History - Parents Page

Why include History in Home Schooling

Why do students really need to understand history anyway? Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Walter McDougall, gave three important reasons, why they do:

  • ​studying history encourages intellectual growth in the learner

  • learning history increase the participation in important civic activities

  • learners who understand history gain a better understanding of moral dilemmas 

 

He went on to say "History is the grandest vehicle for vicarious experience: it truly educates…young minds and obliges them to reason, wonder, and brood about the vastness, richness, and tragedy of the human condition. Studying history provides a context in which to fit all other knowledge – like maths, science, or literature."

If history is taught in an engaging way, teenagers will learn about the significance of past events and personalities, and can relate them to their own lives. "It's the knowledge of a subject like history that gives you the wisdom you need to put your own life in a broader context, and know what you might be capable of in the future, by knowing what people have done in the past,"

Following A Set Programme of Learning

In the UK, the National Curriculum history education aims to help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

 

That's fine - if your white, male and rich! If your poor, female and not white you are a little invisible in the topics the National Curriculum suggests to follow.  While I accept that a huge sway of British history is related to the native people of this isle and most of them were white, only half of them where male and many were not rich! 

 

The focus is more about what we did, rather than what we found when we got there. Subsequently,  we need to ask questions like - Did the history of Australia really only start when we sent prison ships in the late 17 century?  not - Why did we send prisoners to Australia? Are we really saying in the whole of humanity that Steven Hawkins is the first disabled person to make history? What happened to disabled people in the past? As women, are only queens and suffragettes worthy of mention? Are the lives of servants only interesting because of the famous people they worked for? As our learners are home-schooled, we don’t have to follow the National Curriculum. We can look at the similarities between Empress Elizabeth of Austria and Princess Diana and how the those in power try to control women, in the public eye. We can spend time looking at more than one local place of history. We can explore the country of origin of a learner's grandparents, just because they are their grandparents. If the learner is more interested in the Native Peoples of America and less interested in American Independence, then that is what we can study. 

Following A Set Programme of Learning

In the UK, the National Curriculum history education aims to help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

 

That's fine - if your white, male and rich! If your poor, female and not white you are a little invisible in the topics the National Curriculum suggests to follow.  While I accept that a huge sway of British history is related to the native people of this isle and most of them were white, only half of them where male and many were not rich! The focus is more about what we did, rather than what we found when we got there. Subsequently,  we need to ask questions like - Did the history of Australia really only start when we sent prison ships in the late 17 century?  not - Why did we send prisoners to Australia? Are we really saying in the whole of humanity that Steven Hawkins is the first disabled person to make history? What happened to disabled people in the past? As women, are only queens and suffragettes worthy of mention? Are the lives of servants only interesting because of the famous people they worked for?

As our learners are home-schooled, we don’t have to follow the National Curriculum. We can look at the similarities between Empress Elizabeth of Austria and Princess Diana and how the those in power try to control women, in the public eye. We can spend time looking at more than one local place of history. We can explore the country of origin of a learner's grandparents, just because they are their grandparents. If the learner is more interested in the Native Peoples of America and less interested in American Independence, then that is what we can study. 

Including History in the Learning Routine

Here, at Orchard Training we try to embed history  into our projects, where it sits naturally and can be enjoyed. For example, in our project on Cakes we look at the history of cakes. We explore how over time religion and culture effects the design of the playing pieces in our project on Chess.  

 

In January 2018, our Walking for Friendship group helped an elderly gentleman rescue his dog from between two fallen trees.  The owner suggested we explore what the breed of dog did during the world wars. The learners were fascinated, so we included this history in to our project Working Dogs. 

 

You don’t need any fancy, expensive equipment to teach history.  Each project will list the resources you will need and suggestions of where to visit. They are written with the home-schooler’s budget in mind. The biggest expense will be visiting history attractions. Whilst some don’t charge - others do.

 

The main cost is the travel and ticket price: plan ahead, combine the visit with other activities, take a packed lunch – just like a real educational trip!

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