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Help please! History taught chronologically is not developmentally sequenced


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Right, so a teacher just told me that teaching history chronologically is not developmentally sequenced. That because young children are egocentric they cannot make connections with ancient cultures. Also that teaching history as a narrative is ineffective - they actually said that this would be teaching narrative, not history.

 

Now that my eye twitching has stopped... help me understand please? I gather this is a Piaget-ian way of understanding child development and delivering curriculum.

Which also explains our national curriculum history scope and sequence (which I will not follow).

 

K/1 are about family/community. 2-6 are all Australian history. 7th is ancients. 8th is everything from 650-1750. 9th 1750-1918, 10th 1918 to now with a heavy Australian emphasis.

 

Now I don't actually care how people teach history, but she's trying to bamboozle me with eduspeak and I thought it would make for interesting conversation here!

Thanks!

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Right, so a teacher just told me that teaching history chronologically is not developmentally sequenced. That because young children are egocentric they cannot make connections with ancient cultures. Also that teaching history as a narrative is ineffective - they actually said that this would be teaching narrative, not history.

 

Now that my eye twitching has stopped... help me understand please? I gather this is a Piaget-ian way of understanding child development and delivering curriculum.

Which also explains our national curriculum history scope and sequence (which I will not follow).

 

K/1 are about family/community. 2-6 are all Australian history. 7th is ancients. 8th is everything from 650-1750. 9th 1750-1918, 10th 1918 to now with a heavy Australian emphasis.

 

Now I don't actually care how people teach history, but she's trying to bamboozle me with eduspeak and I thought it would make for interesting conversation here!

Thanks!

 

This is one of the reasons that Rea Berg, owner of Beautiful Feet Books, begins with American history. It makes sense to me.

 

Not sure about the narrative thing, though.

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Young children are egocentric.  You see it develop from infancy through about age 4 or 5, as they start seeing connections to their outside world.  Young babies expect needs and wants to be gratified immediately, toddlers play side by side instead of together...even young elementary has trouble playing with more than one child at a time unless it is a game where each person has a designated role.  Before age 5 or 6, they also have trouble with the concept of time.  Anything except 'yesterday, today, tomorrow' is too abstract to follow.  They need definite charts, like links to take down to count to a specific event, or a relation of past events to sequence (like Dora The Explorer).

 

That's why we do geography/cultures leading up to history study.  With my youngest we did a monthly country focus when he was 4-5, learning about music, stories, food, etc. from different places around the world.  We started with him: who he was, who is in his family, his house address, who his neighbors were in the neighborhood, what state he lived in, what country, what continent, what planet..layering activities to create an easy to remember total piece of work.  We supplemented with books like Zoom and Looking Down and Where I Live.  Then we studied other cultures.
By the time we did start Ancient History, he not only had a good idea of the world now, but he also understood calendars, number lines, and negative numbers.  I still don't expect him to take away a lot when it comes to looking at the big picture, but the exposure is good.  To him, it's still a collection of stories.  Of course, it would be that way no matter what time period he was exposed to.  If he has a hard time understanding how far back 10,000 B.C.E. is, then he will have a hard time understanding 100 years ago and the progress made since.  Right now his de facto for anything old is "from the 1980s".

 

I like the way Charlotte Mason does both more immediate history (country) and longer timeline history (world).  It makes sense.  I think our way to go about that will be to continue doing field trips to see things that happened more recently, but keep history class focused on the longer world timeline.

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Right, so a teacher just told me that teaching history chronologically is not developmentally sequenced. That because young children are egocentric they cannot make connections with ancient cultures. 

 

Tell this to all the children who enjoy visiting medieval castles, watch tournament reenactments, collect wooden replicas of swords, love suits of armor, like stories about life in castles and battles. Or to the ones who are fascinated with pyramids and Egypt.

 

I don't buy it.

 

And 

 

 

Also that teaching history as a narrative is ineffective - they actually said that this would be teaching narrative, not history.

 

Somebody tell that to Herodotus.

This is complete nonsense. The best history teachings come from narrative.

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Ugh, yes, this.  I still like the Hansel and Gretel analogy for how it winds up working.

 

Right, so a teacher just told me that teaching history chronologically is not developmentally sequenced. That because young children are egocentric they cannot make connections with ancient cultures. Also that teaching history as a narrative is ineffective - they actually said that this would be teaching narrative, not history.

Now that my eye twitching has stopped... help me understand please? I gather this is a Piaget-ian way of understanding child development and delivering curriculum.
Which also explains our national curriculum history scope and sequence (which I will not follow).
 

 

I agree with regentrude that children can be enchanted by pyramids or castles or living history or whatever else, so whether or not it's "developmentally appropriate" it seems to work out just fine.

