. Make them think. If Susan B. Anthony died in 1906, how did she help get women the right to vote in 1920? If Germany was practicing eugenics, why didn't the world stop them? Why was McCarthy able to start the witch hunt on communism? DId he? Or did he simple take it to a new level? What was the attitude of the U.S. here?

 

I often sit down with a history book now and start using highlighter stickers and a notepad. It's not enough to know what happened, but to be able to connect the thoughts. I expect (and get) my kid to do the same. History is a puzzle. I'm not expecting him to come up with a perfectly true version of what happened - only to be open minded enough to accept new evidence and fit it into his mind.

 

 

 

YES!!! Hurrah! This is the sort of thing I'm wanting to do too!!

 

I like the idea of giving a choice of two possible project areas also and letting him choose. How did you decide on those possible choices? And where did you (he) find information for his Gold Rush project? Did you make sure there would be plenty of information before you gave the topic choices? Or with something so broad to start let the information found guide the narrowing down phase? Or???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just added the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for the tip!

 

I have always hated history until starting SOTW with my DS. Suddenly, things I never "got" are starting to fall together. I am planning to start a personal time line, and then have each kid start their own on the second time through the SOTW cycle.

 

Sort of unrelated, but who wants to join me in the Coursera class Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets? Never in a million years would I have found this class potentially interesting, if SWB hadn't gotten hold of me. :-)

 

 

 

Me too. I'll have to wait till I am at a high speed connection to try to get into Coursera, can't from home. I was hoping to try it this next year in any case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in! I'm looking forward to the Coursera class.

 

And like Kristina, I'm planning out my 6th grader's modern history year, and went back to WTM, and was struck (again) by how much SWB's recommended approach melds with what you are describing. I've tossed out a text for this year, and decided to go with a list of topics, and I'm pulling together resources including primary sources. I expect that for some topics, dd will do my min required reading, and for others, she will get hooked and delve much deeper, and I'm intentionally building in room/time for that.

 

I'm finding myself moving away from texts for history. For one thing, because I am looking to have my Logic stage student do more of the digging and connection making herself (or with guidance & discussion) rather than reading the pre-digested text information. But also because they are so long that if you try and cover everything in them, they really dominate your time. I'm not crazy about reading from encyclopedias either, but I do like the idea of a concise statement of "the facts" followed by research, analysis, synthesis, and making connections, rather than spending an hour reading a history text.

 

 

 

As you find excellent links for primary sources, could you post them?

 

Modern history will correspond to Vol. 4 of SOTW in terms of what you consider "modern"?

 

Agree with the bolded. My ds enjoyed SOTW, but is really past that stage now. I have not been happy with texts for middle/upper school grades I've found, and he has not liked any we tried. He really enjoyed delving into a research project bringing together different texts, though not much was primary source at that point.

 

I am going to try the Oxford Very Short History of the United States as our short text. It seems like the best I can find (or at least that I thus far have found) to be both short and I think also well done. I think they have a world history one too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

 

 

 

YES!!! Hurrah! This is the sort of thing I'm wanting to do too!!

 

I like the idea of giving a choice of two possible project areas also and letting him choose. How did you decide on those possible choices? And where did you (he) find information for his Gold Rush project? Did you make sure there would be plenty of information before you gave the topic choices? Or with something so broad to start let the information found guide the narrowing down phase? Or???

 

 

LOL...our history studies this year went from 1789-1860. The two topic choices were both topics we were ending with - he saw them as separate, I saw them as interrelated. He was just going to go further in one direction than the other. During his research he did end up getting a good idea of the hardships suffered and economic/political reasons people moved westward.

 

You have to realise, my kid is 14. We've slowly built up to this. Last year he went on a special tour of our library where they taught him how to use the educational databases. At home, we've made a file folder of primary source links. We have a cupboard full of Jackdaws and document reproductions at his disposal. After he picked his topic he simply had to gather and weed. We go through index cards like nobody's business here. :laugh: And lots of pdfs are uploaded to my ipad. For teaching, I carefully crafted our daily discussions to weave in topics and stats he may not have been focusing on so that he had the exposure and could follow another small path.

 

For younger kids, I like the Mysteries In History series for a jumping off point. Each lesson is spelled out for the teacher: how to use the 1-2 primary docs, how to introduce the secondary material, how to get the kids thinking and which questions to ask. By the time they hit middle school/full logic stage, the Jackdaws and the Stanford lessons do the same (Jackdaws have more projects and twigs for follow-on research, but cost an arm and a leg). Eventually, you'll build up your own files that kids can go through and pull things together. My goal is to eventually get my kid completely and entirely away from secondary sources for a topic presentation. He wants to do McCarthyism over the summer and I think that might be a little too ambitious for a primary source project, but who knows. Maybe we can..

