The days of school are flying by! And speaking of time...we have spent a large part of our week focused on times past.
One of the projects I wanted to use to wrap up our study of history this year was the creation of an illustrated time line. This year we had two separate focuses, ancient history and early American history. For ancient history, we primarily used Susan Wise Bauer's book, The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times. This book takes you from early nomadic cultures up until the time of the end of the Roman Empire. That is a LOT of material to cover in one year. In the back of the book there is a time line of all the major events covered. We chose 20 from the list and put together our time line. This was a great review for our year in history. It was also a good art activity!
I really like the drawing of the runner going from Marathon to Athens. Look at the little puff of air coming out of his mouth. According to the legend, after running the 26 miles with news of the victory, Pheidippides collapsed and died. I certainly would!
We also spent some time this week studying local history. Our area was home to a British fort, built in the 1700s. It played a role during both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. There is a small museum run by a local historical society that I had never visited, in spite of the fact that I have lived in this area my whole life. This week, I took the boys on a field trip to see it. The Hunter House Museum is a small but incredibly interesting place to visit. We were the only visitors that day. In fact, the librarian in the historical society's library, had to come turn on the lights for us. However, we soon had a personalized tour given by the director of the museum.
She shared many interesting stories and facts about the site. The only remaining portions of the original fort are the well and the powder magazine. One thing I learned was that after the fort had been dismantled, the land was given to the commander. For a short time, the powder magazine served as a local prison. Would you want to have to go down into that dark hole?
Later that evening, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who teaches history at the local middle school. I asked her if local history is ever taught in the schools. She told me that it is never covered. She also told me that they are working to remove ALL history from the elementary levels. We talked about how we live in such a history rich region and how much these kids are missing when they never learn about it. Our local leaders worry about kids growing up and leaving the area for better jobs. Maybe the kids see our region as nothing special. Maybe some knowledge of the wonderful depth of what we have here would increase the pride in our community. Maybe a little more time spent learning out in the real world, instead of behind a desk every day, could help bring history to life.