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Monday, February 23, 2015

How do I make history relevant to a 10-year-old?

Monday, February 23, 2015 By

AUGUSTA, GA. - So, Emerson is a good student. But, right now, she has a low B in social studies.

"Emerson, what is this grade about?" I asked her, genuinely confused.

"I dunno," she said. "Social studies is boring."

Boring? History is storytelling, at which she excels! I take her to the historic reenactments, Living History Park, former Confederate forts - heck, I WORK at a university with historic cannons (on which she has spent years climbing if I am not looking), which sit in front of an historic former armory. Her father has a degree in history. I worked at the Renaissance Faire - which, now that I type that out, is much less an endorsement of an enjoyment of history, and more like a Badge of Nerd Honor. ... But the point is, we've tried to make history a part of her life from day one.

"But... you talk to me about history all the time," I said. "You tell me all the stories, and you sound so excited."

"Yeah, they're good stories. But I feel like it's all fake, since we lost all our history when the library burned down in Egypt."

Wait, what?

Turns out, she didn't realize when the library was destroyed. After I told her it was "in Egypt, during the time of Pharoahs and pyramids," a light went on.

Maybe I should stop telling her one-off stories out of context. Next she'll think the Trojan Horse was a petting zoo.


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