 

The other thing I would question is...let us suppose that children are egocentric and "cannot" connect with other cultures.  Should we enable that, or encourage them to grow past it?  There's also the argument that teaching history from that egocentric viewpoint encourages the egocentrism to continue to be the lens through which they view all history.  Everything that happened in the past is viewed only as it relates to themselves.  Whereas if history is taught chronologically, they develop a better sense that they have a place in a story that has been unfolding for millenia, not that they are the centre of time.

 

(Plus, let's face it.  Small children can connect with whatever they want precisely *because* they can be egocentric--they're quite capable of making pyramids or castles all about them. LOL)

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Don't you just love these people, bless their hearts, who have all this time on their hands to come up with grand theories about education or child-rearing, because they have no real, live children living and learning in their own homes? ;)

 

 

(And I say this, having BEEN one of those people before marriage and children!  :laugh: )

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When I was four, I wanted to become a pirate. When I was 6, I refined my choice of profession to being a French buccaneer in the king's employment. Consequently, I learned a ton about French history and naval warfare as a fairly young child because this was my burning interest. For sheer egocentric reasons.

 

In hindsight, it was a perfect example for me how interest led learning leads to phenomenal results.

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The thing about theories is that if there are too many examples which don't fit, it tends to suggest the theory is bollocks.

 

Lots of kids love cronological history, connect with it, and get a lot out of it. 

 

Now, I think that kids younger than about 8 are more limited in how they understand it, but even then they can love the story.

 

And lots of historians think of history as being a kind of narrative.  I was reading about Our Island Story at one point, and I was struck by how many people (English people) who became historians as a career said their love of history started with reading OIS - it really put a fire in them.

 

Even for a university student, I think thematic teaching of history is secondary to narrative approaches.

Edited by Bluegoat
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People have taught history from narrative for millennia.  Literally millennia.  Eventually it makes sense to start synthesizing information from various narratives and doing comparison studies, etc. - but the actual learning of the actual history (that is, what happened to whom and why it is important and what morals/lessons it teaches us) is done very well through narrative for many children (and adults!).

 

And regentrude is right - the reason kids love those stupid Rick Riordan books isn't because ancient cultures *aren't* interesting to them!  They eat those things right up.

 

Furthermore, what are bible stories but a study of (mythological, but still) history?  

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What is "a connection with ancient history"?

 

Whatever it is, I don't see why a kid would have a harder, or an easier, time making one than making one with, say, what happens at the post office or police station, a la social studies. Or Thomas Jefferson and the gang a la US History first.

 

It's all balogna.

 

Kids "make connections" with dinosaurs, which they'll never see. With wizards and mermaids, which don't even exist, for that matter!

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Right, so a teacher just told me that teaching history chronologically is not developmentally sequenced. That because young children are egocentric they cannot make connections with ancient cultures. Also that teaching history as a narrative is ineffective - they actually said that this would be teaching narrative, not history.

 

Now that my eye twitching has stopped... help me understand please? I gather this is a Piaget-ian way of understanding child development and delivering curriculum.

Which also explains our national curriculum history scope and sequence (which I will not follow).

 

K/1 are about family/community. 2-6 are all Australian history. 7th is ancients. 8th is everything from 650-1750. 9th 1750-1918, 10th 1918 to now with a heavy Australian emphasis.

 

Now I don't actually care how people teach history, but she's trying to bamboozle me with eduspeak and I thought it would make for interesting conversation here!

Thanks!

 

The above seems like it would have to cram an awful lot into the latter years.  If I had it to do over, I would have done the WTM the way we did it, only including a little U.S. (our country) history alongside it every year for their entire hs'ing years.  Plus, a little of world governments to go along with that, versus just our own U.S. government for one year in whatever grade that was (and NO other governments taught way back in my public school years)

 

But, yeah, all my kids loved the ancients.  And the whole progression, which also fit right in with our Bible studies.  .  

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When I was four, I wanted to become a pirate. When I was 6, I refined my choice of profession to being a French buccaneer in the king's employment. Consequently, I learned a ton about French history and naval warfare as a fairly young child because this was my burning interest. For sheer egocentric reasons.

 

In hindsight, it was a perfect example for me how interest led learning leads to phenomenal results.

 

Now I'll know: any day now, I'll expect to hear of an amazing piratical vehicle with assorted physics-based technology, and I'll know exactly *who* invented it ...  :laugh:   

 

 

Words fail me at that absolutely wonderful window into your past, regentrude! Absolutely love it, and so appreciate you for sharing it. :)  Closest I can come to buccaneer gear to join you in your pirate adventures, lol --->   :hat:

Edited by Lori D.
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As far as I can tell, make connections means some sort of measurable output...

