So, I have these three lovely daughters. Two are in elementary school (and the other boasts that it’s her last year of preschool). The older two are both studying various aspects of Virginia history this year in their respective classes and I’ve been keeping tabs on what they having been learning and keeping my fingers crossed that they find it interesting and absorb as much as possible.
History as a school subject was soooo boring to me. I mean, start talking about the names and dates of white men and their battles and my mind turns off in an instant. Sure, I could memorize the dates and names and retain them long enough to spit them back out on a high school history test. Have no doubt, though, that I would just as quickly erase that material from my brain and make that real estate available to something more important, like who asked whom to the prom or where my friends and I were meeting to “hang out” that weekend. They were never going to light my fire for history using the same old approach.
Year after year, we learned about U.S. and world history in a cyclical nature. Every couple of years, we’d rehash old topics, supposedly building upon what we’d already covered. You would think this constant cramming (I think they called it reinforcement) of data would have worked. I can tell you that in my 13 years of grade school (and we might as well add college here, too, since I managed to take as few history classes as possible and insisted on not retaining anything from them as well) I learned very, very little. Like, embarrassingly little.