Why Learning History is Important

I grew up in southwest Missouri. Not exactly an area steeped in our nation's history, but enough to whet my appetite.   Thanks to my family, the love of history was ingrained early.  Before I was old enough to read, my parents and grandfather were reading tales of Laura Ingalls Wilder to me and taking me to visit nearby historical markers, family cemeteries,  and planning family vacations to visit some of our nation's national parks and "out-of-the-way-little-known sites".  My great aunt took me to Newtonia, Missouri so I could tour the Ritchey Mansion and see where Belle Starr had been held prisoner during the Civil War.  A littler further down the road stood the marker for the Civil War battle of Newtonia.  Some family friends asked me to join them when they explored a Civil War cemetery. My grandfather took me to the ghost town of Jollification, Missouri to see the barn that he helped to build as a young man.

As an adult, I have been thankful for all of those family vacations
to places near and far, for all of the experiences that I have had that
have made me curious and eager to explore. I find history (famous or not) fascinating. It always amazes me that others don't feel the same, but every year, that I taught History, I would find one or two or three (or more) that thought history was boring.  Boring?  How can a town of empty buildings telling a silent story be boring?  How can a floor painted black to cover the blood of wounded soldiers be boring? How can a daring escape from a second story window be boring?  Unfortunately, to some, it is boring. I find this to be more common as the years pass. The "younger generation" is less and less interested in our past.  History is something to be endured rather than absorbed. What a shame!  We live in a great nation, with a great history, but it is being lost.

What can we do about it?  Make history come alive. That may mean leaving textbooks in the closet and getting out travel brochures or national park resources. I have found that state and national parks are more than willing to load teachers up with resources. It is refreshing and exciting to have students pour over the resources, learning about places many of them will never visit. Bring in your own photographs and share them. Read historical fiction aloud and have your students create their own story or play. I still have students that stop me and say they remember the Civil War play that they wrote and performed. Yes, this was before the age of technology. My students researched using books! Amazing! And, what they learned and retained!  Still puts a smile on my face.

Better yet, some of those students have grown up to become teachers. It is my hope that whatever subject they teach they are making it come alive for their students. After all, the reason learning our history is so important is to keep it alive and to keep the spark of learning alive. Learning history can create lifelong learners by developing that sense of curiosity. That should be our main goal- creating lessons so enticing that our students want to keep learning, want to keep exploring long after we are gone.

To see where my curiosity leads me like my Facebook page, Chocolate 4 Teachers
And to see what type of resources I create to stimulate curiosity follow my TpT store, Chocolate 4 Teachers 

The result of my curiosity! Click here to check it out!

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