Helping Your Child Learn History

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Helping Your Child Learn History

with activities for children aged 4 through 11

By Elaine Wrisley Reed

Edited by Jacquelyn Zimmermann



History Education Begins at Home

Children and History Parents Make a Difference History Is a Habit
Enjoying Your Child and History

The Basics of History

The Meanings of History A New Look at History Asking Questions

Activities: History as Story

What's the Story? Our Town History on the Go What's News? History Lives
Cooking Up History Rub Against History

Activities: History as Time

Time Marches On Weave a Web Put Time in a Bottle Quill Pens & Berry
Ink School Days Time To Celebrate The Past Anew


Parents and the Schools Resources Local and National Resources


Imagine waking up one morning to find out that you have no memory! You are
not able to remember who you are or what happened in your life, yesterday or
the day before that. You are unable to tell your children from total
strangers, you cannot communicate with people because you no longer know how
to greet them, or understand their conversation. You don't remember what
"the election," "war," or "the movies" mean.

Lack of historical memory is parallel to this loss of individual
memory. The link on which we depend every day between the past and present
would be lost if we had no memory of our history. And we would miss a great
source of enjoyment that comes from piecing together the story of our past.

Today American educators are working to promote the study of history in
the schools and at home. Knowledge of our history enables us to understand
our nation's traditions, its conflicts, and its central ideas and values.
Knowledge of world history enables us to understand other cultures.

We hope to encourage children to love history and to enjoy learning
about it. This booklet is a tool you can use to stimulate your children's
active involvement in the history that surrounds them every day. It includes:

* Basic information about history, and approaches to enjoying history
with your children, aged 4-11;

* History activities that you and your children can do--at home, in
your community, and out of town--for no or little cost; and

* History resources in your community and nationally, in bookstores,
and libraries.

History Education Begins at Home

Children and History

As parents we are in the best position to encourage our children's natural
interest in history. It is to us they address their first historical
questions: "Where did I come from?" and "Was I always here?"
These two questions contain the two main meanings of "history": it
is the story of people and events, and it is the record of times past.

Now is the time to bring out the historical evidence and to share
family stories with your child. Birth and adoption certificates, immunisation
records, first pieces of your child's writing and art, as well as photographs
all count as historical sources that tell the story of your child.

The stories you tell and read to your children, or make up with them,
are part of their cultural heritage and reinforce the two basic parts of
history: "Once upon a time, and long ago."

Parents Make a Difference

Your child is born into history. She has no memory of it, yet she finds
herself in the middle of a story that began before she became one of its
characters. She also wants to have a place in it.

As parents we can prepare our children to achieve the lifelong task of
finding their place in history by helping them to learn what shaped the world
into which they were born. Without information about their history, children
don't "get" a lot of what they hear and see around them.

Your attitude about history can also make a difference for your child.
Showing your interest in history--your belief that knowing history makes a
difference for your life--encourages your child's own interest.

Many parents say they love history. If you are one of them you can
share your particular interests in history with your children as well as help
them develop their own.

Many other parents say they find history boring. If you are among
these, try one of the following: start writing your own life story; read the
diary of Anne Frank, or the autobiography of Frederick Douglass; read the
Declaration of Independence, or rent a video about the Civil War. As you
rediscover history your children may be inspired by your interest.

History Is a Habit

The activities in this book can help you start doing history with your
child. You will probably get more ideas of your own. In addition, you can
develop some of the following "history habits" that make history
important not only during an activity but every day.

History Habits for Parents

Habits are activities we do on a regular basis. We acquire habits by
choosing to make them a part of our life. It is worth the time and effort to
develop good habits because they enhance our well-being. We suggest the
following history habits to enrich your life experience and your children's.

Share family history with your children, particularly your memories.
Help your own parents and other relatives know your children and talk with
them about family stories.

Participate in your community by voting and helping to make changes in
areas that interest you. Encourage your children to vote in school elections,
to present themselves as candidates, and gain knowledge of history and the
values and behaviours that are the basis of their citizenship.

Read newspapers and news magazines, and watch television news programs
to maintain an informed judgement about the world. Talk about current events
and your ideas about them with your children and other adults, and explore
different points of view. Check the encyclopaedia or your local library for
additional historical information.

Watch television programs about important historical topics with your
family, and encourage conversation about the program as you watch. Get
library books on the same topic and learn more about it. Check to see if the
books and television programs agree on significant issues, and discuss their

Read with your children about people and events that have made a
difference in the world, and discuss the readings together. The list of
publications at the end of this book serves as a support to you for choosing

Help children know that the makers of history are real people like
themselves, who have ideas, work hard, and experience failure and success.
Introduce them to local community leaders in person if possible, and national
and world leaders via the media and biographies.

Make globes, maps, and encyclopaedias available and use every
opportunity to refer to them. A reference to Africa in a child's favourite
story, or the red, white, and green stripes on a box of spaghetti can be
opportunities to learn more about the world.

Have a collection of great speeches and written documents to read from
time to time with your child.

Your own involvement in history, in any of the forms referred to in
this book, is a good habit you can pass on to your children.

Enjoying Your Child and History

We have intentions of good fun as we plan any activity with our
children. We also want them to learn something from most activities. They
probably would say they want to have fun and learn something new too. But
sometimes the difference in abilities between us and them, or the demands of
time, end up leaving us disappointed. Keeping the following in mind can help
keep your time together fun and productive:

You don't have to know all the facts or fully understand history to
help your children learn. Your willingness to learn with them--to read, to
ask questions, to search, and to make mistakes--is the most important gift
you can bring to the process. By viewing their mistakes as sources of
information for future efforts, your children gain confidence to continue

Conversation gets you past the difficult moments. Keeping open the
communication between you and your children, and encouraging continued
discussion no matter how off the mark your children may seem, tells them you
take them seriously and value their efforts to learn. The ability to have a
conversation with your children profoundly affects what and how they learn.

Children have their own ideas and interests. By letting them choose
activities accordingly, you let them know their ideas and interests are
valuable. Often they will want to teach you as a way to use what they know.
Share their interests and encourage them to learn more.

