I am a History geek! I know there are some people who squirm at the thought of studying about “people of old” and the “crude way of doing things” but I don’t. Two notable persons of influence to me were my History teacher, Ms. Roxas in high school and my late grandfather, Jose Gementera Sr. I always looked forward to my Filipino History and Social Studies class back then because we had a brilliant teacher. She taught with much gusto and seem to know what she was talking about all the time 🙂
When my grandfather was still alive, he would tell tales of his childhood and life during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. He also became part of History in their school when he was the first student to ever receive a 100 percent grade on his report card. He dared his teacher to give him that final grade if he aced his subject. He did! So his teacher gave him the grade he truly deserved. Unfortunately, he was not able to show me a copy of this childhood memento. But he added that if you go his school, a copy of his report card was on display.
My appreciation for History continued until I started homeschooling. In our earlier days of teaching Coby at home, we used the first volume of the Mystery of History. This book is so rich with stories and activities that he became engrossed in it. History was not a major subject in Grade one but this boy insisted that we take out our MOH and just read it. Jianne, who is in first grade is also enjoying the book as well.
We study History and Social Studies alternately each day. I figured the best way to teach these two subjects is to through story-telling. First and foremost, as a parent-teacher, I have the responsibility of studying the lessons beforehand. After going through the lesson myself, Coby sits down and listens to my “story”. I believe they don’t have to memorize specific dates or places already, since this has no value yet in their learning. They can do the serious side which is memorizing dates and names when they reach high school. The important thing for me is they learn about the ideology, the primary people involved, the so-called hero or heroes in the story and the events that had a huge impact in our country’s history or in another part of the world.
After the session, I ask Coby’s opinion about the story he heard. I needed to know if he got the concept and if he was really paying attention. Some of the questions I ask are somewhere in these lines…
What was your favorite part of the story and why?
If you were the hero or the character in the story, what would you do given the same situation?
What character trait or attitude does the hero in the story show you? How could develop the same attitude or character?
If you could change that part of history, what would you change and why?
Coby is very introspective and speaks his mind a lot. He gives out his opinions even when not needed 🙂 So, questions like these excite him and keeps him talking and talking. He is free to give his opinions and expresses it passionately. I could see from the tone of his voice and facial expressions that he feels for the people who suffered injustice or anger towards the villains of the past. At times, he gets very opinionated to the point of judging and blaming the leader for not doing his job right or the villain for being so cruel. I listen to him but then gently remind him that these people did what they thought was right during that time. We are not to judge their decisions but we are to learn from them so we will not repeat the same mistakes they did.
History and Science also go together as we find out how things got invented. People back then never had any gadgets on hand nor did they have electricity but they thrived and used whatever resources they have. Prehistoric people used stones for cutting and sticks for spears to hunt food.
The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is so true. This taught Coby that not all things can be bought at the store. You need to use your imagination, creativity and resourcefulness to make things. An old egg carton can be made into a head of an alligator puppet while an old mayonnaise jar can be transformed into a useful pen holder. These scientists and inventors always thought out of the box, which my husband and I are trying to inculcate in Coby’s mind and so far it’s been great.
Going on field trips is another tool to reinforce the lessons learned in both subjects. We are a museum-loving family. We have been to different historical museums in our country and are planning to go back again this school year. Museums allows the kids to see first hand what they only see in books.
We had a blast visiting the Bible Museum in Manila last year. We saw a visual representation of the scribes writing the bible word for word back then. We also saw the first Bible in the Philippines which was in the Pangasinan dialect. We also got to dress up like the Bible characters and pose for photos after.
The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 6:16
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
If we are having trouble making decisions, we can look at how the people in history, particularly significant characters of the bible lived their lives. How did they triumph over temptation. How did they overcome a huge wall, literally. How they found the source of living water. The Word of God is rich with examples of people who victoriously overcame obstacles because they trusted God and also people who were punished and swallowed by the earth because of their disobedience and unbelief.
History helps us look back at the mistakes of the past and move forward armed with wisdom from old and knowledge of the present.
What’s your favorite lesson in History? What impact did it have on the kids?