Teaching History through Holidays
Just like the post I wrote about teaching the three R’s, I am a firm believer in waiting until children are old enough to actually learn and absorb History. After they have learned to read and write. This way they can do research on their own and hopefully retain this powerful information better.
However, this did backfire on me a bit. I am still a firm believer on waiting to teach and learn but I would have approached certain areas of History a bit differently.
Below I am going to explain how I failed in this way of thinking. After all, isn’t that what happens in homeschool? We learn from our mistakes. I want you to learn from my mistake!
We were sitting at church today (the Sunday before Memorial Day) and the Pastor lead the congregation in saying The Pledge of Allegiance and we pledged to the Christian Flag. I looked over at our children and I was such a proud Mama because there were our three kids, with hand on their heart, in unison with the rest of us. We say the Pledge of Allegiance everyday before we start our school day.
Then we sang some great American Patriotic songs such as: God Bless America, My Country Tis of Thee, and Onward Christian Soldier. With tears in my eyes (all patriotic songs make me weepy. I’m not sure why but they do) I looked back over to my kids again and much to my shock, one of them was sitting down not singing and not paying much attention. I realized right then and there that I had failed in teaching our children to stand up and honor our America. They knew how to honor the flag in the Pledge of Allegiance but were not familiar with the Patriotic Songs or the respect to be given during these songs. I realized that some of the most important songs about our country, that have such a profound meaning, they had no idea what any of the words were. Let alone the meaning of these great songs.
Memorial Day is highly celebrated and a big honor at our church. You see, the Pastor was not born an American. He became an American. He is probably the most proud person of our great country that I have ever met.
The choir paid tribute to each branch of service by singing each Song of the Armed Forces and had all who had served stand up for their branch. Breath taking, I tell you.
We also had a guest speaker who was an active Sgt. in the Army and served in Iraq while also being an active United States Senator . He was wonderful!
His words rang through my head when he said “We owe our troops a country worth fighting for.” and “We owe our troops a freedom worth fighting for.”
It was a very emotional day for me. I felt such great joy to be a part of this great country along with such sadness. I felt like I failed my kids in teaching them about the inception and growth of America.
You see, it’s up to us homeschool parents to teach our children about the importance of our freedom and how we became such a great country. It’s up to us to teach our children to honor those who have served and are serving to give us our freedom. Many soldiers have died for our freedom much like Jesus Christ. I have taught our children about the sacrifices of Our Savior. Now I have to teach them of the sacrifices of these great soldiers.
So often, Memorial Day gets looked at as a day off, or a time to barbecue or retailers have huge sales. I want to be sure that our kids don’t grow up with this mind set. The Holiday has a much greater meaning.
What I have taken away from realizing I FAILED!
- Even if you do decide to wait to formally teach History to your children, you can always take the opportunity to teach Patriotic Songs and Meanings around Important United States Holidays.
- You can use the Observed U.S. Holiday to do a quick study of who wrote such profound Patriotic Songs.
- Take the week of the holiday and do a mini unit study on the meaning of the U.S. Holiday and why we observe it.
- Discover who recognized the day as a National Holiday.
- Learn one new Patriotic Song for each U.S. Holiday
- Do a craft in honor of the holiday.
I’m sure you can think of more activities and ideas. These were just a few examples of the many ways you can do a mini or quick study of U.S. History by using the Observed Holidays as your guide.
I realized that day that I had failed our children in not taking the time to teach them the Patriotic Songs that help to remind us of the great freedoms and the great country we line in.
Do you use the U.S. Holidays to teach U.S. History?