Make the most of everyday opportunities to do history: visits from
grandparents, reading books, telling stories, holidays, elections, symbols
like the flag, the national anthem before sporting events, pictures in
newspapers and magazines, visits to museums. If your child asks about a
person in a painting, stop to find out who it is. Keep asking: "What
does this mean? How do I know?"

Choose your activities well. The activities in this booklet are for
children aged 4-11. Each of the activities can be adapted to a child of any
age and ability level. Even a preschooler can "read" a newspaper
with your help, for a short period of time. While an activity that is too
difficult will frustrate your child, an activity that is too easy will lose
his interest. Challenges bring feelings of accomplishment.

Have a goal. When you choose or begin an activity you may not have a
clear idea of where it's going. But keep in mind that the purpose of doing
the activities in this book is to learn something about history. The first
section of this book, the introduction to each activity, and the question
boxes can help you. As you complete each activity discuss with your child
what you learned together. Making bread is one thing, knowing that bread has
historical meaning is another. Achieving a goal for an activity also helps
your child sense the pleasure of a completed project.

The Basics of History

The Meanings of History

If you look for the meaning of "history" in the dictionary
you may be surprised to find that history is not simply the past itself. The
first meaning of history is "tale, story," and the second meaning is
"a chronological record of significant past events." The opening of
tales for children--"Once upon a time"--captures both the story and
time nature of history.

When we study history we are involved in a branch of knowledge that
records and explains past events. Many would say that history is not just one
branch of knowledge among others, but that it is the most essential one
because it is the complete story of human endeavour. It happens that the word
"history" comes from the Greek "to know."

The activities in this book are organised according to the two meanings
of history as story and time in order to help you explore these meanings with
your child.

The Story in History

The work of doing history is to consider people and events that are no
longer in our presence. Unlike doing science, we do history without being
able to observe behaviour and its results.

This work is fun when we make the past meaningful. We do this by
weaving together various pieces of information about the past. In doing this
we create a pattern that gives shape to "just a bunch of facts."
Doing history is a way of bringing the past to life, in the best tradition of
the storyteller.

But not just any story will do. While there are many possible tales of
the same event, good history is based on evidence and several perspectives.

The history with which we are most familiar is political history--the
story of wars, peace treaties, and changes of government. But anything that
has a past has a history. This includes the history of ideas, for example the
concept of freedom, and cultural history, for example the history of music.

The story of history is interesting to us because it tells us about
real people who had ideas and beliefs, worked and struggled to put them in
action, and shaped the present in which we find ourselves.

Time in History

Human events take place in time, one after the other. It is important
to learn the sequence of events in order to trace them, reconstruct them, and
weave the stories that tell of their connections. Children need to learn the
measures of time, such as year, decade, generation, and century. When they
hear "Once upon a time in history" they need to be able to ask
"When did that happen?," and to know how to find the answer.

Time in history is a kind of relationship. We can look at several
events that all happened at the same time, and that together tell a story
about that period. Or we can look at the development of an idea over time,
and learn how and why it changed. And we can consider the relationship
between the past and the present, or the future and the past (which is
today!). The present is the result of choices that people made and the
beliefs they held in the past, while the past, in being retold, is in some
way remade in the present. The future will be the result of the coming
together of several areas developing today.

The main focus of history is the relationship between continuity and
change, and it is important that our children understand the difference
between them. For example, the population of the United States has changed
dramatically over time with each wave of immigration. With the entry of these
new groups into American society, bringing their own ideas, beliefs, and
cultures, American democracy has continued and grown stronger. It continues
to function according to its original purpose of safeguarding our basic
values of freedom and equality, even as the meanings and effects of these
values change.

A New Look at History

History is now understood to be more than memorising names and dates.
While being able to recall the details of great people and events is
important, the enjoyment of history is enhanced by engaging in activities and
experiencing history as a "story well told."

Original sources and literature are real experiences. Reading the
actual words that changed the course of history, and stories that focus on
the details of time and place help children know that history is about real
people in real places who made real choices that had some real consequences,
and that they could have made different choices.

Less can mean more. "A well-formed mind is better than a
well-stuffed mind," says an old proverb. Trying to learn the entire
history of the world is not only impossible, it feels too hard and reduces
our enthusiasm for history. In-depth study of a few important events gives us
a chance to understand the many sides of a story. We can always add new

History is hands-on work. Learning history is best done in the same way
we learn to use a new language, or to play basketball: we do it as well as
read about it. Doing history means asking questions about historical events
and characters; searching our towns for signs of its history; talking with
others about current events and issues; writing our own stories about the

There is no final word on history. There are good storytellers and less
good storytellers. And there are many stories. But very rarely does any one
storyteller "get it right," or one story say it all. A good student
of history will always look for other points of view, knowing that our
understanding of history changes over time.

Your children do well to ask "So what?" Much that we take for
granted is not so obvious to our children. We should invite them to clear up
doubts they have about the reasons for remembering certain things, getting
facts right, and collecting and judging evidence. At each step, asking
"so what?" helps to explain what is important and worth knowing,
and to take the next step with confidence.

Asking Questions

At the end of each activity in this book, you will find a series of
questions that can help develop the critical thinking skills children need to
participate well in society, learn history, and learn from history. The
questions help them know the difference between what is real, fantasy, and
ideal, and make the activity more

Critical thinking is judging the value of historical evidence; judging
claims about what is true or good; deciding what information is important to
have; looking at a topic from different points of view; being curious enough
to look further into an event or topic; being sceptical enough to look for
more than one account of an event or life; and being aware that our vision
and thinking are often limited by our biases and opinions.

The following two sections contain a sampling of history activities,
organised by the meanings of history as story and time. Each group of
activities is preceded by a review of three elements of story and time from
the perspective of history. The review is meant to inform and support
conversation between you and your child, which is the most important step in
each activity by far.

Activities: History as Story


History is a permanent written record of the past. Because recording
history is an essential part of doing history, a "history log" is
indicated for each activity. More recently, history is also recorded on audio
and video tape, and many of the activities lend themselves to this type of
recording as well. Your children may be interested to know that the time of
their favourite dinosaurs is called "prehistory" because it is
unrecorded history. They should also know that some written languages have
been invented because telling stories orally, without recording them in some
form, is not by itself a sure enough way to preserve the identity of a


George Washington, in his Farewell Address in 1796, said: "Though in
reviewing the incidents of my administration I am unconscious of intentional
error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable
that I may have committed many errors." This reflection is a good
reminder that history, with its facts and evidence, is also an interpretation
of the past. There is more than one cause for an event, more than one kind of
outcome, and more than one way of looking at their relationship.


