Five History Teaching Strategies
by Beverley Paine
This article was first published in the Winter 2011 issue of Stepping Stones for Home Educators, HEA members' magazine.
1. Learning by Doing
The doing of a task by children prepares them for life beyond childhood. By letting them 'have a go' and practice a wide range of skills children gain confidence in their abilities and learn responsibility. Children happily engage in hands-on history activities that were daily tasks for our ancestors or are performed by people living in other cultures today. Cultivate the motto 'learning by doing, not reviewing!'
2. Incidental Learning
Being around when certain activities happen, or in the vicinity when information is being offered to others, can impart incidental learning. Without effort children seem to pick up knowledge and understanding, often not knowing where or how they came by it. Capitalise on this by personally taking an interest in history knowing that your children are quietly observing and learning.
3. Learning by Reflection
Help your children gain different perspectives by modelling a questioning approach to learning. Help them develop ways to think and talk about situations. Spend time each day musing with your children about the past, present and future!
4. Be a Storyteller
Good teachers are good storytellers. Embedding knowledge and information in stories aids memory and understanding. Read quality 'living books' together and talk about the characters and action to bring history to life. Create and tell your own stories.
5. Learning by Exploring
As children get involved in hands-on activities they naturally generate questions. Make time to answer your children's questions when they ask them and continue the conversation, exploring the topic for as long as they want or need. Explore possible answers as well as helping them research correct answers - this helps to develop their imaginations.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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