 

 

 

 

(and for those still waiting to see our 'pond method' of doing timelines, I'm very sorry. He was working hard on this all week and I figured it could wait - kid went camping feeling like he was on top of the world after turning in that paper)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

For younger kids, I like the Mysteries In History series for a jumping off point. Each lesson is spelled out for the teacher: how to use the 1-2 primary docs, how to introduce the secondary material, how to get the kids thinking and which questions to ask. By the time they hit middle school/full logic stage, the Jackdaws and the Stanford lessons do the same (Jackdaws have more projects and twigs for follow-on research, but cost an arm and a leg). Eventually, you'll build up your own files that kids can go through and pull things together. My goal is to eventually get my kid completely and entirely away from secondary sources for a topic presentation. He wants to do McCarthyism over the summer and I think that might be a little too ambitious for a primary source project, but who knows. Maybe we can..

 

(and for those still waiting to see our 'pond method' of doing timelines, I'm very sorry. He was working hard on this all week and I figured it could wait - kid went camping feeling like he was on top of the world after turning in that paper)

 

 

The Mysteries in History look great! I am putting that in my back pocket for in a few years... Can you tell me a bit more about these books?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't respond to the original post because I don't think I totally got what you were after, but I am watching the thread because I love gleaning new ideas. I'm planning the details of DS10's 5th grade year right now, and yesterday I was reading through the WTM history section for logic stage. Your post tonight made me chuckle a bit because this idea of reading from a central spine and then digging deeper on topics of interest is exactly what SWB recommends. The spine she recommends is an encyclopedia (which I don't particularly love), but the concept is the same. The only difference I see is that she says the kids should pick the topics of greatest interest to them for further research, whatever captivates them. Anyway, thought that was interesting.

 

Personally, I don't get the thing about the cost of the spine (says the girl who, admittedly, has a thing for OUP :tongue_smilie:). Yes, the more expensive spines are generally longer and more detailed, but not to the extent that they would prohibit further exploration into topics of particular interest. If anything, they provide more choices for further research. Yes, "the usual players" will be there, but also more esoteric figures, and more events, more cultural nuance, more...just more. Admittedly, I have a thing for more. ;) We have been reading the OUP sets (along with SOTW) for a couple of years and those books are very detailed. The things my kids pick out of the details is endlessly fascinating to me! Of course, exposure is exposure. Latching onto a major theme and then exploring a facet of that might lead to the same details...or maybe not. In many ways, I think exposing my kids to a wide range of ideas is my biggest responsibility. I spread a feast of possibility and let them choose what to latch onto for further exploration. But it's my job to let them know what's out there for the taking.

 

Same thing, really. :lol:

 

My WTM is missing at the moment, (maybe I loaned it and it has not come back), so I cannot look. My recollection of it was that it had a much greater emphasis on tying in other subjects so that the time frame would be coordinated across subjects based on the history time frame as a core, with a heavy emphasis on historical fiction, and a much lesser emphasis on primary source materials.

 

We started "US History" while still also doing other aspects of modern world history in more detain than had been the case in the prior year (I put US in quotes because most of the year we were actually learning about South and Central America) this last year and the level of detail, while great for the pre-1492 Viking and Columbian Exchange period delving in depth learning, left us just barely reaching the Declaration of Independence/US Constitution at this point. So, we need a decent short survey. And something of a cost and size that can go with us easily, or go up a tree for reading, be marked in the margins and otherwise made into something to engage with actively and critically--and not be a big deal if something happens to it, would help.

 

SOTW was wonderful for world history survey up to grade 4. I do have many many things like Kingfisher encyclopedias, National Geographic materials and so on, and they have been helpful. I felt very satisfied with what we did with history up to 4th grade point. But these materials have not achieved what I want to achieve in the history area at this stage.

 

So no, as far as the materials go, they are not actually "Same thing, really. :lol:" Though I can see how it might seem so to you looking at it from the approach point.

 

My ds is now 11, and I am looking back now, seeing what actually did happen (or not) last year with encyclopedias, Hakim etc. as spine, and then delving into depth into various areas--and how I feel about it.

 

I feel it was much better than what my own history education at that stage consisted of, but that it needs significant improvement, and that this other approach will be an improvement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

The Mysteries in History look great! I am putting that in my back pocket for in a few years... Can you tell me a bit more about these books?

 

Sure. :) There are three:

Ancients (BC to early Middle Ages)

World (up through early 20th century)

and American.

 

Each book has about 10 reproducible "cases" for the students to solve over a several day period. The first day starts out with an attention grabber: a notice on the door or whatnot, and then the kids are given a primary doc to look over and a sheet to keep evidence. They slowly get the story and then have to brainstorm, taking what they know and what they can find out to make a conclusion.