All good histories are written on the basis of evidence. Your children
need to learn the importance of evidence, and to distinguish it from biases,
propaganda, stereotypes, and opinion. They need to judge whether the many
stories about John F. Kennedy or World War I, for example, are based on solid
enough evidence to provide an accurate account of the life and times.

What's the Story

History is a story well told. Through storytelling children can
understand what's involved in writing the stories that make history.

What you'll need

Family members and friends A fairy tale or folk tale History log

What to do

1. Tell a story of a person you know. Gather your children, other family
members, and friends to have a storytelling session. Choose a person you know
about whom the group will tell the story. Decide who will begin, and go
clockwise from there with each person adding to the story. Set a time limit
so that you must end the story somewhere.

2. Read a folk story or fairy tale, for example, Little Red Riding Hood
or The Story of Johnny Appleseed. Talk about how the story begins and ends,
who the characters are and what they feel, and what happens. Ask how this
story based on fantasy is different from the story you told about the real
person you know.

3. Read a story about an historical event. Now pick a moment in world
history, for example the fall of the Berlin Wall, the French and Indian War,
or a current event in the news headlines. Ask the librarian for help in
choosing material that is at your child's reading level.

4. Help your child write in the history log about this storytelling

In the storytelling session about the person you know, how did you
verify the "truth" when there were differences of opinion about
what "really happened"? If you were to write the story of a real
event for the newspaper, what would count for you the most in preparing it?
What else would you include? Where would you get your information? How would
you check the accuracy of the information?

Our Town

Your phone book, newspaper, and other resources can serve as your best
guide to history in your town. Not only does referring to them save time, it
teaches how to use tools to get information.

What you'll need

Phone books, both yellow and white pages Daily city newspaper Community
newspaper History log

What to do

1. Newspaper search. Look in your city and community newspapers. They
list "things to do." Look for parades, museum and art exhibits,
music events, children's theatre, history talks and walks.

Participate in an event and help your child write about it in the
history log when you get back home.

For more help, call education services at your city newspaper. Ask
about their education programs that use newspapers.

2. Phone book search. Look in your phone books under
"History" or "Historical Places." You will find a few
places under this heading but many more are listed elsewhere.

Brainstorm with your children about what other words to look under in
the phone book to find local history.

Call the places you find. -Ask about their programs, hours, and
upcoming special events. Ask to be put on their mailing list. Also ask where
else you should go to learn about your town's history.

Your younger children should listen to your phone conversation. They
learn how to ask for information by listening to you.

3. Begin a list in the history log of local historical sites. Include
phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation, and other useful information
for future visits.

What is the most surprising thing you learned about your town? If you
were asked to be a tour guide for visitors to your town, what would you show
them? If you went to another town, how would you go about visiting it?

History on the Go

Visit the historical places in your child's history book, either in
person or by collecting materials.

What you'll need

Your child's history book Maps, guidebooks History log

What to do

1. Find out what historical events your child is studying in school.
Perhaps a historical site is near your town. Choose a site of one of these
events to visit in person or through the materials you collected.

2. Prepare the trip together in advance. Ask the librarian to help you
and your child find books and videos on the history of the town or the
historical figures who lived there.

3. Call the Chamber of Commerce of the area for maps and guidebooks.

4. Make a list. Think of some questions you want answered on your trip.

5. Talk about the place you are visiting.

6. Have your child write about the trip in the history log. Include
answers to the questions that were answered that day.

7. Have your children make up a quiz for parents, or a game, based on
the trip.

8. Encourage your child to read more stories about the place you
visited and the people who were part of its history, and historical documents
that are associated with the site. For example, in visiting Akron, Ohio, the
site of the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in 1851, you might read Sojourner
Truth's address, known also as And Ain't I a Woman?

What was historical about the place you visited? What kinds of things
communicated the history of the place? When you returned, did you see your
town in a new way, or notice something you hadn't seen before?

What's News?

What's new today really began in the past. Discussing the news is a way
to help your child gain a historical perspective on the events of the

What you'll need

Daily or Sunday newspaper Weekly news magazine A daily national news
program Highlighter History log

What to do

1. Decide on how often you will do this activity with your
children--current events happen every day. This activity can be most useful
to younger children if it is done from time to time to get them used to the
idea of "news." Older children benefit from doing it more often, at
least once a week if possible.

2. Look through the newspaper or news magazine with your child. Ask him
to decide what pictures or headlines are related to history. Highlight these
references. Some examples are the Yalta Treaty, the French Revolution, Lenin,
Pearl Harbour, or Brown v. Board of Education.

3. Together read the articles you have chosen. Write down any
references to events that did not happen today or yesterday, or to people who
were not alive recently.

4. Have a conversation with your child about what these past events and
people have to do with what's happening today. Help your child write in the
history log the connections you find between past and present.

5. Watch the evening news or a morning news program together. Write
down as many references as possible to past history and discuss the links you
find between these references and the news story you heard.

6. During another viewing, help your child focus on how the information
was communicated: did the newscaster use interviews, books, historical
records, written historical accounts, literature, paintings, photographs?

7. Help your child compare several accounts of a major news story from
different news shows, newspapers, and news magazines.

"There is nothing new under the sun," according to an old
saying. Did you find anything "new" in the news? What "same
old stories" did you find?

History Lives

At living history museums you can see real people doing the work of
blacksmiths, tin workers, shoemakers, farmers, and others. Children can see
how things work, and can ask questions of the "characters."

What you'll need

Visitor brochure and museum map Sketch pad and pencils, or camera
History log

What to do

1. Awaken your children's expectations of what they will see and what
to look for. Write or call the museum ahead of time to obtain information
brochures and a map. Living history museums are located in Williamsburg, VA
and Old Sturbridge Village, MA, among other places.