Like learn about Egypt, devise a system of taxation in kind that allows you to have giant tombs built in your honor?

 

 

Makes sense.

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LoriD, you were probably on the forum years ago when everyone had pirate names. Remember that? As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure Dirty Ethel Reckham is still using hers! So now we have a legitimate reason to hand one over to regentrude... lol

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What is "a connection with ancient history"?

 

Whatever it is, I don't see why a kid would have a harder, or an easier, time making one than making one with, say, what happens at the post office or police station, a la social studies. Or Thomas Jefferson and the gang a la US History first.

 

It's all balogna.

 

Kids "make connections" with dinosaurs, which they'll never see. With wizards and mermaids, which don't even exist, for that matter!

 

Brilliant!  

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As far as I can tell, make connections means some sort of measurable output...

 

Dear me!  The schools have obviously never realised you can make a chicken mummy!  LOL

Or a pyramid out of sugar cubes.  Or a greek temple out of toilet paper roll tubes.  Or plaster of paris frescoes.  Or mosaics.  Or Greek ships carved of ice cream.  Or a castle out of cardboard boxes.  Or catapults out of wood, elastics, and miniature marshmallows.  Or a colouring page of historical costume.  Or, or, or, or, or....

 

How *bored* they must be in their view of history.  Dull as ditchwater!   Especially with no narrative.  No wonder they think kids won't like it and can't do it.

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I don't think it's unreasonable to spend time in the early years formally teaching about your child's community... but I think it's plenty reasonable to divorce "social studies" and "geography" from "history" - and even to teach world and national history concurrently.

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I don't think it's unreasonable to spend time in the early years formally teaching about your child's community... but I think it's plenty reasonable to divorce "social studies" and "geography" from "history" - and even to teach world and national history concurrently.

 

I couldn't come up with anything in kindergarten/G1/G2 that I could imagine formally teaching about our community.  What do most people teach?  I couldn't figure it out! 

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I couldn't come up with anything in kindergarten/G1/G2 that I could imagine formally teaching about our community.  What do most people teach?  I couldn't figure it out! 

 

Conceptually, it means teaching about community helpers and institutions that students may interact with, police, firefighters, mailmen.  Very little time is dedicated to social studies in public schools any more so these topics allow teachers to add special day activities and call it "good". 

 

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So agreed with others that she should tell that to the kids who are mad for Percy Jackson because they adore Greek mythology now. Or the kids who are obsessed with knights and castles.

 

One point I didn't see here is that part of the reason to do history chronologically in the early grades is to get those classical pegs in for later. So, you're not expecting a child to "connect with" a deeper understanding of complex topics. You're really just laying a foundation of names, ideas, places, events, etc. Narrative. So, yeah, you're teaching the narrative. Exactly. That's why Story of the World is told focused so much on narrative. The idea is that then when kids get older, they have those names and places and so forth in their heads already and can build on that to get to the "real" history.

 

I think this take on education comes from the current idea that children simply don't need instruction in facts because they can always go look them up. That "critical thinking" skills are more important. But the reality is that if you throw a smart 15 yo into trying to analyze the Crusades or WWII or something, if they don't have the facts at hand, then having to dig through the mountain of information is too difficult for them to do anything meaningful with until they've gotten a handle on those facts. The basics matter. Including to learn. And that's not to say that kids have to do a pile of memorizing (though some people would argue they should, while they're little sponges... I'm not of that thinking, but it's certainly one take), but learning the narrative is a positive thing for later.

 

Which is not to say that *also* learning about the world around them isn't a good idea. They should. But these can be parallel things. One of my issues with the whole "history cycle" thing in general is that I think you absolutely need to do at least a year of regional and national history in elementary school.

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Furthermore, part of critical thinking, imo, is having a level of background knowledge about specific events (or biological phenomena, or physical properties of matter, or elements of mythology) that allows you to make the connections between those events and either other past events or probable future events or whatever.

 

How can you think critically about something of which you are ignorant?  How can you assess the value of [x] social policy without having some knowledge about what happened in a previous time when [x] policy was implemented, or how similar groups of people interacted in the past?

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I couldn't come up with anything in kindergarten/G1/G2 that I could imagine formally teaching about our community. What do most people teach? I couldn't figure it out!

I had the same "dilemma ". I had one woman tell me years ago that I was doing my son a disservice by not teaching him about community helpers. I turned to Ds and said, "did you know that the police officer is your friend?" He assured me that he did. I told her "done!" (He also knew about the fire fighter, the postal worker, the teachers etc. ).

