This past December I announced one morning as part of school we were “doing history that day.” Then my son burst into tears.
I about died inside because I LOVE history. I have large portions of my blog devoted to my love of history. I have no less than 5 pinterest boards for history. I went to London on my honeymoon to go to all of the museums there, and LOVED it.
So when he said that I knew something wasn’t working, and it needed to change.
I calmed him down, and we talked about what he didn’t like about history and what wasn’t working. I found out he didn’t like the notebooks we had for history. It was fill in the blank. He inherited my hatred for fill in the blank. When I was a little bit older than him I would actually deliberately fill in wrong answers on those silly fill in the blank worksheets. Especially if it had a word bank, those were the worst. I felt my intelligence was insulted, and responded accordingly.
I can’t say it was a mature response. I also can’t say my attitude has changed much from then. It’s probably worse. So, I understood his feelings.
We talked some more. I asked if he liked the notebooks we used for science. Then his face lit up and he raved about his science notebook. We use the Apologia Junior Journals for science. There are blank lines to write whatever you want. There’s space to draw pictures. Occasionally there are lapbook pieces to put together. When we first got those books I wrote a glowing review of them. Now, I’d heap even more praise on them because it TRULY works for our family.
As we talked I started thinking about our textbook. It’s a textbook, it’s dry, and it’s not as interesting as what we used before, but what we used before doesn’t cover this time period, or American history. I was stuck because I think this is the best way to cover the information.
Then I started praying and planning. I have a new plan.
First, I’m scrapping the notebook I had first looked on as perfect. It doesn’t fit our family, we’re not really fill in the blank people, we’re short answer.
Next, we’re going to look for more ways to act it out. We already have battle simulations every time there’s a war. Now, we’re going to draw what they wore. That will be popular with all 3 kids.
I’m also looking for picture books to read. I know of many picture books covering US history in the 20th century. I’m going to make sure and check those out for us to read. My kids remember picture books and bring them up on a routine basis, so this is a good plan.
I’m also finding movies for us to watch. That’s how we covered the last 4 chapters of history. We watched movies about the Gilded Age and discussed the events taking place. Suddenly my crying son was happy and enjoying history. It was happening in the way he related to.
Can we always scrap our plans and the way we’re learning? No. I can’t completely chunk the history text in this case. We’re locked in with that for the year due to other factors. I CAN change how I teach it and what he’s required to do. Will that always be my response to pushback? No, sometimes you have to muster on and learn to continue on. But, this time changing our direction is the right thing to do.
And for the record, the picture is of my daughter sporting an eye patch after getting dirt in her eye. She was emphasizing how horrible everyone treated her. I took a picture to show how ridiculous she looked. Oh, and after the reboot and going back to our roots I’m happy to say my boys quite enjoyed our last week of history.