 

I will say they work REALLY well with a little bit of extra effort. For example, I took a battered file folder and a few different kinds of paper to reproduce the diary entries and death cert. from the Man in The Iron Mask. For co-op last year with a bunch of 8-10yos I held a mock court, with the prosecution getting a Jackdaw of Marco Polo's journey, the defense getting the book The Travels of Marco Polo, and both sides getting pages from HiM so they could debate whether or not MP really did go to China. It took us a month meeting once a week, but they really got into it. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really liked Ruth's list of books, and have added a lot of those to my list. Right now I have a list of 10 topics, similar to those on Ruth's list, spanning ~1900-present. So, besides trying to find autobiographies and resources that are based on interviews, letters, etc., two things I have in the primary sources department are:

 

Great American Documents: The Landmark Documents of our History, ed. by Rosalind Horton & Sally Simmons, published by Quercus. The items for this time period range from "The Prototype for the first military submarine, April 11, 1900" to "Missing persons message board, September 11, 2001" and include things like The Zimmerman Telegram, the 19th Amendment, FDR's address to congress after Pearl Harbor, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, JFK's inaugural address, etc.

 

The other is the texty-type book The Century for Young People, by Jennings & Brewster. It has 12 chapters, covering the 20th century, but what I really like about it is that more than half of the "text" in each chapter comes from interviews, letters, and other first-person accounts.

 

We're also using Zinn's A Young People's History, which has always sparked a lot of interesting discussion.

 

Our library has the "Eyewitness to History" series, which has a lot of primary sources.

 

That's what I've got so far . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... The spine she recommends is an encyclopedia (which I don't particularly love), but the concept is the same. ... Yes, the more expensive spines are generally longer and more detailed... :lol:

 

"

Maybe part of the problem is a Marshall McLuhan sort of "the medium is the message" issue. The very nature of a heavy hard covered textbook or encyclopedia seems to announce itself as The Truth, Authoritative, having the Answers. It does not give the sense of history as an exploration and a book as something that might be offering a viewpoint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Sure. :) There are three:

Ancients (BC to early Middle Ages)

World (up through early 20th century)

and American.

 

Each book has about 10 reproducible "cases" for the students to solve over a several day period. The first day starts out with an attention grabber: a notice on the door or whatnot, and then the kids are given a primary doc to look over and a sheet to keep evidence. They slowly get the story and then have to brainstorm, taking what they know and what they can find out to make a conclusion.

 

I will say they work REALLY well with a little bit of extra effort. For example, I took a battered file folder and a few different kinds of paper to reproduce the diary entries and death cert. from the Man in The Iron Mask. For co-op last year with a bunch of 8-10yos I held a mock court, with the prosecution getting a Jackdaw of Marco Polo's journey, the defense getting the book The Travels of Marco Polo, and both sides getting pages from HiM so they could debate whether or not MP really did go to China. It took us a month meeting once a week, but they really got into it. :)

 

 

 

That sounds fun! I'll look at that too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My WTM is missing at the moment, (maybe I loaned it and it has not come back), so I cannot look. My recollection of it was that it had a much greater emphasis on tying in other subjects so that the time frame would be coordinated across subjects based on the history time frame as a core, with a heavy emphasis on historical fiction, and a much lesser emphasis on primary source materials.

We started "US History" while still also doing other aspects of modern world history in more detain than had been the case in the prior year (I put US in quotes because most of the year we were actually learning about South and Central America) this last year and the level of detail, while great for the pre-1492 Viking and Columbian Exchange period delving in depth learning, left us just barely reaching the Declaration of Independence/US Constitution at this point. So, we need a decent short survey. And something of a cost and size that can go with us easily, or go up a tree for reading, be marked in the margins and otherwise made into something to engage with actively and critically--and not be a big deal if something happens to it, would help.

SOTW was wonderful for world history survey up to grade 4. I do have many many things like Kingfisher encyclopedias, National Geographic materials and so on, and they have been helpful. I felt very satisfied with what we did with history up to 4th grade point. But these materials have not achieved what I want to achieve in the history area at this stage.

So no, as far as the materials go, they are not actually "Same thing, really. :lol:" Though I can see how it might seem so to you looking at it from the approach point.

My ds is now 11, and I am looking back now, seeing what actually did happen (or not) last year with encyclopedias, Hakim etc. as spine, and then delving into depth into various areas--and how I feel about it.

I feel it was much better than what my own history education at that stage consisted of, but that it needs significant improvement, and that this other approach will be an improvement.

 

 

"Same thing, really. :lol:" was me laughing at myself, for my unhelpful non-contribution to the thread. I was saying that, for me, it is potato-potahto with regard to starting with a more or less detailed spine for an overview, if the ultimate goal is to get to the details. Going after the details is a mindset, a habit to be taught/learned and, here at least, has not been impacted much by what we start with. Not helpful, obviously, since you are committed to the idea of a shorter overview, and I hear and understand your reasons for this. I am certainly not arguing with the idea of digging deeper. (ETA: When you say "approach point," I assume you mean as someone who is just about to enter logic stage teaching. That is not entirely accurate. DS is just about to start 5th grade, yes, but I have been using logic stage materials, primary sources, and a general attitude of inquiry for a few years now, due to my kids' learning styles/levels.)