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I couldn't come up with anything in kindergarten/G1/G2 that I could imagine formally teaching about our community.  What do most people teach?  I couldn't figure it out! 

 

For k-2? You're teaching about workers in the community - which usually means cops and firefighters, but can also mean doctors, the dentist, the park workers, the librarians, the people who run various ethnic stores and restaurants.... (And you're teaching polite forms of address. I have had to tell several children, not just my girls, that one does not greet a police officer with "Hey, cop!")

 

You're teaching about holidays - not just yours, but those celebrated by other people in your community.

 

You're teaching very simple map-reading skills, and tying it in to your own neighborhood.

 

You're definitely teaching community rules like "look before you cross the street" and "don't drop your garbage on the ground" and "you have to ask both the person and the dog before you start patting it on the head" and "this is how you take the bus, look out for our stop!"

 

You might tie in some basic nature study in your community - this doesn't have to be too fancy. My girls knew how to identify mint, sorrel, and mulberries (yum!) and also nightshade (NEVER EVER EAT A BERRY UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR SURE IT IS SAFE!)

 

That sort of thing. A good deal of it is the sort of thing that comes up naturally for that age group.

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For k-2? You're teaching about workers in the community - which usually means cops and firefighters, but can also mean doctors, the dentist, the park workers, the librarians, the people who run various ethnic stores and restaurants.... (And you're teaching polite forms of address. I have had to tell several children, not just my girls, that one does not greet a police officer with "Hey, cop!")

 

You're teaching about holidays - not just yours, but those celebrated by other people in your community.

 

You're teaching very simple map-reading skills, and tying it in to your own neighborhood.

 

You're definitely teaching community rules like "look before you cross the street" and "don't drop your garbage on the ground" and "you have to ask both the person and the dog before you start patting it on the head" and "this is how you take the bus, look out for our stop!"

 

You might tie in some basic nature study in your community - this doesn't have to be too fancy. My girls knew how to identify mint, sorrel, and mulberries (yum!) and also nightshade (NEVER EVER EAT A BERRY UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR SURE IT IS SAFE!)

 

That sort of thing. A good deal of it is the sort of thing that comes up naturally for that age group.

In my house that is called parenting. We have plenty of time and brain cells left for learning history.

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That sort of thing. A good deal of it is the sort of thing that comes up naturally for that age group.

Right, hence my confusion. That's all daily conversation-type stuff. So "formal" teaching of it seemed kind of pointless.

 

Although... We've clearly epically failed on polite address, they still won't introduce themselves properly. <Sigh....> But I don't know that formally teaching it would have made a huge difference.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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Warning:  This is more of a rant than I originally intended.

 

Early social studies in most schools is a complete joke.  It checks boxes and teaches absolutely nothing new.  Beyond developmentally inappropriate, it is redundant and boring (for all but the most neglected students). Holidays? Community Helpers?  Yawn

 

It gets slightly better in the "let's repeat the story of how our own country was founded over and over - oh, and we will toss in other cultures and their history at various periods of time without regard for connections" years, but not much.

 

Then, just when the kids finally get to learn something new and interesting, they are forced to rush through thousands of years worth of history, anthropology, archaeology, government, sociology, and geography all at once  - while staying focused on what is "going to be on the test."  Toss in brains working hard to process advanced Trig and hormones, and the time for deep consideration drops exponentially.  

 

I don't care if my kids ever memorize a single date, but I do care if they can explain why and how bronze impacted warfare and what happened next.  I want them to know why the printing press was important for the reformation. I care whether they understand the reasons behind why Marie Antoinette was so detested, and whether they can envision ways to avoid the French Revolution.  I care whether they can think about a new law in Kenya on today's news, and extrapolate how it will affect both the Kenyan population, and the world. 

 

Social Studies isn't about getting questions right on tests.  It is about understanding how our world works.  There is no way to get to the point of making connections unless kids are allowed access to information, and given time to process it on their own.

 

 

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I love you guys, seriously.

I felt like I was going crazy. I don't have a problem with teaching history any way whatsoever really, I had just never heard of it being a problem to teach chronologically... I had assumed that the connections or learning outcomes were more about the presentation of the material (appropriately chosen by the instructor to meet the student's needs) than the content.

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I have never felt tied to anyone else's history plans. I just don't believe there is only one way to do it right. One could also make a case that ignoring a kids passion for castles and knights because you have to study ancients first is also silly. I mean, if a first grader is passionate about castles why make him study pyramids? It's first grade!

 

I just did what I wanted to for elementary school. For us that was a year or two of world geography and a slow meander through early American history. Then we started going chronologically at upper elementary/middle school. Still time to do two sweeps through history and no one is crying that they didn't mummify a chicken when they were 6.

