Friday, August 17, 2012

A History Example

Last time, I promised to give you an example of how an event can be beneficial in the study of history. A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to see the King Tut exhibit, and while in that city, took the opportunity to enjoy a Medieval Times dinner theater.
Prior to leaving for the King Tut exhibit, we studied ancient Egypt. We learned about the math and geometry behind the pyramids. We learned about the religions and customs of the period. We tried to write in hieroglyphics. And used an online program that was available at the time to go through the steps of mummification. We even studied papyrus plants, and the Nile River. And we studied about King Tut. When we got to the exhibit, my child chattered continuously, pointing excitedly at different things, and explaining what she knew about that item. It was a joy to behold.
Now the Medieval Times dinner theater was not exactly historically accurate. However, after returning home from the trip, we went ahead and studied the Medieval period. We talked about how knights really behaved, built lances and shields, let my daughter create a coat of arms, talked about feudalism, and built a detailed castle replica. Throughout the study phase my daughter remembered the knights, king, ladies, and horses she had seen at the dinner theater. The theater experience had an impact that made the book learning so much more exciting.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Summer isn’t over yet. I know that the traditional school year is about to get started, and for some of us it is a great relief. We do school year round, but find that some of the places we go during the regular school year are very crowded during the summer.
After saying that you might wonder what the title has to do with the body of this post. Let me explain. One of the things our 6th graders need to learn is history. Unfortunately, reading about things that happened hundreds of years ago, or even fifty years ago is just dry and boring.
A great way to make history come alive is to actually let your child experience it. You can do this by checking with re-creation societies and living history museums. There are even things to be learned at renaissance fairs.
We have done this type of learning two ways. Sometimes we study the book learning ahead of time, and build the anticipation to an event or vacation. We have also had the opportunity to visit the event, and then come back home and do the study. There are pros and cons as to which you do first, but don’t forget to do the book learning part. I’ll give you an example next time!