We understand that past is prologue. It is critical that we teach our children to understand where they have come from so they can see the path ahead more clearly and so they can recognize the value of the principles of liberty and the need to defend them.
There is so much to be learned from so many sources including: documents and other primary sources, books that contain the ideas and experiences of those who were there or were closer chronologically than we are, and our elders who are still living and have so much wisdom to share.
Here are some of the ways we study history:
- I read accounts of various historians alone and with my children.
- When we travel we visit the historical sites surrounding our location.
- We watch carefully selected videos. Libraries have a lot of great movies, but be careful to check reviews for appropriate content and to figure out how much truth is in the movie. A lot of videos are historically inaccurate, but that can give you an opportunity to discuss the fact that most historians have a pretty clear bias and that studying multiple versions of any given story can help you to form a better picture of reality.
- We have participated in reenactment at a local historical park, which has helped us to understand, appreciate and learn from the past and to appreciate what we have now.
- We have attended reenactments.
- We cook foods, do craft projects and listen to music that come from different time periods and locations.
- A few years ago, my family and some friends were able to visit with one of the pilots who flew over Ploesti (the Romanian oil fields) and dropped the first bombs that hit the oil refineries there during WWII. I could have listened to him talk for hours more. Even my “anti-history” 13 year old was fascinated.
Studying history has increased my feelings of vulnerability, gratitude and humility. It is incredible to me that so many people survived–physically and, to a large extent, emotionally–the horrors of war, tyrants and the Great Depression.
Here are a few of the books that have enlightened me:
The Story of Liberty, Charles C. Coffin
Count Luckner, the Sea Devil, Lowell Thomas (great for ages 10-adult)
Ploesti: The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August, 1943, Dugan and Stewart
The Bridge at Andau, James Michener
Poland, James Michener
The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Men to Match My Mountains, Irving Stone
No Promises in the Wind, Irene Hunt (great for pre-teens and teens)
God’s Smuggler, Brother Andrew
We Were Not Alone, Roper and Reece
It is my hope that enough people can learn from history that we and our posterity will not be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.