History lessons ignore children’s questions, writes Sheryl Longin on Pajamas Media. Who invented stairs? What was the first language? Kids might remember history, she argues, if it focused less on Native Americans and more on how the world they know came to be.
How about basing primary school history education on the evolution of the material, of inventions, of progress? From the evolution of toilet paper will come a thousand other history lessons, touching on everything from economics to politics to religion. And those lessons will be remembered, because they will be answering questions that children (and adults) naturally have.
Imagine a new generation of young people with a working, practical knowledge of the history of progress.
I learned history by reading — first biographies and then everything. Till seventh or eighth grade, we had “social studies” instead of history. Memorize the three principal products of every province in Canada and every country in Latin America. Malmo produces ball bearings. Birmingham is the Pittsburgh of the South and the Pittsburgh of England.
Fortunately, Illinois isn’t a big state for Indians. We had the Blackhawk War, which took a day to “cover” and that was it for the Illini.
Abolish social studies! Teach history.