 

In WTM, it is the reading section that has an emphasis on historical fiction and literature. The history section is history-focused, with the four main elements being timeline, outlining, using and evaluating primary sources (the aspect I believed most relevant to the changes you want to see), and organizing information (that would be collected by digging deeper on topics of particular interest to the student) through the use of a history notebook.

 

Maybe part of the problem is a Marshall McLuhan sort of "the medium is the message" issue. The very nature of a heavy hard covered textbook or encyclopedia seems to announce itself as The Truth, Authoritative, having the Answers. It does not give the sense of history as an exploration and a book as something that might be offering a viewpoint.

 

Well, I guess that could be a stumbling block for some, though I seem to innately reject the very idea of one truth with experts being the revered author of said truth. I probably err too much on the side of skepticism though.

 

ETA2: I find myself insanely grumpy today and don't really know why, and I have this fear that what I am saying is coming across as contrary and...witchy. And judgmental. Please know I do not mean anything this way at all. I wanted to be helpful, sensed that I was not, and now I can't seem to fix it. Sorry. :( Just ignore me. LOL I do think your plan is a good one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really liked Ruth's list of books, and have added a lot of those to my list. Right now I have a list of 10 topics, similar to those on Ruth's list, spanning ~1900-present. So, besides trying to find autobiographies and resources that are based on interviews, letters, etc., two things I have in the primary sources department are:

 

Great American Documents: The Landmark Documents of our History, ed. by Rosalind Horton & Sally Simmons, published by Quercus. The items for this time period range from "The Prototype for the first military submarine, April 11, 1900" to "Missing persons message board, September 11, 2001" and include things like The Zimmerman Telegram, the 19th Amendment, FDR's address to congress after Pearl Harbor, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, JFK's inaugural address, etc.

 

This sounds good, but on a search, I could not find it. I did find this. Most of what it has sounds less interesting than what you found, but helpful to have in a book even if they are also findable online.

 

The other is the texty-type book The Century for Young People, by Jennings & Brewster. It has 12 chapters, covering the 20th century, but what I really like about it is that more than half of the "text" in each chapter comes from interviews, letters, and other first-person accounts.

 

Good idea. Do you know if this 3 volume set of it is different than the one volume hardcover? The 3 volumes version says age 10 and up the hardcover says 8 and up. ??? Also I am wondering about the adult version in comparison.

 

We're also using Zinn's A Young People's History, which has always sparked a lot of interesting discussion.

 

My ds has been reading the adult version which he seems to prefer to the child version. The trouble is it seems to assume at least some basic level of knowledge of a regular US history background which it then plays off.

 

Our library has the "Eyewitness to History" series, which has a lot of primary sources.

 

That's what I've got so far . . .

 

My library has A History of the American People - Paul Johnson

 

and A Short History of the United States: From the Arrival of Native American Tribes to the Obama Presidency - Robert V. Remini

 

One supposed to be more liberal and by an American the other more conservative and by someone from the UK. We may use them for looking at multiple viewpoints.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Same thing, really. :lol:" was me laughing at myself, for my unhelpful non-contribution to the thread. I was saying that, for me, it is potato-potahto with regard to starting with a more or less detailed spine for an overview, if the ultimate goal is to get to the details.

 

Ah. Misunderstood. Thank you for clarifying since it does help clarify my own ideas on this now. My ds will not get the overview if the spine is too detailed. So, we need a different approach.

 

 

 

 

Going after the details is a mindset, a habit to be taught/learned and, here at least, has not been impacted much by what we start with. Not helpful, obviously, since you are committed to the idea of a shorter overview, and I hear and understand your reasons for this. I am certainly not arguing with the idea of digging deeper. (ETA: When you say "approach point," I assume you mean as someone who is just about to enter logic stage teaching. That is not entirely accurate. DS is just about to start 5th grade, yes, but I have been using logic stage materials, primary sources, and a general attitude of inquiry for a few years now, due to my kids' learning styles/levels.)

 

Then, presumably, you know it will work for you.

 

In WTM, it is the reading section that has an emphasis on historical fiction and literature. The history section is history-focused, with the four main elements being timeline, outlining, using and evaluating primary sources (the aspect I believed most relevant to the changes you want to see), and organizing information (that would be collected by digging deeper on topics of particular interest to the student) through the use of a history notebook.

 

Thanks, I think I did read it at the start of last summer, but obviously do not remember it right, I'll need to get my book back and review that.

 

 

 

Well, I guess that could be a stumbling block for some, though I seem to innately reject the very idea of one truth with experts being the revered author of said truth. I probably err too much on the side of skepticism though.

 

It is a stumbling block for my ds--I was glad to see that the Paul Johnson book is said to have errors in it like how long the Gettysburg battle lasted. I think that will help us be able to get past the idea that if something is written it must be so.

