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The Importance of Teaching History Accurately

1 Aug

Announcement!

            The next book in my Our America series is published! The Pioneer Adventure continues Finn and Ginny’s search for their lost parents. For more information and a pdf of free activities to go along with the book, click on the Our America link at the top of this page. And, to celebrate the publication of my new book, the Kindle version of the first book in the series, The Pilgrim Adventure will be on SALE for $2.99 on August 4th, 5th, & 6th.

Here is the link to the Kindle version that will be on sale: The Pilgrim Adventure

 

The Importance of Teaching  History Accurately

While I was researching The Pilgrim Adventure, I was extremely upset to hear about a children’s unit study on the Pilgrims that was full of inaccuracies and incorrect information. What particularly bothered me was a prayer that the unit claimed was given during what some call the first Thanksgiving feast. This prayer implied that the Pilgrims were thanking God for wiping out the Indians in the area so that the Pilgrims could have their land. There are two things wrong with this prayer. First, there is absolutely no record of any prayer uttered by the Pilgrims during the feast they had which we call the “First Thanksgiving.” Second, the person who the unit said gave the prayer did not come over on the Mayflower, was not one of the Pilgrims, and was not there at the “First Thanksgiving.” The unit was also full of other inaccuracies.

It seems to me that racial tension is high enough in our country without teaching children lies about history to make things worse. Why can’t we teach our children how to get along with each other instead of stirring up the flames of racial hatred and guilt in our children at a young age? Shouldn’t we want a future for our children free of racial tension and hatred? Yes, it is important to understand how different racial groups were treated in our history, but let’s teach the truth. And, let’s teach it in historical context. The Pilgrims were one of the first groups of Europeans who came to America with the intention of settling down and being friends with their native neighbors. If you look at how some of the other European ship captains, crew, and settlers treated the Native Americans of our East Coast, you can see that within the context of their time period and the threats they were facing, the Pilgrims were actually pretty ahead of their time. Teaching their history inaccurately is doing a disservice not only to their memories but also to our children.

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Cookie-Cutter Teachers

8 Mar

Announcements!

            The next book in my Our America series is published! The Revolutionary War Adventure continues Finn and Ginny’s search for their lost parents. For more information and a pdf of free activities to go along with the book, click on the Our America link at the top of this page.

 40% off SALE!!!!

 To celebrate the publication of The Revolutionary War Adventure, the Kindle versions of the last three books in the Our America series will be on sale for 40% off on March 11th & 12th!

 Links to the Amazon books that will be on sale March 11th & 12th:

 The King Philip’s War Adventure

The Salem Adventure

The Revolutionary War Adventure

 

25% off SALE!!!

 To celebrate the publication of The Revolutionary War Adventure, on March 11th & 12th all of Sue’s paperback books will be on sale for 25% off! Just click on the Special Orders link at the top of this page and type in the code: HAVY4KRQ at checkout to receive the discount. Orders will be placed through CreateSpace, a division of Amazon.

 

Cookie-Cutter Teachers

            Common Core is in the news a lot lately, and, as a homeschooler, I have pretty much ignored it. However, I am becoming aware that it is a part of a dangerous trend in our schools today—the trend to micro-manage teachers.

Each teacher is an individual and individuals are going to have different ways that they enjoy teaching. If you tell a teacher that he has to teach a subject using a particular curriculum that he can’t stray from, then you are taking all of the creativity out of his teaching. And if you tell a teacher that she has to teach in a certain way, you are not letting her try alternative methods that might work better within her particular classroom. All teachers are not the same, all students are not the same, and all classrooms are not the same. If you take away teachers’ ability to alter their methods, you are hurting the students who might have benefitted by a different teaching style. Teachers are the people in the classrooms with the students, not some bureaucrat in some office. Individual teachers are the best-qualified as to what teaching methods will work best for both teacher and students. Trying to make cookie-cutter teachers is a huge mistake.

            Allowing teachers the flexibility to use their own teaching methods is especially important today when there are so many new and exciting options available. However, just when exciting new things are happening in education, states seem to be happily telling teachers that they can’t use them. I’m not saying that any specific curriculum is bad. I’m just saying that teachers, not bureaucrats, should be the ones deciding what to use in their classrooms.

            People are wringing their hands these days over how our education system has gone downhill. Instead of trying to find new methods to fix this problem, perhaps we should look back at what we were doing correctly in the past, when our education system was working.  It seems to me that we’ve messed up our education system and instead of saying, “We made a mistake, let’s erase it,” we keep adding new mistakes on top of the old ones. Giving teachers back the ability to choose their own methods would be a step in the right direction.