A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Let's Do History!
When your children ask, "Where did I come from?" and "Was I always here?" they are asking questions about history. These two questions contain the two main meanings of "history":
- the story of people and events and
- the record of times past.
History helps us understand the past and how we got here.
Here are some things you can do at home.
- Share family history with your children. Share your memories, and help your relatives and friends share family stories, too. Encourage your children to tell their own stories.
- Read with your child about people and events that have made a difference in the world. Help your child pick others you both find interesting to learn more about.
- Watch television programs about topics related to the past with your children. Get library books on the same topics. Ask the librarian for help. Do the books and television programs agree?
- When you celebrate holidays such as the Fourth of July, Christmas, Passover, or Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday, explain to your child what is being celebrated and why. Help your child find stories or speeches about these holidays at the library or in a newspaper or magazine.
- Get to know the history of the town or city where you live. Your newspaper may list parades, museum and art exhibits, children's theater, music events, history talks and walks under "things to do." Choose some of these activities to do with your children.
for young children (pre-K--3rd grade)
- Children love to look at pictures. Choose a photo of a person in your family or someone else you admire or respect.
- Tell your child what the person did. Why do you admire this person? Talk about the results of the person's actions.
- With your child, search for photos from newspapers or magazines about other people you admire. Your child might want to collect these or put them in a scrapbook.
- Find a story about one or more of these people at the library. Be sure to ask the librarian to help you find what you need.
for older children and the whole family (3rd---6th grade)
- Have children collect pictures and some examples of a few important things from their life. Explain to them that items will be put in a time capsule so that when people find the capsule later, they can learn something about your children and the time they lived in.
- Examples might include lists of slang words, current events, and popular movies, heroes, games, and toys. You might also include ads of popular items cut out of magazines or newspapers, descriptions of television shows, pictures of popular fashions, as well as copies of poetry and speeches.
- Have your children write and include a letter about life today to the person who opens the time capsule.
- Have a "show and tell" of all the items. Talk with your children about what has been chosen and why. Is everyone satisfied?
- Label all the items by name and add any other important information about the item to the label.
- Place the items in a container, seal the container, and find a place to store it.
Architecture All Around
for older children (4th--6th grade)
- When you are walking in your town or city with your child, look at the buildings.
- Talk about ways old buildings differ from those built today and why. Are new buildings different from what you remember when you were a child?
- Look up architectural terms such as Romanesque, Georgian, Palladian, Bauhaus. What do they mean? When were they invented? Who were they named after? Can you find examples of these styles in your town?
Resources: Information was based on Helping Your Child Learn History. For more information, please contact the National Library of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20208, telephone 1-800-424-1616. Other materials from the Family Involvement Partnership for Learning--for families, schools, employers, and community groups--can also be obtained by calling 1-800-USA-LEARN.
U.S. Department of Education
Richard W. Riley
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Sharon P. Robinson
National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment
National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students
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