A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Parents and the Schools
Educators and education policymakers at the national and state levels support an expanded history curriculum in our schools. Parents and schools can be partners in this endeavor as they work toward their common goal of educating children. Following are some well-proven measures for supporting your children's study of history at school, and for forming productive relationships with those responsible for their education away from home:
- Become familiar with your school's history program. Ask yourself:
- What do I see in my child's classroom that shows history is valued there? For example, are maps, globes, atlases, and original source documents visible?
- Are newspapers and current events media part of the curriculum? Are biographies, myths, and legends used to study history?
- Does my child regularly have history homework, and history projects periodically, including debates and mock trials?
- Are there field trips relating to history?
- Is my child encouraged to ask questions and look for answers from reliable sources?
- How is knowledge of history assessed in addition to tests based on the textbook?
- Are my children learning history in elementary and middle school, and are the history curriculums well coordinated?
- Does the history curriculum include world history as well as American history?
- Does my school require teachers to have studied history? Or does it assign history classes to teachers with little or no background?
- Talk often with your child's teachers.
- Attend parent-teacher conferences early in the school year.
- Listen to what teachers say during these conferences, and take notes.
- Let teachers know that you expect your child to gain a knowledge of history, and that you appreciate their efforts towards this goal.
- Ask the teachers what their expectations of the class and your child are.
- Agree on a system of communication with the teachers for the year, either by phone or in writing twice a semester, and whenever you are concerned.
- Keep an open mind in discussing your child's education with teachers; ask questions about anything you don't understand; and be frank with them about your concerns.
- Help to improve history education in your child's school.
- Volunteer in your children's history class, for example, to organize visits from the mayor or local historians, and to local historical sites.
- If you feel dissatisfied with the history program, talk to your children's teachers first, and then to the principal, history curriculum division, superintendent, and finally the school board. Also talk to other parents for their input.
[Activities: History as Time]