 

Seriously I think people should calm down about K-4 history, lol...Just have some fun with the little ones.

Edited by CaliforniaDreaming
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While I see the logic of both ways and teaching and don't think theres one right or wrong way to teach history.  I will say that I know that when I tried teaching American history first, my child had no interest in it.  It might have just been the age, or the way I taught it.

 

The next year he showed an interest in mummies, and I decided to jump on that interest and start with ancient times.  It got him engaged and paying attention.  And honestly I sort of wanted to start there anyways.  It synced well with what I wanted to teach him from the Bible.

 

 

I am not sure what she means by "this would be teaching narrative, not history"   and am curious what others have to say about that.

 

Personally, the ideas I hope my son gets from our history lessons is a context of the broader narrative of history--that there were civilizations that came and went and interacted with other civilizations, people who believed things differently than we do now and people who influenced what we do today, that various events sparked various other events, and that history is long, deep, and wide.   The details aren't as important to me as that general understanding.  If thats what she means by teaching "narrative," well, then I'm all for it.  But I'm not sure that's what she means.

Edited by goldenecho
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So agreed with others that she should tell that to the kids who are mad for Percy Jackson because they adore Greek mythology now. Or the kids who are obsessed with knights and castles.

 

One point I didn't see here is that part of the reason to do history chronologically in the early grades is to get those classical pegs in for later. So, you're not expecting a child to "connect with" a deeper understanding of complex topics. You're really just laying a foundation of names, ideas, places, events, etc. Narrative. So, yeah, you're teaching the narrative. Exactly. That's why Story of the World is told focused so much on narrative. The idea is that then when kids get older, they have those names and places and so forth in their heads already and can build on that to get to the "real" history.

 

I think this take on education comes from the current idea that children simply don't need instruction in facts because they can always go look them up. That "critical thinking" skills are more important. But the reality is that if you throw a smart 15 yo into trying to analyze the Crusades or WWII or something, if they don't have the facts at hand, then having to dig through the mountain of information is too difficult for them to do anything meaningful with until they've gotten a handle on those facts. The basics matter. Including to learn. And that's not to say that kids have to do a pile of memorizing (though some people would argue they should, while they're little sponges... I'm not of that thinking, but it's certainly one take), but learning the narrative is a positive thing for later.

 

Which is not to say that *also* learning about the world around them isn't a good idea. They should. But these can be parallel things. One of my issues with the whole "history cycle" thing in general is that I think you absolutely need to do at least a year of regional and national history in elementary school.

 

 

Yes, exactly--they can be parallel.  For example, this year we are studying ancient history...but that didn't stop me from teaching my son about US Presidential elections, what a president is, reading a book about presidents in the past and and teaching a little bit about the different branches of government.  And when we got to ancient Greece we compared how their democracy worked with how our government worked, and then talked about how that was different than how things were in Egypt, where the Pharaohs ruled. 

 

I do agree that exposing kids to some American history in Elementary school is a good idea.  I don't think it need to be a solid, exclusive full year though.    I think I can teach  those thing alongside whatever we're teaching  chronologically in world history.  Even when we get to American history we're not going to stop talking about what was happening other places in the world during that timeframe.  I am definately going to take some time to add in more local, regional history too, though. 

 

 

Edited by goldenecho
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Warning:  This is more of a rant than I originally intended.

 

Early social studies in most schools is a complete joke.  It checks boxes and teaches absolutely nothing new.  Beyond developmentally inappropriate, it is redundant and boring (for all but the most neglected students). Holidays? Community Helpers?  Yawn

 

It gets slightly better in the "let's repeat the story of how our own country was founded over and over - oh, and we will toss in other cultures and their history at various periods of time without regard for connections" years, but not much.

 

Then, just when the kids finally get to learn something new and interesting, they are forced to rush through thousands of years worth of history, anthropology, archaeology, government, sociology, and geography all at once  - while staying focused on what is "going to be on the test."  Toss in brains working hard to process advanced Trig and hormones, and the time for deep consideration drops exponentially.  

 

I don't care if my kids ever memorize a single date, but I do care if they can explain why and how bronze impacted warfare and what happened next.  I want them to know why the printing press was important for the reformation. I care whether they understand the reasons behind why Marie Antoinette was so detested, and whether they can envision ways to avoid the French Revolution.  I care whether they can think about a new law in Kenya on today's news, and extrapolate how it will affect both the Kenyan population, and the world. 

 

Social Studies isn't about getting questions right on tests.  It is about understanding how our world works.  There is no way to get to the point of making connections unless kids are allowed access to information, and given time to process it on their own.

