Not that I haven’t enjoyed our history study this year (I actually took multiple college courses on specific events/countries/revolutions in the 20th century because it is so fascinating and relevant for today), but at the same time it is so dismal. And bleak. And warlike. And terribly sad.
We’ve spent multiple weeks reading and questioning and learning about WWI, mostly through the book World War I For Kids. There was plenty of information to dig through and we read the ENTIRE thing…. except the sidebars because when you are in a hurry you just don’t have time for the sidebars.
We read BASICALLY the ENTIRE thing!
As a review, and as a post unit wrap up/test/summary/celebration of knowledge/what-have-you, we made little books with bullet points on each page to prompt the kids on certain aspects of the war. The books are basically outlines written on multiple pieces of construction paper and embellished with maps and pictures.
Except for my kindergartner’s book. It is essentially just a lot of random war information in his own special layout. Very creative, yet still informational to those willing to sift through it.
Here are the books! (Yes, my daughter’s book is PINK! Because why the heck not?)
The 2nd grader’s book is a “tab” book where each page in a new tab. Hence the name. I have no photo of the cover (pink) because she hasn’t illustrated it yet… and at this point may never get to it.
…And the kindergartner’s book. It is called an “eclectic” book. And yes, I did just make that up. He put a pocket on his back cover to fit in all the pictures he couldn’t find space for on the inside.
And here is the video of my 4th grader explaining – loosely – all that he learned. (None of us remember the details about Turkey and the Dardanelles except that it had something to do with a failed naval blockade (?) and Winston Churchill. He kind of paused and looked at me questioningly when we got to that point in the video. Hopefully its not terribly obvious.)
I’m not worried about what we didn’t catch or don’t remember, because I am so pleased with what we did understand and do remember.
Now… as part of my “teacher development” I read a book to refresh my memory on WWII. But THIS book is one I have never read before and one that, if I believed in mandating teachers to teach certain things a certain way and if that was actually my responsibility, I would seriously make required reading for all high school and college history students. This book is an autobiography of an average Joe in Germany, beginning with his childhood during WWI and up through 1933. He wrote the book in 1939, but it wasn’t published until 2000 by his son who found it after the author’s death. The author actually became a journalist and very prolific and popular writer. This book is fascinating because it answers, among other questions, why the German people didn’t stop Hitler and the Nazis from coming to power and doing what they did. The story doesn’t even talk about WWII because the book was “done” before that war even started. He does make a few references to his disgust at the world’s “appeasement policy” toward Hitler and the Nazis and the take over of Austria, but that is it. So it really is a history of the in-between years, between the Great War and WWII. I hope I’ve sold you on this book. It is called “Defying Hitler” by Sebastian Haffner.
Anyway, really fascinating stuff.
But alas, not really for children to consume.
Is any of the 20th century really appropriate for children to consume? I’m going to be so relieved when we are back on the Ancients next year. Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome seem so tame in comparison.
Well, maybe not Ancient Rome.
Maybe we should just all learn about nature and harmony and good feelings instead.
Or maybe we should learn about history so that we do not repeat it. (READ THE BOOK!)