2. Plan how to actually "visit history." Pretend to be a
family living in the historical place. What would it be like to be a family
living in the place you choose to go?

3. When you visit the museum, ask your child what his favourite object
or activity is, and why.

4. Help your children sketch something in the museum, and put it in the
history log. Tell your children that this is the way history was visually
recorded before there were cameras.

5. Use your camera, if you have one, to make a "modern day"
record of history, and create a scrapbook with the photographs of what you

6. When you get home, talk about what it would have been like to live
in that historical place in that period of time. Compare this to the image
you had before your visit.

How were days spent in the period of time you experienced? What kind of
dress was common, or special? What kinds of food did people usually eat, and
did they eat alone or in groups? What kind of work would you have chosen to
do as an adult? If a living history museum were made of the late 20th
century, what would people see and learn there? Reminder: if you can't visit
a museum, travel by reading books.

Cooking Up History

Every culture has its version of bread. "Eating it, one feels that
the taste one cannot quite put to words may almost be the taste of
history."* Children enjoy making this American Indian fried bread.

What you'll need

2 1/2 cups all-purpose or wheat flour 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder 1
teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon dried skimmed milk powder 3/4 cup warm water 1
tablespoon vegetable oil Oil for frying

Mixing bowls and spoons, spatula Large skillet Cloth towels Baking
sheet Paper towels

History log

What to do

1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the dried milk, water, and vegetable

3. Pour this liquid over the dry ingredients and stir until the dough
is smooth (1 or 2 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon of flour if the dough is too

4. Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands about 30 seconds. Cover
it with a cloth and let it sit 10 minutes.

5. Line the baking sheet with paper towels to receive the finished

* From Edward Behr (see Acknowledgements).

6. Divide the dough into eight sections. Take one section and keep the
rest covered in the bowl.

7. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten with your hand. Then roll it
into a very thin circle 8 to 10 inches across. The thinner the dough, the
puffier the bread will be.

8. Cover this circle with a cloth.

9. Continue with the other seven sections of dough in the same way.

10. In the large frying pan or skillet, pour vegetable oil to about 1
inch deep.

11. As you begin to roll the last piece of dough, turn on the heat
under the skillet. When the oil is hot, slip in a circle of dough. Fry for
about 1 minute or until the bottom is golden brown. Reminder: Parental
supervision is necessary at all times around a hot stove.

12. Turn the dough over with tongs or a spatula. Fry the other side for
1 minute.

13. Put the fried bread on the baking sheet and continue with the other
rounds of dough.

14. Eat your fried bread while it is hot and crisp. Put honey on it if
you like. Write in your history log what you learned about this bread and
others you have tried.

How is this bread different from other breads you have tried? Think of
common expressions that use the word "bread." For example,
"the nation's breadbasket"; "I earn my bread and butter";
or "bread lines of the 1920s." What does "bread" mean in
each of these? What place does bread have in your daily life and in other

Rub Against History

Younger children find rubbings great fun. Cornerstones and plaques are
interesting, and even coins will do.

What You'll Need

Tracing paper or other light weight paper Large crayons with the paper
removed, fat lead pencil, coloured pencils, or artists charcoal History log

What to do

1. Help your child make a kit to do rubbings. It could include the
items listed. The paper should not tear easily but it should also be light
enough so that the details of what is traced become visible.

2. Have children make a rubbing of a quarter or half dollar. Make the
coin stable by supporting it with tape. Double the tape so that it sticks on
both sides and place it on the bottom of the coin. Lay the paper on top of
the coin, and rub across it with a pencil, crayon, or charcoal. Don't rub too
hard. Rub until the coin's marks show up.

3. Go outside to do a rubbing. Look for

* Dates imprinted in cement sidewalks

* Cornerstones and plaques on buildings

* Decorative ironwork on buildings and lampposts

* Art and lettering on monuments and around doorways

4. Your child can ask family members to guess what each rubbing is.

5. Have the children tell about each rubbing. Tell them to look for
designs and dates among the rubbings.

6. Children may want to cut some of their rubbings out to include in
their history logs. Or they can fit several on one piece of paper to show a
pattern of dates and designs.

What showed up in your rubbings? What did the date and designs
commemorate? Historical preservation groups in America have worked to
preserve old buildings and to install plaques on public historical places. Is
this interesting or important work? Why have humans left their marks on the
world from early cave drawings to Vietnam Veterans' Memorial?

Activities: History as Time


While our children need the opportunity to study events in depth to get
an understanding of them, they also need to know the sequence of historical
events in time, and the names and places associated with them. Being able to
place events in time, your child is better able to learn the relationships
among them. What came first? What was cause, and what was effect? Without a
sense of chronological order, events seem like a big jumble, and we can't
understand what happened in the past. It matters, for example, that our
children know that the American and French Revolutions are related.


Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in the place of another person
and time. Since history is the reconstruction of the past, we must have an
idea of what it was like "to be there" in order to reconstruct it
with some accuracy. For example, in studying the westward expansion your
children may ask why people didn't fly across the country to avoid the
hazards of exposure on stagecoach trails. When you answer that the airplane
hadn't yet been invented, they may ask why not. They need an understanding of
how technology develops and its state at the time. Using original source
documents, such as diaries, logs, and speeches, helps us guard against
imposing the present on the past, and allows us to see events through the
eyes of people who were there.


Context is related to empathy. Context means "weave together"
and refers to the set of circumstances in several areas that framed an event.
To understand any historical period or event our children should know how to
weave together politics (how a society was ruled), sociology (what groups
formed the society), economics (how people worked and what they produced),
and religion, literature, the arts, and philosophy (what was valued and
believed at the time). When they try to understand World War II, for example,
they will uncover a complex set of events. And they will find that these
events draw their meaning from their context.

History means having a grand old time with new stories. So, think about
the relationship between history and time as you do the following activities.

Time Marches On

The stories of history have beginnings, middles, and ends that show
events, and suggest causes and effects. A personal timeline helps your child
picture these elements of story.