 

ETA2: I find myself insanely grumpy today and don't really know why, and I have this fear that what I am saying is coming across as contrary and...witchy. And judgmental. Please know I do not mean anything this way at all. I wanted to be helpful, sensed that I was not, and now I can't seem to fix it. Sorry. :( Just ignore me. LOL I do think your plan is a good one.

 

Actually you were helpful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, starting to work on my special topics -- since last year had much on , Columbian Exchange etc,, I won't go back to that now...

  1. geography, natural resources, climate
  2. Monetary and Economic underpinnings and issues, John Law, Mississippi Bubble, India Companies
  3. Colonial times including Slavery
  4. French, Spanish, Dutch, English, Native groups-- areas of control and differences
  5. Iroquois Confederacy
  6. Decl of Indepence/ Articles of Confederation/ US Constitution
  7. Alien and Sedition Acts.

 

Hmmm.... I think I am using up too many toward my total in just this early part and not leaving enough for the 19th century to the present....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely agree that Zinn works best if you've already read about the topic from a relatively "straight" POV - it then gives you a contrasting take on the topic, and you can use this to have many fruitful discussions not just on the historical topic, but on the whole issue of how we "do history" and how the story is told differently depending on purpose, audience, POV, etc.

 

A more "straight" American history text that I've really been enjoying is The Making of America by Robert Johnston. The Paul Johnson book is definitely for high school/adult level readers, not middle school, I have that one too. What we've done so far for American is to read The Making of America first, then the corresponding Zinn chapter. I think for next year we will drop Making and just do The Century +Zinn for American hist. Not that I don't like Making, but I like the primary documentary aspect of The Century, and I'm trying to get *away* from texts, rather than add additional ones!!

 

Here is the Johnston book:

 

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/202233/the-making-of-america-revised-edition-by-robert-d-johnston

 

 

From what I can see, the 3-volume Jennings & Brewster set that you linked is the same book I have, just divided into 3 volumes . . . I've never seen the adult version.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, starting to work on my special topics -- since last year had much on , Columbian Exchange etc,, I won't go back to that now...

  1. geography, natural resources, climate
     
  2. Monetary and Economic underpinnings and issues, John Law, Mississippi Bubble, India Companies
     
  3. Colonial times including Slavery
     
  4. French, Spanish, Dutch, English, Native groups-- areas of control and differences,
     
  5. Iroquois Confederacy
     
  6. Decl of Indepence/ Articles of Confederation/ US Constitution
     
  7. Alien and Sedition Acts.

Hmmm.... I think I am using up too many toward my total in just this early part and not leaving enough for the 19th century to the present....

 

First revision and moving on a bit:

  • geography, natural resources, climate

  • history and archaelogy--how we know what we think we know
     
  • Monetary and Economic underpinnings and issues, John Law, Mississippi Bubble, India Companies
     
  • Colonial times including Slavery
     
  • French, Spanish, Dutch, English, Native groups-- areas of control and differences, early immigration, what was happening elsewhere in the world
  • Decl of Independence/ Articles of Confederation/ US Constitution and influences such as Iroquois Confederacy, Dutch system, British system and philosophies

  • .Federalist Papers, Madison reports and so on

  • some early legal landmarks including Alien and Sedition Acts, Marbury, Penn, Zenger, Amistad, Bett Freeman

  • governmental structure

  • Lewis and Clark and related

  • Civil War

  • Reconstruction

  • Western States/our state

 

I am realizing that my emphasis in teaching and his in choosing special areas for his own research may well be very different. He will seek out (I believe based on past) things that have to do with technology and invention. I want to foster that, but I also want to have him get some areas that I don't think he would seek out.

 

I am assuming that he already has some knowledge of the Revolution, Jamestown, Pilgrims and so on, and that an overview book, Zinn and so on would give some more perhaps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just added the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for the tip!

 

I have always hated history until starting SOTW with my DS. Suddenly, things I never "got" are starting to fall together. I am planning to start a personal time line, and then have each kid start their own on the second time through the SOTW cycle.

 

Sort of unrelated, but who wants to join me in the Coursera class Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets? Never in a million years would I have found this class potentially interesting, if SWB hadn't gotten hold of me. :-)

DS and I will be taking that class :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How Sugar Changed the World: A story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science http://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Changed-World-Slavery-Freedom/dp/0618574921

 

We did this book last year and it was EXCELLENT.

I have this book too. (Actually the title doesn't have "how" in it.) It's written for kids, which is nice. I have an advance copy that unfortunately has rather mediocre photos, but it's a fascinating topic. In fact, I try to bring in history and cultural exchange as much as I can into food discussions. It's amazing, really. And people think travel and cultural mixing are new.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a super-duper fantastic website for finding primary sources and other information!!!

 

 

Thanks so much for this! We're going to be studying the Middle Ages/Renaissance/Reformation next fall and this will be fantastic for primary source documents to incorporate into our lessons; not to mention Church History!

