WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL?
Anyone who knows me knows I love history. It permeates most of what I do, whether reading, travel, or Google searches. When we moved to Germany, we were excited to rent a house built in 1705. It is still in the same family but is not the oldest in the village, with others dating from 1565.
In school, many of my elective courses were history classes. Over the years, I’ve noticed that history rarely tops the list when
you ask people their favorite subjects in school. It often falls near the bottom, with only math ranking below it for many people. I liked math in school, but I am not passionate about it as I am about history.
So, why is it that history rates so low? I suspect the answer lies in how it is taught. I remember my school days memorizing multiplication tables and reciting them. History has often been taught in the same method; learning names and dates to regurgitate on an exam.
But history is about people. It involves who they were and how and where they lived. It defines who we are today. History, to me, is far more than a list of names and dates. Who decides which names and dates are important? Obviously, significant events would be included, but history involves the smaller, everyday experiences as well. These are where my interests lie.
I look back on the education of my children. My son, Ian, shares my passion for history, even continuing that line of study through university. His teachers made history come alive in his youth, even for the most obstinate student. On the other hand, my daughter, Megan, was in school when Virginia developed their Standards of Learning (SOL). Her history teachers taught them how to pass the exam. She has an excellent memory and succeeded on hers, but she did not enjoy the class. Megan’s enjoyment of the past came by traveling to historical sites, such as Colonial Williamsburg or places in Ireland, where she could see and touch the artifacts people used.
I am not a historian but a lover of history. I will admit, certain periods are more interesting to me than others. My husband, Dave, is fascinated by WWII. But it took a visit to Normandy for me to appreciate it fully. But that is a subject for another post. I hope you will enjoy my somewhat random exploration into the mysteries of history through the stories and artifacts of people who lived in a different time.
Where did history rank in your education?