If you’re a parent, then you probably don’t need to be told why it’s important to be involved when it comes to your child’s education. Children with parents that consider involvement important grow up to be better adjusted and more self-aware. They tend to have better relationships with not only their parents, but other people as well.
However, it can be difficult to figure out which subjects you should prioritize now, and which can wait until they’re older. American history is one of the most frequently overlooked subjects when it comes to extracurricular educational material, but it really shouldn’t be. Here we’ll take a closer look at why you absolutely should expose your children to American history.
1. Children appreciate history to a greater degree when they learn it early.
Think back to your own childhood and the time you spent learning from one or both of your parents. The chances are pretty good that the skills you were taught to appreciate then translated into good habits and deep passions later on in life. Wouldn’t it be great if your children grew up appreciating American history to the same degree your own parents taught you to appreciate cooking, fishing, or art?
Children love fascinating stories and fun tidbits of information. Spend some time talking to them about the history of the great nation in which they live. Provide them with opportunities to seek answers to questions they may have about certain events or concepts. Read to them from children’s history books and provide them with learning tools like history-centric puzzles, games, or coloring books.
2. Your children may not be learning everything you consider important in class.
While it’s definitely important to encourage kids to pay attention in history class and to answer them correctly when they ask you why history is important, it’s just as important to realize that their classes can only take them so far when it comes to learning about American history. Most history classes cover just the basics, and American history is about so much more than just names and dates.
Spend time personalizing historical figures and events for your children. Provide them with opportunities to learn more about topics, historical figures, or important events that they may be learning about in class. Make sure you include lessons on people of other cultures and ethnicities as well.
3. Learning history helps children develop a sense of identity.
It’s the most natural, normal thing in the world for human beings to want to know who they are and where they come from. American history can provide people of any age with a better sense of identity, and this absolutely includes children.
Early exposure to American history will help your child develop his sense of patriotism and pride in his country. It will teach him to respect the sacrifices and struggles of his ancestors. He’ll learn more about the cultural traditions and heritages that he’s a part of. In other words, it will help him identify and appreciate his place in a rather long, complex, and wonderful human story.
4. History can help your child develop qualities like compassion and empathy.
Just as learning about your ancestors and cultural heritage is very important, so is learning about people who are different. Learning about people from other countries or other backgrounds can help your child learn to relate to people who are different from herself. She’s more likely to grow up to be compassionate, socially aware, and tolerant.
That said, it’s important for all children, regardless of their ethnic heritage, to study African-American history and immigrant history on a year round basis, not just during Black History Month or on certain cultural holidays.
5. Learning local American history helps children build connections to their community.
It’s important to realize that regional and local history is just as important as general American history. However, the local history of your city or region is much less likely to be taught in school.
Take your children to visit local landmarks and historical points of interest. Take them to history museums and teach them to see their hometown or the places your family goes on vacation as an important part of American history. Educate them in regards to various cultural groups and their contributions to local history. Your children will grow up feeling connected to their community on a very special level.
In addition to a large selection of local interest books on a multitude of topics, Arcadia Publishing also features a line of regional interest books for kids. Include them as part of your child’s ongoing education in American history!