What you'll need

Paper for timeline Coloured pencils Crayons Shelf paper or computer
paper Removable tape History log (optional)

What to do

1. Draw on a piece of paper, or in the history log, a vertical line for
the timeline. Mark this line in even intervals for each year of your child's

2. Help your child label the years with significant events, starting
with your child's birthday.

3. Review the timeline. Your child may want to erase and change an
event for a particular year to include a more memorable or important one.
(Historians also rethink their choices when they study history.)

4. For a timeline poster, use a long roll of shelf paper or computer
paper. For a horizontal timeline, fasten it to the wall up high around the
room using removable tape so that your child can take it down to add more
events or drawings. For a vertical timeline, hang it next to the doorway in
your child's room. Start with the birthday at the bottom. Your child can
begin writing down events and add to it later.

5. For older children, have them do a timeline of what was happening in
the world at the same time as each event of their life. To begin, they can
use the library's collection of newspapers to find and record the headlines
for each of their birthdays.

What is the most significant event on the timeline? What effects did
the event have on your child's life? What are the connections between the
events in your child's life and world events at the time?

Weave a Web

A history web is a way of connecting people and events. Is there an old
ball field in your town you've always wondered about? Or did you ever wonder
why there are so many war memorials in your town? Then you need to do a
history web!

What you'll need

Large piece of paper or poster board (at least 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 ft.)
Coloured pencils or markers History log

What to do

1. Pick a place in your community that has always seemed mysterious to
you--an old ball field, general or hardware store, house, or schoolhouse.

Or ask yourself. "What are there lots of in my town?"
Churches, fountains? Pick one of these historical "families."

2. Go to one of these places. Jot down in your history log what you see
and hear there. For example, look for marks on the buildings, such as dates
and designs, or parts of the buildings, such as bleachers or bell towers.

3. Find out other information about the place by asking a librarian for
resources, or by searching the archives of your local newspaper. Look for
major events that took place there, such as the setting of a world record or
the visit of a famous person. Also look for other events that changed the
place, such as modernisation or dedications.

4. Find people who have lived in your town a long time. Interview them
using questions about these major and related events, and any others they

5. Draw a web, with the name of the place you studied in the middle
(like the spider who weaves a "home").

6. Draw several strands from the middle to show the major events in the
life of the place.

7. Connect the strands with cross lines to show other related events.

8. When the web is complete consider the relationships among the
strands. (See parent box.)

9. Ask the editor of your local newspaper to publish your web. Ask readers
to contribute more information to add to it. This is exactly how history is

When was the place you picked built? If you picked a "family"
of places, when was each place built? If they were built around the same
time, what similarities and differences do you notice about their features,
such as style and what they commemorate? How is the place you picked
connected to other events in history?

Put Time in a Bottle

Collecting things from one's lifetime and putting them in a time
capsule is a history lesson that will never be forgotten.

What you'll need

Magazines or newspapers with pictures Sealable container Tape or other
sealant History log

Lift up your eyes upon This day breaking for Give birth again To the

Women, children, men, Take it into the palms of your hands, Mold it
into the shape of your most Private need. Sculpt it into The image of your
most public self. Lift up your hearts...

Excerpted from "On the Pulse of Morning", delivered by Maya
Angelou at the 1993 Presidential Inauguration.

What to do

1. Have your children collect pictures of a few important things from their
life to date.

2. Tell your children that the items will be put in a time capsule so
that when future generations find it they can learn something about your
children and their time.

Some things to collect that represent the life and times of a period
are games and toys, new technology, means of transportation, slang, movies,
presidential campaign memorabilia, great speeches, poetry and fiction, music,
heroes, advertising, events, television shows, fashions, and accounts of
issues and crises.

Also have them include a letter describing life today to the person who
opens the time capsule.

3. Meet together for a "show and tell" of the items.

4. Once everyone is satisfied with the collection, label the items by
name and with any other information that will help those who find them
understand how they are significant to the history of our time.

5. Place the items in a container, seal the container, and find a place
to store it.

6. Write in the history log a short description of the time period and
record the location of the time capsule.

What did, the collection of items tell about the period? Did the items
tend to be of a certain type?

Quill Pens & Berry Ink

Knowing how to write has been a valued skill throughout history.
History itself depends on writing, and writing has changed over time from
scratches on clay to computerised letters.

What you'll need

For quill pen:

feather, scissors, a paper clip

For berry ink:

1/2 cup of ripe berries, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, food
strainer, bowl, wooden spoon, small jar with tight-fitting lid

Paper Paper towel History log

What to do

1. Make the ink: Collect some berries for your ink. Consider what
colour you want your ink to be, and what berries are available. Blueberries,
cherries, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries work well. Fill the
strainer with berries and hold it over the bowl. Crush the berries against
the strainer with the wooden spoon so that the berry juice drips into the
bowl. When all the juice is out of the berries, throw the pulp away. Add the
salt and vinegar to the berry juice and stir well. If the ink is too thick,
add a teaspoon or two of water, but don't add too much or you'll lose the
colour. Store the ink in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Make only as
much as you think you will use at one time, because it will dry up quickly.

2. Make the pen: Find a feather. Form the pen point by cutting the fat
end of the quill on an angle, curving the cut slightly. A good pair of
scissors is safer than a knife. Clean out the inside of the quill so that the
ink will flow to the point. Use the end of a paper clip if needed. You may
want to cut a centre slit in the point; however, if you press too hard on the
pen when you write, it may split.

3. Write with the pen: Dip just the tip of the pen in the ink, and keep
a paper towel handy to use as an ink blotter. Experiment by drawing lines,
curves, and single letters, and by holding the pen at different angles. Most
people press too hard or stop too long in one spot.

4. Practice signing your name, John Hancock style, with the early
American letters shown here. Then write your signature in your history log.

5. Write your name again using a pen or pencil. Compare the results.

Why do write? When do people in your family use writing? What written
things do you see every day? What is their purpose? What effect do different
writing implements have on writing, for example quill pens, ballpoint pens,
typewriters, and computers?

School Days

Did you ever wonder why there is no school in summer? Or why there
might be soon?

What you'll need

Map of the United States Crayons or coloured pencils History log

What to do

1. Talk about what school was like when you were a child. Include how
schools looked physically (e.g., one-room schoolhouse or campus?); what
equipment teachers used (e.g., chalk boards or computers?); what subjects you
studied; what choices you faced (e.g., transportation to and from school,
extracurricular activities ); and favourite teachers.

