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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

History Is Fun!

I grew up on Sonlight, so the study of history never felt like I was studying history. We read great books that seamlessly wove history and fun together. It wasn't until my public high school experience that I even consciously recognized History as a school subject. But suddenly it was a subject unto itself and, worse yet, it was boring.

I mean, they tried. They really did.

In high school, they had us debate how the US should respond to the Cuban Missile Crisis. My side won and we nuked 'em--much to our teacher's dismay. In college, my US History professor was wheeled into class dressed like FDR. But that's about all I remember from those classes. Well, I also distinctly remember that I learned how much I hated history classes.

Sonlight pioneered, and continues to champion, a completely different way of studying history. Sonlight's literature-rich approach to learning is as fantastic as it is fun. Literature-based learning removes the boring side of history class--memorization of names and dates you'll just have to look up later... if you care at all--with the important parts: Why people did what they did.

Because, really, the purpose of studying history is not to remember the names and dates of stuff that happened, but to--hopefully--learn from what has happened before so we can make better choices today and in the future. And that's the part of history that's fascinating and fun. I love reading stories of the Sonlight students who one day are told that all the reading they're doing together is part of school. "That's school?" they ask, incredulous. "That's not school! That's fun!"

There's no better way to learn.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

P.S. If you're already familiar with WWII, you may find the following "Facebook adaptation" as funny as I did (NB: some swearing & dirty comments): WWII on FACEBOOK!

Hat Tip
Mrs. C


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Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

You nuked 'em?? LOL

Umm... I remember our history teacher telling us about all the teachers in various schools during the 1970s who would have sex with their students, in lurid detail (including how these pedophiles set the situations up; babysitting is a popular one... the girls would arrive but wonder... where are the children? Eew).

I don't remember the history, though... NOW I look back and go, "Whyyyy did he want to tell us all that?"

JJ Ross said...

My only quibble -- that's not schooling, it's real education!

SC said...

I still blame Sonlight for the fact that I had to scramble to explain, a few weeks after we made the switch, an off-hand comment by then-9 Jessica (oldest daughter). A friend had asked her what she was studying in school these days, to which she replied "Oh, we haven't been doing any school lately!"

The questioner's eyebrows shot into her hairline! When I reminded Jessica about Om-kas-toe of the Blackfeet, about Chako and Esteban and Pedro's Journal and all the other wonderful stories we were reading, it was Jessica's turn to look stunned.

"What, you call THAT 'school'?? That was just for FUN!"

Luke Holzmann said...

Eternal Instants, glad to hear it! <smile>

We totally nuked 'em, Mrs. C <smile>. And I have no idea why your teacher would tell you that kind stuff. Well, I have ideas, but they aren't too flattering...

JJ, I'll gladly give you that! <smile>

Psallite, that's hilarious! And a perfect example of what I was talking about <smile>. Thanks for sharing!



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Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
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