This is why we teach history, first of all, instead of modern social studies, and why we teach it with living books!
From the Forward to Hendrik Willem Van Loon’s History with a Match: Being an Account of the Earliest Navigators and the Discovery of America:
TO ALL GROWN-UPS:
This little book is an historical appetizer. It does not intend to give children all the facts about all the events of all the earliest discoveries of Greenland and Iceland and America. It merely says,
Dear Children: History is the most fascinating and entertaining and instructive of arts. It tells us of men of great courage and people who knew how to die for their convictions. It shows us how very difficult it is to achieve anything in this world and how we have to work for everything we want to accomplish. And it teaches us that our own little worries are mere trifles compared to the discouragement which other men and women have suffered and have overcome without assistance from the outside.
Once the child understands that history does not consist of the heterogeneous dates and the stereotyped patriotic deeds of the average textbook he may take to reading history for the fun of it. He may acquire a taste for a pastime as valuable as playing the piano or studying poetry. There is nothing practical about history, and the new school of pedagogues who expect to distill culture out of plumbing and boilermaking may succeed in excluding history from the school curriculum. A great many historians help this process along by turning history into a sacred substance administered to the masses in large but indigestible doses.
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