2. Talk about what school was like 50 or 100 years ago. Ask your
librarian for help in looking this up, and talk to older relatives.

Include the history of work in America and how this affects schooling.
For example, when America was an agricultural society, children were needed
to help plant and harvest crops. It was common then that children didn't go
to school every day, or in the summer.

Have children draw a variety of crops or animals raised in the United
States, including those grown in their own state or neighbourhood. They can
draw either right on the map or on paper that they will cut and paste on the
appropriate state. The map can be traced from an atlas in the library or from
a geography book. Talk about when various crops are planted and harvested,
and the effects of growing seasons on migrant worker families.

Talk about another change in work in America and how it affected
schooling. For example, when America was becoming a manufacturing economy,
during the Industrial Revolution, laws were made against child labour and for
mandatory schooling.

Help your child talk about how the work of parents in America today
affects schooling, for example, the need for after school programs.

3. Imagine what school will be like in the future. Younger children may
want to use blocks to build their future school, and older children may want
to draw theirs.

What has remained the same about school from the past to the present?
What has changed? If you could be the head of a school 20 years from now,
what would you keep and what would you change based on your current school?
How would you go about making the changes?

Time To Celebrate

On quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies is written the phrase "E
pluribus unum," "One out of many." What does it mean?

What you'll need

U.S. coins Map of the world Calendar History log

What to do

1. Have your children look at U.S. coins for the expression "E
pluribus unum", and translate it for them: "One out of many."
Explain to them that it refers to America as one nation with many peoples and
cultures, and that it is not a common nationality but shared democratic
values that bind us as a nation.

2. With your children talk about the following list of holidays
celebrated in the United States. Look at a calendar to add other holidays,
and next to each holiday write when it is celebrated and what is celebrated.

New Year's Day January 1 New beginning

Martin Luther January 15 Birth of a leader
King Jr.'s

Presidents' Day 3rd Monday Originally, Presidents
of February Lincoln and Washington
currently all former
U.S. presidents

Memorial Day Last Monday War dead
of May

Independence Day July 4 National independence;
adoption of the
Declaration of
Independence in 1776

Labour Day First Monday Working people
of September

Columbus Day Second Monday Landing of
of October Columbus in the
Bahamas in 1492

Veterans Day November 11 War veterans

Thanksgiving Fourth Giving thanks
Day Thursday of for divine goodness

Christmas Day December 25 Birth of Jesus

3. Use the opportunity of talking about what holidays celebrate to read
original sources. For example: on Presidents' Day read one of the great
presidential speeches such as the Gettysburg Address; on Martin Luther King's
Day read the "I Have a Dream" speech.

4. Find holidays celebrated in other nations. Classmates, neighbours,
and relatives from other countries are good sources of information.

5. Think and talk about other important holidays our nation should

6. Discuss what your family celebrates, and have your children write
about the discussion in their history log.

What kinds of accomplishments or events do we celebrate in America? What
similarities and differences did you find between American holidays and
holidays celebrated by people from other countries.

The Past Anew

Re enactments of historical battles or periods, such as colonial times,
make our nation's history come alive. And they get our children involved.

What you'll need

A library card Local newspapers Phone book History log

What was unusual or interesting about the re enactment? What role did
each of the re enactors play? If there was conflict, what was shown or said
about its causes? What obstacles did the characters face? How did they
overcome them? What is the difference between the "real thing" and
a performance of it? What did you learn from the performance?

What to do

1. Find out where re enactments are held by looking in your local
newspaper or calling your local historical society, State Park, or National
Park Service.

2. Choose one, and prepare your child to see it by visiting a local
museum or historical site that relates to the re enactment, or by watching a
television program about the event or period to be re enacted. Use your local
librarian and TV guide as resources.

3. Attend the re enactment and participate. Ask the re enactors
questions about anything--from the kind of hat they are wearing to the
meanings of the event or period for the development or transformation of
America. Finally, help your child write about this experience in the history

Parents and the Schools

Educators and education policy makers at the national and state levels
support an expanded history curriculum in our schools. Parents and schools
can be partners in this endeavour 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:

1. 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

* 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 curriculum well co ordinated?

* Does the history curriculum include world history as well as American

* Does my school require teachers to have studied history? Or does it
assign history classes to teachers with little or no background?

2. 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

* 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

* 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.

3. Help to improve history education in your child's school.

* Volunteer in your children's history class, for example, to organise
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.


Listed below are a few of the many excellent books about people,
events, and issues in American and world history that are available for
primary and middle school children. They are available in most public and
school libraries, as well as in children's bookstores. Suggestions came from:
The New York Times Parents Guide to the Best Books for Children, by Eden Ross
Lipson; History--Social Science Curriculum: A Booklet for Parents, by the
California Department of Education; The Horn Book Guide to Children's and
Young Adult Books, by The Horn Book, Incorporated; Children's Books in Print;
and from the 1991 bibliography of the National Council for the Social
Studies-Children's Book Council. The listing includes author, title, and publisher.

Primary Level Books

1. American History and Culture

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Eleanor Roosevelt. See also other
titles in this series, and Thomas Jefferson: Father of Our Democracy, and
George Washington: Father of Our Country. Holiday.

Barth, Edna. Turkeys, Pilgrims and Indian Corn: The Story of the
Thanksgiving Symbols. Clarion.

Cherry, Lynne. A River Ran Wild. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Cohen, Barbara. Molly's Pilgrim. Lothrop.

Faber, Doris. Amish. Doubleday.

Ferris, Jeri. Go Free or Die: A Story about Harriet Tubman. See also
Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story about Sojourner Truth. Carolrhoda Books.

Fisher, Leonard E. The Statue of Liberty. Holiday.

Fritz, Jean. Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? See also What's
the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, and Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? Coward.

Gibbons, Gall. From Path to Highway: The Story of the Boston Post Road.
T.Y. Crowell/HarperCollins.

Harness, Cheryl. Three Young Pilgrims. Bradbury Press.

Jakes, John. Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story. Harcourt Brace

Lawson, Robert. Watchwords of Liberty: A Pageant of American
Quotations. Little, Brown.

