Friday, September 2, 2011

Finally Loving History

I decided to teach my kids this year about the westward expansion of the United States since it is a topic that Paige requested and because we hadn't discussed it much in the past.  We started with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and moved to other topics rather quickly with the book I was using.  At the same time, John and I were watching the HBO miniseries (on DVD) John Adams.  This movie is amazing.  There are a few scenes that should NOT be shown to children, but the other 98% of it portrays the life of a president about whom I knew very little at a time when our country was forming and then growing.  Because this movie also shows us Thomas Jefferson and because I knew he was president at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, I desired to learn more about both.

I borrowed a book from our local library called Jefferson's Great Gamble.  It begins the story of the Louisiana Purchase years before it happened.  It gives many historic facts to inform the reader of the events that led up to the purchase.

It has been very exciting to read.  SERIOUSLY!!  You say, "You must be joking."  Maybe that just means I'm a history geek.  I never used to be, but as I've gotten older I find the type of book I love to read above and beyond all others is historical fiction.  I enjoy learning as I'm reading a story about people's lives.

So, as I've been reading this book...

I have learned about the slave revolt on the island of Santo Domingue and about Napoleon Bonaparte.  I think the slave revolt would make for a very interesting movie, and I am now looking for a book on Napoleon Bonaparte to read because I know very little about him.

I don't understand why kids in school don't love to learn about history.  I didn't either I guess, but it is SO rich.  It is so interesting.  I guess it is how it is presented. It is so much more than dates and names, which is all I remember being stressed.  There are amazing stories that come to life when written about by the right author or depicted in a movie by the right production company.

I hope I never tire of learning, and I hope I can always find great books out there to read.  If you know of any really good ones, let the rest of us know about them!