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US History Lesson: Tips for Teaching Children About Their Roots

It can be difficult to connect your children with the past. Children naturally look towards the future, and few have a natural interest in what has gone on before they were born. Fortunately, there are several useful steps you can take to connect your children with the history of the United States.

Begin With the Present

While children are often curious about what happened before they were born, it’s often difficult for them to picture what that world was like. Instead of jumping right into history, try to draw out threads from today’s world. Ask your children what they think kids were like in the past, or what people might have learned in school one hundred years ago. By connecting their daily lives to those of people in the past, children can start to appreciate the fact that there was an entire world in place before they were born.

Put Together History Lessons

History is a fascinating subject, but it’s also very difficult for most children to appreciate. Instead of making them dive in alone, put together little lessons that you can teach them on long car rides. Talk about how you earned a degree in American military history.  You can also talk about specific events like the American Revolution, the Civil War, or the Civil Rights Movement when you pass important places on your daily commute. Introduce them to the library, telling them that they can find out more here about anything you talk about in your lessons. A little history can go a long way with children, especially if you make it engaging.

Take a Trip

One of the great things about living in the US is the huge number of historical sites of note. There are national parks and historical monuments all over the country, and taking your children to visit them can tell them quite a bit about the history of their region. While visiting big sites like Gettysburg or Philadelphia can be major experiences, don’t fret if you can’t leave town – odds are in favor of you being able to take a day trip to a place where your children can learn more about their roots and about the history of the United States.

It’s easier than you think to connect your children with the history of the US. Take some time to talk to them, connect their interests with what has happened in the past, and take them to see historical sites in person when you can. The more you learn together, the more your children can begin to appreciate the long road that has led to the world around them.

Tim Esterdahl

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