McGovern, Ann. If You Lived in Colonial Times. Scholastic.

McGuffy, William Holmes. McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader. Van Nostrand

Monjo, F. N. The One Bad Thing about Father (biography of Theodore
Roosevelt). See also The Drinking Gourd. Harper.

O'Kelley, Mattie Lou. From the Hills of Georgia: An Autobiography in
Paintings. Little, Brown.

Provensen, Alice. The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United
States. HarperCollins.

Rynbach, Iris V. Everything from a Nail to a Coffin. Orchard.

Sewall, Marcia. The Pilgrims of Plimoth. See also People of the
Breaking Day (same period from Indian point of view). Atheneum.

Von Tscharner, Renata, and Ronald Fleming. New Providence: A Changing
Cityscape. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Waters, Kate. The Story of the White House. Scholastic.

Williams, Sherley Anne. Working Cotton. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

2. World History and Culture

Adler, David A. Our Golda: The Story of Golda Meir. Viking.

Aliki. Mummies Made in Egypt. T.Y. Crowell/HarperCollins.

Fisher, Leonard E. The Great Wall of China. See also Pyramid of the
Sun--Pyramid of the Moon, and The Wailing Wall. Macmillan.

Musgrove, Margaret W. Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions. Dial.

Provensen, Alice, and Martin Provensen. The Glorious Flight: Across the
Channel with Louis Bleriot. Puffin.

Sabin, Louis. Marie Curie. Troll.

Stanley, Diane. Peter the Great. Four Winds.

Wells, Ruth. A to Zen: A Book of Japanese Culture. Simon and Schuster.

3. Historical Fiction and Poetry

Aliki. A Medieval Feast. T.Y. Crowell/HarperCollins.

Baylor, Byrd. The Best Town in the World. Scribner's.

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman. HarperCollins.

Burton, Virginia Lee. Litle House. Houghton Mifflin.

Goble, Paul. Death of the Iron Horse. Macmillan.

Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man. Puffin.

Kurelek, William. A Prairie Boy's Winter. Houghton Mifflin.

Kuskin, Karla. Jerusalem, Shining Still. Harper Trophy.

Lee, Jeanne M. Ba-Nam. Henry Holt.

Le Sueur, Meridel. Little Brother of the Wilderness: The Story of
Johnny Appleseed. Holy Cow! Press.

Livingston, Myra. Celebrations. Holiday.

Lobel, Anita. Potatoes, Potatoes. HarperCollins.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hiawatha. Dial.

Lyon, George-Ella. Who Came Down That Road? Franklin Watts.

Spier, Peter. We the People: The Constitution of the U. S.. See also
Tin Lizzie, New Amsterdam, and The Star-Spangled Banner. Doubleday.

Swift, Hildegarde, and Lynd Ward. Little Red Lighthouse and the Great
Gray Bridge. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Turkle, Brinton. Thy Friend, Obadiah. Puffin.

Zolotow, Charlotte. The Sky Was Blue. Harper.

Upper Elementary Level Books

1. American History and Culture

a. Original sources and biographies

The Log of Christopher Columbus' First Voyage to America: in the Year
1492, As Copied Out in Brief by Bartholomew Las Casas. Linnett
Books/Shoestring Press.

Brown, Margaret W. (editor). Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrim's
Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620, by William Bradford and Others of the
Mayflower Company. Linnett Books/Shoestring Press.

Cousins, Margaret. Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia. Random.

Douglass, Frederick. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
Macmillan. See also The Narrative and Selected Writings. Modern Library.

Freedman, Russell. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Clarion. See also Indian
Chiefs, The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Air plane (Holiday), and
Lincoln: A Photo biography (Clarion).

Harrison, Barbara, and Daniel Terris. A Twilight Struggle: The Life of
John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Lothrop/Morrow.

Lester, Julius. To Be a Slave. Dial.

McKissack, Patricia, and Frederick McKissack. Mary McLeod Bethune: A
Great Teacher. Enslow.

Meltzer, Milton. The Black Americans: A History in Their Own Words. See
also others in this "In their own words" series, and Voices from
the Civil War. T.Y. Crowell/HarperCollins.

Ravitch, Diane (editor). American Reader: Words That Moved a Nation.

b. Period History and Historical Fiction

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. Little, Brown/Orchard House. See also
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving. Holiday.

Benet, Rosemary, and Stephen Vincent Benet. The Ballad of William
Sycamore. Henry Holt.

Blumberg, Rhoda. The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark. Lothrop.

Brink, Carol R. Caddie Woodlawn. Macmillan.

Brown, Marion Marsh. Sacagawea: Indian Interpreter to Lewis and Clark.

Fisher, Leonard E. The Oregon Trail. See also Tracks Across America:
The Story of the American Railroad, 1825-1900. Holiday.

Flournoy, Valerie. The Patchwork Quilt. Dial.

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Houghton Mifflin.

Freedman, Russell. Cowboys of the Wild West. Clarion.

Fritz, Jean. Shh! We're Writing the Constitution. Putnam. See also
other books by the same author on Pocahantas, Paul Revere, and others.

Hakim, Joy. The First Americans, the first volume of the series A
History of the United States. Oxford University Press.

Haskins, Jim. Outward Dreams: Black Inventors and Their Inventions.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. True Stories from History and Biography. Ohio
State University Press.

Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils. Berkley.

Jacobs, William J. Ellis Island: New Hope in a New Land. Scribner.

Maestro, Betsy. A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution.

Nixon, Joan L. A Family Apart. Bantam.

O'Dell, Scott. King's Fifth. See also The Serpent Never Sleeps: A Novel
of Jamestown and Pocahontas. Houghton Mifflin.

Parker, Nancy W. The President's Cabinet and How It Grew.

Smith, Carter (editor). Daily Life: A Source book on Colonial America.

Stewart, George. The Pioneers Go West. Random.

Wilder, Laura I. Little House in the Big Woods. See also others in the
"Little House" series. Harper Trophy.

2. World History and Culture, and Historical Fiction

Blumberg, Rhoda. The Remarkable Voyages of Captain Cook. Bradbury.

Corbishley, Mike. Ancient Rome. Facts on File.