 

I've added it to my Symbaloo webmix for Middle Ages!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely agree that Zinn works best if you've already read about the topic from a relatively "straight" POV - it then gives you a contrasting take on the topic, and you can use this to have many fruitful discussions not just on the historical topic, but on the whole issue of how we "do history" and how the story is told differently depending on purpose, audience, POV, etc.

 

A more "straight" American history text that I've really been enjoying is The Making of America by Robert Johnston. The Paul Johnson book is definitely for high school/adult level readers, not middle school, I have that one too. What we've done so far for American is to read The Making of America first, then the corresponding Zinn chapter. I think for next year we will drop Making and just do The Century +Zinn for American hist. Not that I don't like Making, but I like the primary documentary aspect of The Century, and I'm trying to get *away* from texts, rather than add additional ones!!

 

Here is the Johnston book:

 

http://www.randomhou...bert-d-johnston

 

 

From what I can see, the 3-volume Jennings & Brewster set that you linked is the same book I have, just divided into 3 volumes . . . I've never seen the adult version.

 

 

Was at library yesterday and agree that the Paul Johnson book is above my son's level and the cramped print belies that it is not actually very short, just packed into relatively fewer pages, but for high school aged it might be good to give a more conservative view to compare to Zinn, and we may return to it at that time.

 

I checked out the Robert Johnston book and I also found and checked ou another National Geographic book called Almanac of Amercan History by Miller and Thompson, a DK/Smithsonian book Children's Encyclopedia of American History with a lot of photos of objects, people, documents etc. from the past-- photos that show things that are a form of primary source material.

 

Also checked out an odd but interesting book An American History Album by michael and jordan Worek, which is a history of US via pictures of postage stamps. It is topically arranged--I think it might be even more interesting if chronologically to show what people thought worth commemorating over the years. It apparently draws from an enormous collection at the Smithsonian, and I thought some of that may be findable online if ds gets interested.

 

I was also noticing Canada history books near the US ones and am also thinking that it might be interesting to contrast the history of somewhere else that was a bit similar and yet different. If Ruth is still reading this, do you have any suggestion for a good but short overview of New Zealand history that could give something as a comparison to another country that was also colonized, but where things went differently?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen - the critique of Loewen that he is a sociologist, not a historian, is, imo, spot on.

 

Which isn't to say that he isn't helpful. He is. But I wouldn't worry too much about fulfilling his ideas about teaching history exactly. His main point, as I understand it, is to occasionally dive deep into the material. Once you do that a few times the student learns how he or she can do that themselves when they come across something they want to know more about.

 

I'm not particularly familiar with US history, but I am doubtful about cheap spines. Unless you are willing to use a previous-edition college textbook. What age/grade are you looking for? My suggestion is to look into the Pages of History series.

 

 

Have you read any of Loewen's books? His main point is that what history textbooks contain is often not true, and that is the reason we should avoid using them and instead use documents and primary sources. His contention is that controversy and questioning are generally avoided in history textbooks so what they contain is a tone of authority and a blandness that makes them both boring and misinformed. At least in his earlier book, which I just re-read, he would recommend teaching history as fewer, more in-depth investigations than what a textbook would cover.

 

I think that one reason that a cheap spine is better than a standard-issue history textbook is that it's more likely to stick to just narrating facts and avoid editorializing about those facts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen, I just wanted to say thanks for starting this thread. I picked up the book at the library a couple of days ago, and have been reading it while I plan next year's history. I had kind of independenlty decided to take this approach for next year, after realizing that we had outgrown SOTW, but not being real jazzed about HO Modern, either. It's been so great to read this while planning! I'm now really excited about taking history studies to the next level next year. So, thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Have you read any of Loewen's books? His main point is that what history textbooks contain is often not true, and that is the reason we should avoid using them and instead use documents and primary sources. His contention is that controversy and questioning are generally avoided in history textbooks so what they contain is a tone of authority and a blandness that makes them both boring and misinformed. At least in his earlier book, which I just re-read, he would recommend teaching history as fewer, more in-depth investigations than what a textbook would cover.

 

I think that one reason that a cheap spine is better than a standard-issue history textbook is that it's more likely to stick to just narrating facts and avoid editorializing about those facts.

 

 

Catherine,

 

What you say about Loewen is correct as I understand it. The later book is just much more specific with many ideas for what to do, for those like myself who read the earlier ones, want to do it better, and yet felt lost about what exactly to get.

 

Below is what the Amazon book description for "Pages of History", recommended by SarahW says:

 

 

 

 

 

"Perfect for family story time or individual study, Pages of History transports the reader through the timeline of the world-providing a view of God's work in every age.

 

From a mysterious safe in a dusty library comes the gateway to a journey through history. What James and Lance thought would be a boring school project is astonishingly transformed into an adventure that will forever change their lives.

In this exciting first volume, Secrets of the Ancients, James and Lance travel from Creation through the Reformation. Their adventures in history will captivate readers young and old.