 

May I quote this?  (I'm not sure where yet...maybe on my blog or another forum, but I just have a premonition that I'm going to want to say exactly what you said here at some point in time in the future.  I'll be sure to credit you.).

Edited by goldenecho
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I don't think that history has to be taught chronologically.  I do think at some point it is helpful to teach it that way though - even if it is later on - because I do see the value in having a overview of time which gives you a general mental timeline of history.  With one child I did the four year cycle 3x through ala WTM.  With another child with different needs and learning style, I didn't do it to that degree. 

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I love that I came to this discussion 12 hours after it started and the hive has already been so busy that there's very little left for me to say, except to add to the beautiful and reasonable chorus. Which I will now proceed to do, because like most of you, I feel quite strongly about this!

 

Children do go through developmental stages, but they also love wonderful stories. My most shining memories of school are of listening to a teacher read aloud to us-- long after we were able to read to ourselves. When my young children beg for one more chapter of SOTW, I read it. They also love hearing stories about me when I was little, and their father and grandparents and each other and aunts and uncles and so forth...this begins to give them a sense of place and meaning in the world, just as world history does, and one need not be to the exclusion of the other.

 

I do not see the "spark" there of connection, passion, interest when they are touring the fire station or learning about what happens at the local bank and post office. They do like voting with me, and observing the various flags we see-- trying to make sense of the world around them-- but if I were a teacher wanting to get a class full of rowdy little ones to pay attention and sit still and learn, I would much rather open a good story-- a good, true story-- than anything else. If by "narrative is ineffective," that teacher means that the majority of children find it enjoyable and remember it years later, I guess I'd agree. It is an absolutely ineffective way to bore kids, make them dislike school and feel like it is a waste of time, and to foment distracted, I'd-rather-be-elsewhere behavior. Is early grade social studies not a rather stark example of learning about Life rather than actually living it?

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I don't understand the "teach history, not narrative" pov. To me anyway, history IS narrative.

 

If I taught first grade= neighborhood, 2nd grade = city government, 3rd and 4th grade = state and state government, 5th grade america and american government, when would we learn about the rest of the world? from story books randomly selected throughout those years? leaving all sense of chronology?

 

The schools I grew up in (same as those DS would be in if we chose public school) teach "social studies/history" as above mentioned. I never learned "world history" except for whatever I chose to study on my own and in college. I have a very murky sense of historical events as they occurred chronologically. And having that kind of gap did make things difficult for me when it came to understanding or gaining more knowledge of those events. 

 

I teach ancient history. Since DS lives in a community, he knows about it. He asks questions and I give him unsolicited lessons on other things. He probably knows more about how community works at his age than I knew in high school. We go to the fire station's annual open house. We go to the library. We go to the doctor. We talk about the needy in our community and do what we can to help. We clean up litter. We help out our neighbors. He learned a little bit about the national government this year (TBH I was trying to shield him from the electoral process this year as much as I could) but he did get a couple of lessons in "separation of powers." I don't carve out any time in our school schedule for the above.

 

If you're alive, you are [need to be] learning something. That's our motto. Or we should make it so!

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A friend of mine used to refer to the social studies in early elementary as "for children who have never been outside." I think that's a lot of what we're talking about here. I do think schools need to teach it. Some children have parents who aren't equipped because of finances, mental illnesses, or other limitations to really do a thorough introduction to the world around them. But for kids who are homeschooled, who inevitably have parents who are bent on introducing the world, it probably does seem pretty silly.

 

I was thinking about the history vs. narrative thing. I think history for children is narrative. History at the higher levels absolutely can be narrative as well, but it's messy. And a lot of it is about constructing your own sense of narrative after hearing varied perspectives, including primary sources. And that's the main thing about it. So I think you could say that for younger students you're teaching a narrative. For older students, it's more about helping them learn to construct a narrative. And those are really different skills. I think because we're all more aware that history is not a single narrative, we've gotten skittish about teaching it to younger students. And I've even seen a lot of homeschoolers - especially liberal types (and I say this as a liberal type who has overthought history at times) - get into a headspace where they're overthinking it so much that it's crippling and they don't end up doing anything. Like, spending a year being so worried about how you're presenting the Crusades or the early Colonial period to 7 yos that you don't actually end up doing it. And I think that stems from being afraid of constructing the wrong narrative or constructing the narrative for them. Except you have to construct the narrative for them when they're that age. And that doesn't mean that trying to get it right is bad. But more that the nuances are mostly going to come later.

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Yes, exactly--they can be parallel.  For example, this year we are studying ancient history...but that didn't stop me from teaching my son about US Presidential elections, what a president is, reading a book about presidents in the past and and teaching a little bit about the different branches of government.  And when we got to ancient Greece we compared how their democracy worked with how our government worked, and then talked about how that was different than how things were in Egypt, where the Pharaohs ruled. 