Foreman, Michael. War Boy: A Country Childhood. Arcade.

Galbraith, Catherine A., and Rama Mehta. India Now and Through Time.
Houghton Mifflin.

Harkonen, Reijo. The Children of Egypt. Carolrhoda Books.

Macaulay, David. Pyramid. See also City: A Story of Roman Planning and
Construction; Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction; and Castle. Houghton
Mifflin. Also available on video.

Marrin, Albert. Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars. Viking.

Muller, Jorg. The Changing City. McElderry.

Nhuong, Quang Nhuong. The Land I Lost: Adventures of a Boy in Vietnam.
Harper Trophy.

Rogasky, Barbara. Smoke and Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust. Holiday.

Stott, Ken (illustrator). Columbus and The Age of Exploration.


Baker, Charles F., Ill. The Struggle for Freedom: Plays on the American
Revolution. Cobblestone.

Barchers, Suzanne, and Patricia Marden. Cooking Up U. S. History:
Recipes and Research to Share with Children. Teacher Ideas Press.

Bell, R. C. Board and Table Games From Many Civilisations. Dover

Benet, Rosemary, and Stephen Vincent Benet. Book of Americans. Henry

Boorstin, Daniel J., and Ruth F. Boorstin. The Landmark History of the
American People. Random House. See also Visiting Our Past: America's History
lands. National Geographic Society.

D'Aulaire, Ingri, and Edgar D'Aulaire. D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths.

Dorell, Ann (collector). The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales
and Songs. Dutton.

Fearotte, Phyllis. The You and Me Heritage Tree: Children's Crafts from
21 American Traditions. Workman.

Hughes, Langston, and Arna Bontemps. The Book of Negro Folklore. Dodd,

McEvedy, Colin. The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History. Penguin.

National Geographic Society. Historical Atlas of the United States.

Walker, Barbara M. The Little House Cookbook. Trophy.
Children's Magazines

Calliope: World History for Young People. Cobblestone Publishing, Inc.,
30 Grove St., Peterborough, NH 03458. World history for grades 6-8.

Cobblestone: The History Magazine for Young People. Cobblestone
Publishing, Inc., same address as above. An American history monthly for
grades 4-8.


An American Tail, Universal Studios. An animated fable about 19th
century immigration, in colour.

The Civil War, PBS, directed by Kenneth Burns. An 11 hour series in
colour and black and white.

Eyes on the Prize, PBS. A series on the civil rights movement in the
United States.

References for Parents

Hirsch, E.D. Jr. What Your First Grader Needs To Know. See also titles
on second-, third-, and fourth-graders. Doubleday/Core Knowledge Series.

Local and National Resources

Federal Government

General Services Administration, Publications Sales Branch, NEPS-G,
Washington, DC 20408. Write for a list of available "documents from the

National Park Service, Office of Public Inquiries, Washington, DC
20013-7127. Write for maps and guides to national historic sites.

National Register of Historic Places, Interagency Resources Division,
National Park Service, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, DC 20013-7127. The
Register's archives contain information on 59,000 places of national, state,
and local significance.

National Non profit Organisations

American Association for State and Local History, 172 Second Avenue
North, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37201. The association maintains an extensive
list of museums, historic sites, and historical societies.

National Council for History Education, 26915 Westwood Rd., Suite B-2,
Westlake, Ohio 44145. Write to the council for the monthly newsletter,
History Matters! The council also maintains a Speakers' Bureau.

National History Day, University of Maryland at College Park, 0121
Caroline Hall, College Park, MD 20742. Write for information on local,
regional, state, and national contests for middle schoolers.

National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1785 Massachusetts Ave. NW,
Washington, DC 20036. Write to them for lists of preservation groups in local
communities throughout the United States. These groups often have walking
maps and special historical programs.


This booklet was made possible with help from the following people who
provided materials and suggestions: George T. Reed, Rodney Atkinson, Gilbert
Sewall, Joseph Ribar, Steven and Amy Jack, Candece Reed, Joseph and Peter
Ryan, Nancy Taylor, Joan McKown, Susan Perkins Weston, Carol Shull, Paul
Regnier, and Joyce Hunley. Special thanks are given to Judith J. French, a
media specialist in Fairfax County Public Schools, for reviewing the
bibliography; to the 1990 third-grade class of Capitol Hill Day School whose
illustrations of historical houses in Washington, DC appear on page 13; to
Leo and Diane Dillon for their advice on how to work with illustrators; and
to Gerard Devlin, Nancy Floyd, John Fonte, Paul Gagnon, Wilma Prudhum Greene,
Margery Martin, and many others at the U.S. Department of Education.

The Helping Your Child series was initiated by Diane Ravitch when she
was Assistant Secretary of OERI, to expand educational opportunities for
children. In addition, she provided a historian's thoughtful review of this

The following sources were consulted in conceiving the introductory
text: Awakening Your Child's Natural Genius by Thomas Armstrong; Building a
History Curriculum by the Bradley Commission on History in Schools;
History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools by the
California State Department of Education; Framework for the 1994 NAEP U.S.
History Assessment by the National Assessment Governing Board; Learning
H/story by A.K. Dickinson et al.; and the Art of Eating (No.18), a newsletter
by Edward Behr with an article on the history of bread making.

The activities are inspired by suggestions from John Ahem; Kid's
America by Steve Caney; Great Fast Breads by Carol Cutler; Native American
Cookbook by Edna Henry; Claudia J. Hoone; Kathleen Hunter; Peter O'Donnell,
Director of Museum Education at Old Sturbridge Village; Janice Ribar; and My
Backyard History Book by David Weitzman.

What We Can Do To Help Our Children Learn:

Listen to them and pay attention to their problems. Read with them.

Tell family stories.

Limit their television watching.

Have books and other reading materials in the house.

Look up words in the dictionary with them.

Encourage them to use an encyclopaedia.

Share favourite poems and songs with them.

Take them to the library--get them their own library cards.

Take them to museums and historical sites, when possible.

Discuss the daily news with them.

Go exploring with them and learn about plants, animals, and local

Find a quiet place for them to study.

Review their homework.

Meet with their teachers.

Do you have other ideas?


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