 

Unapologetic Christian worldview

 

Engaging approach to classical teaching

 

Covers 96 major events-all of the first three series in the Veritas Press History-and thousands of years of history in the format of a compelling story.

 

Hard cover, 448 pages"

 

 

It appears radically different than what Loewen is suggesting, and not different just because of "sociologist" versus "historian" distinction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Radially different, yes, but also kind of similar to SOTW-a story, narrative format. IMO, that is a great approach for grammar-stage children who seem to respond so enthusiastically to stories. But for logic and certainly rhetoric-stage students, TWTM and Loewen would both have the teacher of history moving toward a more primary source-oriented program. I am SO thrilled that Loewen has written a more "how to" book. I have struggled with implementing TWTM's approach, partly because we don't spend as much time on history as she recommends. What I need is hand-holding in finding sources, perhaps ideas for historical figures or events that provide a good "in" for this approach. My seventh grader needs to move beyond our current "modified grammar stage" approach.

 

Then again, what my 10th grader got in AP World History, in school, was IMO a pretty fact-oriented, analysis-poor approach, so we homeschoolers are truly the trailblazers here!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both to fix the nonworking link in my previous post on this and to give a sense of the difference between the books here is more on Boyer's American History: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

 

 

Fixed link:

 

http://www.amazon.com/American-History-Short-Introduction-Introductions/dp/019538914X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370187362&sr=1-1&keywords=Paul+S.+Boyer+American+History+Short

 

Amazon's book description:

 

 

"In a miracle of concision, Paul S. Boyer provides a wide-ranging and authoritative history of America, capturing in a compact space the full story of our nation. Ranging from the earliest Native American settlers to the presidency of Barack Obama, this Very Short Introduction offers an illuminating account of politics, diplomacy, and war as well as the full spectrum of social, cultural, and scientific developments that shaped our country.

 

Here is a masterful picture of America's achievements and failures, large-scale socio-historical forces, and pivotal events. Boyer sheds light on the colonial era, the Revolution and the birth of the new nation; slavery and the Civil War; Reconstruction and the Gilded Age; the Progressive era, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression; the two world wars and the Cold War that followed; right up to the tragedy of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the epoch-making election of Barack Obama. Certain broad trends shape much of the narrative--immigration, urbanization, slavery, continental expansion, the global projection of U.S. power, the centrality of religion, the progression from an agrarian to an industrial to a post-industrial economic order. Yet in underscoring such large themes, Boyer also highlights the diversity of the American experience, the importance of individual actors, and the crucial role of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class in shaping the contours of specific groups within the nation's larger tapestry. And along the way, he touches upon the cultural milestones of American history, from Tom Paine's The Crisis to Allen Ginsberg's Howl.

 

American History: A Very Short Introduction is a panoramic history of the United States, one that covers virtually every topic of importance--and yet can be read in a single day."

 

 

"

 

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (September 13, 2012)

 

"

 

About the Author

 

 

"Paul S. Boyer was Merle Curti Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A leading authority on American history, his writings span the social origins of the Salem witchcraft outbreak to the cultural impact of the atomic bomb and the political implications of Bible prophecy belief in contemporary America. A history textbook author and editor of reference works, including The Oxford Companion to United States History, he published in many general-interest periodicals. He also appeared on PBS, BBC, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel, and lectured at some 100 colleges and universities in the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Switzerland."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Radially different, yes, but also kind of similar to SOTW-a story, narrative format. IMO, that is a great approach for grammar-stage children who seem to respond so enthusiastically to stories. But for logic and certainly rhetoric-stage students, TWTM and Loewen would both have the teacher of history moving toward a more primary source-oriented program. I am SO thrilled that Loewen has written a more "how to" book. I have struggled with implementing TWTM's approach, partly because we don't spend as much time on history as she recommends. What I need is hand-holding in finding sources, perhaps ideas for historical figures or events that provide a good "in" for this approach. My seventh grader needs to move beyond our current "modified grammar stage" approach.

 

Then again, what my 10th grader got in AP World History, in school, was IMO a pretty fact-oriented, analysis-poor approach, so we homeschoolers are truly the trailblazers here!

 

 

 

We liked SOTW very very very much. Definitely a favorite curriculum.

 

But we also are past that stage now. And even at that stage, did better with special projects being more depth research into an area--at a level that fit the age, rather than the sorts of things in the activities books. Possibly for that stage this other thing recommended by SarahW would turn out better than SOTW, but for us SOTW was superb, very much the right thing at the right time. And while I think SOTW fits a Christian worldview, it does not seem heavyhandedly so. I think for us something that has that as its focus would not be a particularly good fit, though we have not avoided some materials that have that such as the Draw Through History (I may have title wrong) series which, for example, puts cavemen and dinosaurs in the same picture. But we did discuss that there is no evidence that suggests that that would have been so, and that on the contrary archaeological evidence suggests a huge gap between those eras.