 

I do agree that exposing kids to some American history in Elementary school is a good idea.  I don't think it need to be a solid, exclusive full year though.    I think I can teach  those thing alongside whatever we're teaching  chronologically in world history.  Even when we get to American history we're not going to stop talking about what was happening other places in the world during that timeframe.  I am definately going to take some time to add in more local, regional history too, though. 

 

I agree it doesn't have to be exclusive and can be interwoven. I guess really my thought was that most of the programs that do world history - like SOTW - don't do anywhere near enough US history for my thinking.

 

I actually don't even think it has to be chronological, though I see some key benefits to that. But jumping around won't kill kids either - as long as there's a sense of narrative within the jumping around. As in, a month on the Greeks, a month on the Civil War, a month on the middle ages... it's fine if you can make it a story that kids get engaged with.

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In my homeschool, I don't really think much about what's "developmentally appropriate" for the average X-grader, I think about what works with my specific kids, and what my goals for them are.  (The result is that I have 2 who really dug into Ancients and Medieval through the grammar stage, and 2 who would prefer to talk about firefighting all. day. long.  My oldest was in ps through elementary.)

 

My biggest goal in teaching history has been to avoid having kids who give little to no thought about the existence of other places and cultures.  They've never been at risk for failing to learn what a police officer or librarian is.  They *have learned how different communities and different times valued and utilized laws and education (and many other things.)

 

One thing I've never heard from my now-highschoolers is "That's just the way it's always been, so it must be right." (Or any variations on that.)  They're well aware of how rapidly society evolves and how there's no perfect way of doing anything.  OR that Americans always know best!

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A friend of mine used to refer to the social studies in early elementary as "for children who have never been outside." I think that's a lot of what we're talking about here. I do think schools need to teach it. Some children have parents who aren't equipped because of finances, mental illnesses, or other limitations to really do a thorough introduction to the world around them. But for kids who are homeschooled, who inevitably have parents who are bent on introducing the world, it probably does seem pretty silly.

 

I was thinking about the history vs. narrative thing. I think history for children is narrative. History at the higher levels absolutely can be narrative as well, but it's messy. And a lot of it is about constructing your own sense of narrative after hearing varied perspectives, including primary sources. And that's the main thing about it. So I think you could say that for younger students you're teaching a narrative. For older students, it's more about helping them learn to construct a narrative. And those are really different skills. I think because we're all more aware that history is not a single narrative, we've gotten skittish about teaching it to younger students. And I've even seen a lot of homeschoolers - especially liberal types (and I say this as a liberal type who has overthought history at times) - get into a headspace where they're overthinking it so much that it's crippling and they don't end up doing anything. Like, spending a year being so worried about how you're presenting the Crusades or the early Colonial period to 7 yos that you don't actually end up doing it. And I think that stems from being afraid of constructing the wrong narrative or constructing the narrative for them. Except you have to construct the narrative for them when they're that age. And that doesn't mean that trying to get it right is bad. But more that the nuances are mostly going to come later.

 

To the bolded- I agree, and I'd expand to say that this frozen state is identical to the frozen state of the PS ideology the OP referred to. And I think it's the result of thinking that children become whatever they learn about.

 

...that kids adopt, lock-step, the views of their teachers. And teachers can be parents, teachers, books, or media.

 

So you'd better get that political slant just right when you talk about Columbus, or the Levant, or the Gauls OR ELSE! that kid will think wrong thinks forever....so might as well wait til you can tell them the real nitty gritty horror. [i think this is what that person meant by connections...they can't grasp the full scope of circumstances, actions and outcomes at a young age.] Likewise, a person who thinks Oh how can I extol the wisdom//political acumen displayed in the Declaration of independence without addressing the hypocrisy embodied in those Hemming's kids...so maybe I just won't, yet.

 

Luckily though, kids are human beans that will come to their own conclusions whether you like it or not. Best, IMO, then to expose them to as broad a range of bodies of knowledge as possible while they have the time to let it float around in their minds. By high school, they don't have that same freedom because their work is more detailed and the focus necessarily narrows.

 

I also agree about social studies. I strenuously object, however, to the person from the OP retrofitting the conclusions she was taught in teachy school with bunk acute  psychological statements about the nature of children's academic capacities.

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Some kids really don't need a story at all.

 

And just ignore it when one is present :laugh:

 

I have two polar opposite kids in this. One mentally gets nothing but the story. The other mentally extracts all the facts, immediately forgetting the story, from even the most interesting narrative.

