Do you ever stop to think about history? Do you ever stop to consider how interconnected everything is? It can be a fascinating exercise.
So here’s the context that I’m working out of. Somehow, it didn’t occur to me that there would be a social studies component to kindergarten. While I hadn’t thought about it, the Pledge of Allegiance was not a surprise to me. Then Harry started singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Then I started hearing about Veterans Day and Columbus. Somewhere in there it clicked that Harry was starting to learn about history and our country, even on a simplistic level.
Well, as I’m always on a quest to broaden his horizons, I showed Harry the first two episodes of Liberty’s Kids, the excellent PBS cartoon about the Revolutionary War. He was clearly transfixed, and as the second set of credits rolled, I looked at my wide-eyed son and asked him how much he understood.
“None of it,” he said, somewhat breathlessly.
As I put him to bed, he asked me what was going on in the show, which had opened with the Boston Tea Party. Well, I was at a loss to figure out where to start. I mean you can’t just start with the colonies. Colonialism was born out of the Age of Discovery. The Age of Discovery was born of the Renaissance, which, fuelled by the Gutenberg Bible and the printing press, led to the the reformation. Of course, the reformation would not have been a big deal were it not for the power that the Roman Catholic church amassed during the medieval period following the fall of the Roman Empire.
Arghh! Where to start? Well, Harry has a few reference points. He has Sunday School, so I refer to “when Jesus” lived. He’s read at lease one Magic Treehouse book set inMedieval Ireland. Those are two reference points. For the Age of Discovery, we have The Mysterious Cities of Gold as another refernce.
So what did I tell hime tonight? Well, I touched on the age of discovery and had him go to sleep. That’s a start.