 

 

 

What this other Loewen book does is not to tell one to study a particular historical figure or event, but rather gives ideas for how to decide for oneself what to do more focus on, and how to then structure what one decides to delve into further. In fact, he refuses to give his own list of what he would cover, instead wanting to push others to make their own lists.

 

 

Along with ideas for what to use, in addition to the short less costly general book, he also specifically mentions Hakim's books as readable, and that it would be a good idea for middle and upper school history classrooms to have a college textbook available, with 2 suggestions given for ones that I guess he finds good and often available used at decent prices.

 

He is mainly dealing with US History, but I think the ideas can be extrapolated to other country's history or to World History.

 

I am still trying to get my WTM back to compare it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Below is what the Amazon book description for "Pages of History", recommended by SarahW says:

 

 

 

 

 

"Perfect for family story time or individual study, Pages of History transports the reader through the timeline of the world-providing a view of God's work in every age.

 

From a mysterious safe in a dusty library comes the gateway to a journey through history. What James and Lance thought would be a boring school project is astonishingly transformed into an adventure that will forever change their lives.

In this exciting first volume, Secrets of the Ancients, James and Lance travel from Creation through the Reformation. Their adventures in history will captivate readers young and old.

 

Unapologetic Christian worldview

 

Engaging approach to classical teaching

 

Covers 96 major events-all of the first three series in the Veritas Press History-and thousands of years of history in the format of a compelling story.

 

Hard cover, 448 pages"

 

 

It appears radically different than what Loewen is suggesting, and not different just because of "sociologist" versus "historian" distinction.

 

 

Oh no, sorry, that's not what I was thinking of at all. I didn't realize there was more than one series with the same name.

 

I meant this series from OUP: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195137477?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0195137477&linkCode=xm2&tag=histcultciv-20

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen - the critique of Loewen that he is a sociologist, not a historian, is, imo, spot on.

 

Could you clarify what you mean by that?

 

I think when I saw what you suggested [ETA though I now see I wrongly believed that to be what you suggested, and what you actually meant is the sort of thing I was looking for] that I probably wrongly jumped to a conclusion that the issue is one of outlook--religious versus secular, or conservative versus liberal--but maybe that is not what you meant at all.

 

So, I apologize for jumping to my conclusion without asking for clarification, and would appreciate clarification.

 

Which isn't to say that he isn't helpful. He is. But I wouldn't worry too much about fulfilling his ideas about teaching history exactly. ...

 

 

 

What would fulfilling his ideas exactly mean?

 

I am trying to get ideas from him to use to make our history studies better. Where something seems like a good idea, I am trying to adopt it.

 

And, in answer to your question, the level right now that I an specifically working with is advanced 6th grade, and onward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could you clarify what you mean by that?

 

I think when I saw what you suggested [ETA though I now see I wrongly believed that to be what you suggested, and what you actually meant is the sort of thing I was looking for] that I probably wrongly jumped to a conclusion that the issue is one of outlook--religious versus secular, or conservative versus liberal--but maybe that is not what you meant at all.

 

So, I apologize for jumping to my conclusion without asking for clarification, and would appreciate clarification.

 

 

 

 

What would fulfilling his ideas exactly mean?

 

I am trying to get ideas from him to use to make our history studies better. Where something seems like a good idea, I am trying to adopt it.

 

And, in answer to your question, the level right now that I an specifically working with is advanced 6th grade, and onward.

 

 

I've only read the Lies book, and not the Teaching book, so that's my general impression from that.

 

For example - in Lies when he talks about the discovery of America he spends good time talking about the theory that African explorers landed in S. America. His implied belief in the authenticity of this theory is a bit generous, I think. He does go on to point out that the US History books take time to mention the Viking explorations, perhaps because the Vikings were white. Yes, but there is actually good archaeological evidence for the Vikings in Newfoundland. Though his point is valid when he points out that some history books even give space to St. Brendan. His overall interest is in why the history books give space to one non-essential theory and not another, and what impact that selective presentation has on students of certain ethnicities. These are sociological questions, not historical questions (historians of American history spend about zero time thinking about either the Vikings or possible Phoenicians/Irish/Africans/Chinese/etc. and that's not because of race).

 

I think his work is interesting, because he is a sociologist he brings a different angle on things. But some of the things that he focuses on in Lies are not necessarily the most important things to study in a history course. But his approach - asking "Is this just the side that the author thinks we want to hear?" is something that can be broadly applied.

 

Focusing on a couple dozen historical events is fine, I think, as long as the major pivotal events aren't skipped (Manifest Destiny should be mentioned as least in passing, for example). You need to have a general understanding of what led up to an event before being able to understand the details and primary sources. But after learning the details and primary sources, when the student reads a general condensed overview they will be able to pick out B.S. a lot easier (how can the author say that people then thought y if I know that before that they were already thinking x?). So detailed and overview build on each other.

 

But the sociological implications should be remembered, even when reading a selection of primary sources (which primary sources? why?). But that counts for a lot of disciplines, not just history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...