 

Guess what? They both know essentially the same stuff. It's just that one thinks the story of the Constitutional Convention is basically the same as, say, Jason and the Argonaughts. He is of an age where this is A-OK (imo--and since I'm his teacher no one else's "o" comes into play :coolgleamA: :coolgleamA: :coolgleamA: ).

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Also that teaching history as a narrative is ineffective - they actually said that this would be teaching narrative, not history.

 

Thanks!

Ok, this doesn't even make sense. (I'm not talking about you, OP, but the person who originally said this). I can understand if she is talking about historical fiction, which has its place, definitely, but I wouldn't use it as a history book or anything. Historical narratives are non-fiction. If it wasn't for historical narratives I would still be among the masses who claim they hate history because their only exposure to history was in a textbook. And then in my early 20's I picked up Thomas Costain's "The Magnificent Century" and.... well, the rest is history (no pun intended) I read histories and biographies of the Plantagenets for years because of Costain. Well written historical narratives are gold. Edited by KrissiK
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To the bolded- I agree, and I'd expand to say that this frozen state is identical to the frozen state of the PS ideology the OP referred to. And I think it's the result of thinking that children become whatever they learn about.

 

...that kids adopt, lock-step, the views of their teachers. And teachers can be parents, teachers, books, or media.

 

So you'd better get that political slant just right when you talk about Columbus, or the Levant, or the Gauls OR ELSE! that kid will think wrong thinks forever....so might as well wait til you can tell them the real nitty gritty horror. [i think this is what that person meant by connections...they can't grasp the full scope of circumstances, actions and outcomes at a young age.] Likewise, a person who thinks Oh how can I extol the wisdom//political acumen displayed in the Declaration of independence without addressing the hypocrisy embodied in those Hemming's kids...so maybe I just won't, yet.

 

Luckily though, kids are human beans that will come to their own conclusions whether you like it or not. Best, IMO, then to expose them to as broad a range of bodies of knowledge as possible while they have the time to let it float around in their minds. By high school, they don't have that same freedom because their work is more detailed and the focus necessarily narrows.

 

I also agree about social studies. I strenuously object, however, to the person from the OP retrofitting the conclusions she was taught in teachy school with bunk acute  psychological statements about the nature of children's academic capacities.

 

This is so true. Maybe the issue isn't that the schoolteachers of the world (or, really, since this is taken out of their hands so often, the educational "experts") think that history is too complex, but rather that they're still stuck in a paradigm where history is all one narrative. Except, because it can never be anything but that fixed narrative, it must be the most politically correct, perfect narrative. And then that narrative is "developmentally inappropriate". Sigh. Such a wrongheaded way to go about it.

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What does she mean by "ineffective"?

 

When my 6yo was fascinated by Greek mythology and wanted to have long discussions about how the Greeks' religious beliefs were different than our family beliefs, I saw that as an effective connection to history.

 

When my 6 + 4 yo daughters were head over heels for Queen Elizabeth I, coloured pages and pages of pictures about her, dressed up to look like her, and celebrated her birthday, I saw that as an effective history connection. Ego-centric, yes... they liked her because she appealed to them. But now we are coming up to her in SOTW2 and they are thrilled. They see her as an old friend and they are interested to learn more about her context, family history, impact on the modern world.

 

I have a hard time seeing hiSTORY as unrelated to narrative. Sometimes the narrative we get is flawed, true. But it's supposed to be the story of what has happened in the past. And many children connect deeply with narrative. If I see that I've developed a narrative connection to history which inspires my kids to dig deeper when they encounter history topics in the future, I'll be satisfied that my early elementary children had an effective, developmentally appropriate exposure to history.

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Boy, this ranks right up there with the teacher who asked me how I taught writing (since my kids don't go to school) and I told her with copywork, dictation and narration.  She told me that was plagiarism.   :svengo:

 

Whatever...  

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Thanks so much everyone for your thoughts! It is truly a privilege to have a place like this to discuss. Margaret, I would be interested in reading that link.

I've bowed out of the original conversation, it's clear that we're speaking different languages and I don't have the inclination to translate eduspeak.

 

To clarify a couple of things -

We are talking about elementary here, grades 3/4 ish max.

 

I don't want to copy and paste much but the gist was how does teaching history chronologically engage with 'historical skills, understandings and concepts', how we 'apply that' and what type of things one might do to 'analyse, interpret and represent historical information.' She asked if presenting history as a chronological story gave 'opportunities to make links, draw inferences and compare and contrast?'

 

All of that just made me think, well, of course, isn't that what teachers do with anything? How would chronological or not make a difference?

 

There was a little more about meeting developmental needs, learning intentions, curriculum outcomes and the teaching/learning cycle...

 

I'll try to individually respond soon.

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