History really is a story. And most children remember stories much better than bare facts. If you have used our free history studies and are looking for a next step, you might enjoy A Beginner’s History by William H. Mace.
Mace was an American history professor at Syracuse University when he wrote the book. He was the author of many historical works including Method in History for Teachers and Students where he outlines his beliefs that teaching history is best done by appealing to principles and working through history in an organized way, as it is through this type of study that the student will form his beliefs.
The material out of which the child pictures history lies all about him. When he learns to handle objects or observes men and other beings act, he is gathering material to form images for the stories you tell him, or those he reads. So supple and vigorous is the child’s imagination that he can put this store of material to use in picturing a fairy story, a legend, or a myth.
From this same source—his observation of the people and things about him—he gathers simple meanings and ideas of his own. He weaves these meanings and ideas, in part, into the stories he reads or is told. From the cradle to the grave he should exercise this habit of testing the men and institutions he studies by a comparison with those he has seen.
In A Beginner’s History, the reader will begin with Leif Erickson and progress rather quickly through World War I. At the end, we backtrack to Europe and learn where early American settlers came from.
At the end of each section are helpful notes: Suggestions Intended to Help the Pupil. These include main points, study questions, and suggested readings (many of which you will easily find online). Perhaps the best use of the leading facts is to guide Mom while the student narrates what was read. It may also help to break the sections up into smaller readings, requiring a narration after each, rather than waiting until the end of the entire section.
A Beginner’s History focuses on story and biography and should encourage the student to reach for learning more through other books and biographies and by adding other elements of a thorough history study.
Great addition to the library — and free!
10 Elements of Engaging History Studies
Ways to flesh out your studies.