Historical facts I did not know...did you?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    On our little vacation, I took Wee and Cgfg to the Alamo.

    Cgfg couldn't have cared less. Wee didn't get it. Thought the place was cool, but the fact that it was real just wasn't soaking in.

    Fast forward 15 days. He came in the house and flipped on the tv to see the very end of the John Wayne movie The Alamo.

    "Mom! Mom! You know that house where those people holed up and defended their home and got killed?" (uh, no...?) "You know, where we went in Texas?" (oh, the Alamo?) "Yeah! There! JOHN WAYNE WAS THERE, TOO!!!! Isn't that COOL!"

    I laughed my tail off.

    I also explained that it was a movie and John Wayne was playing Davey Crockett, and Davey Crockett was a real person who really was at the Alamo and really was killed there. We then proceeded to have a 5 minute conversation about the story of the Alamo, and he really DID get the signifcance of the place, then. He asked to watch the whole movie when it was on again, and I let him. He pointed out and referenced things he saw that were shown in the movie, and I think he did "get" it...which was pretty cool.
  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Shari, the same thing happened with easy child. We were driving through Mississippi and husband who is a bit of a fan of history drove through the site of the Battle of Vicksburg. easy child listened and watched but when they covered that battle a month later in class, the light bulb went on. It was a really important learning opportunity. It made history a living thing vs. some dry facts.
    Taking him to the Alamo did a good thing for your Wee. Learning happens in strange ways doesn't it?
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I've had some similar stuff happen. A few years back I took the kids to Sunwatch, which is a local archaeological site. They thought it was cool, but - who really cared.

    Until Onyxx met someone at school who was a descendant (this year). And suddenly? She's REALLY. FASCINATED.

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think thats why I know so much revolutionary war and earlier history. I was born and raised in Richmond VA and my parents were from Boston Mass. I think I have been to every war thing in both states! I cant tell you how many times I have been to Boston Harbor or recited the Paul Revere poem. Then we went to Williamsburg and Jamestown so many times I practically knew the place by heart.

    I still fight the Jamestown vs Plymouth Rock fight...lol.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We do similar things with our kids. Now just difficult child 3.

    Something that is worth doing with a difficult child especially if he's at all computer-savvy, is when you're going to a place like this, arrange with his class teacher to get difficult child to do a photo journal of the trip. It has really helped difficult child 3 to 'get' stuff, as far as he has been able. We collect brochures, we take photos (get difficult child 3 to take photos) and then each evening, we would get difficult child 3 to write up the day's events. INformation from brochures gave more specific data. Then on his return to school, difficult child 3 put photos and text together and printed it out, putting it in a presentation folder and taking it to school.

    We first did this when we went on holiday just after we transferred difficult child 3 to correspondence school. His correspondence teacher gave us some maths work and a book to read, but otherwise his schoolwork for the two weeks was this journal.

    We now have these files on computer and difficult child 3 sometimes opens them to read them. It helps him get back in touch with what we did on the trip.

    For younger kids, you do this for them and present it in a similar presentation folder, it then works like a sort of social story/"about me" adventure.

    We've used this when travelling around Tasmania (including a lot of historic sites and wildlife sites) and then again when we spent nearly a month in New Zealand. We actually went to some places for the education value. Rotarua, Milford Sound, Mt Cook, Mt Ruapehu with Whakepapa Village on its slopes (the only ski resort in the world on the side of an active volcano), various cultural presentations, a few museums (including a wonderful one with some great displays on vulcanism). When you're there sitting on the edge of a lake and you can see steam rising, you know you're experiencing vulcanism.

    When we visited Port Arthur in Tasmania, it was a bit bizarre. difficult child 3 knew nothing of its history, he could barely take in its convict history. But in more recent years it was the site of Australia's worst mass killing and it was so bad they people will not mention the name of the killer. The slaughter itself is barely mentioned at the back of the brochure and the memorial is discreet. difficult child 3 had no idea, but kept saying nevertheless, "We've got to get out of here. Something bad is going to happen, I can feel it." The creepy thing was, the places he was getting most upset by were not the ones with the bloody convict history, they were the sites of the worst parts of the massacre - the car park, the site of the old cafe.
    The place is beautiful with gardens and lovely old buildings, he was saying this as soon as we arrived and before he had been told anything. So he wasn't very receptive. However, since we've been home he's seen stories on the convict history and the images of Port Arthur, and been able to follow the information. But the story of the massacre, we were only able to tell him recently. It did not feature in his report at all.
    The murderer is still a young man, but will never be released.

    One interesting thing we did - we were in Tasmania in 2005. One day we drove south and visited an island where there are huge stands of temperate rainforest, really ancient forests from before Australia split form New Zealand. The old forests of Gondwanaland, the Southern Beech forests. We took lots of photos and walked in the forests. Then two years later in New Zealand (across the Tasman) we went to Milford Sound and on the way drove through the same forests. Southern Beech forests where the land was once in one piece, now in two pieces with the Tasman Sea dividing it. Absolutely amazing. There is so much rainfall in the NZ forests near Milford, that the annual rainfall there is measure in metres. The road was covered in moss and algae.

    Going places really can make more of an impression on our kids than it seems at the time.