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Teaching History Without A Textbook

When most adults think back to their history classes in school, they remember boring lectures and dry textbooks full of endless facts to be memorized for a test (and later forgotten). But history doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t have to depend on a textbook. There are many ways to teach history that will fully engage students and show them that history is fascinating!

Of course here at Heirloom Audio we love to use exciting Audio Adventures to teach history. But we also recognize there are other great ways to teach your child history without having to use a boring (and often biased) textbook. Here are a few of our favorite methods:

Primary Sources
Instead of reading someone else’s re-telling of the Declaration of Independence or the Emancipation Proclamation, read the actual document! Don’t just discuss the Constitution. Read it! Read the diaries of pioneers. Read first-hand accounts of important events. There is so much information online now that you don’t have to travel to libraries and archives far away. Learning can be right at your fingertips!

You can find a documentary on almost any historical subject. It is easy to order them from the library or stream them online. For some students, watching a documentary will be the best way to solidify the information in their brain.

Historical Sites and Markers
Nearly every community has historical sites and markers. Even if you can’t afford to travel away from home, there are probably many sites and markers within an hour or two of your home. All you have to do is seek them out. Make this part of your next vacation and sneak a little history into family time and play time.

There are many magazines that feature treasure troves of historical information. Some are more scholarly, while others are written by contributors who share bits and pieces of their life in the past (such as Reminisce). These can be fun to read with children!

New Audio Adventure Tells The Civil War Story Of Courage, Honor, and Duty

Photographs and Memorabilia
There are large collections of photographs and memorabilia available online. Nearly every large library and museum in the country has a virtual collection that is available for free on their website. These will include everything from newspapers clippings and election memorabilia to political cartoons and telegrams. Dive in and see what you can discover!

Speeches give us a glimpse into what was important during each time period. They are an excellent source of vocabulary words to explore as they typically represent the buzzwords of that time.

For more recent history, set up times to interview people who lived through certain events. Grandparents and great-grandparents are an excellent place to start. Hearing in person and first-hand from real people is a powerful way to learn about history.

Living Books
Living books are written in such a way that they draw the reader into the story. History comes alive in a fresh way when reading quality books that don’t focus on reciting dry facts, but provide the same information in an engaging narrative.

Research Project
Perhaps the best way to tie all of this together is to assemble a research project. This can range from simple to complex – depending on the age of the student and the topic of study. Notebooking pages, a display board, or a comic book are all great ways for students to bring together what they have learned in a culminating project.

Show your students how interesting history can be. Forget about the textbook and dive into the world of real history!

New Audio Adventure Tells The Civil War Story Of Courage, Honor, and Duty

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