Learning Tip: Human Time Machines
By Susan Dichter
As they begin to learn about history in school, childen get very inquisitive about the "old days." Since they don't have time machines, kids usually quiz their parents. Parents share whatever memories they have, but often times, our kids want to know more. They want details.
When this happens, you can send your child to the library or online for more information. Or, for a change—one that will stretch a young child's mind and skills—why not suggest that she research the matter herself? If, for example, she wants to know about the day President Kennedy was shot, she can interview a number of adults—grandma, neighbors, and family friends—and find out what they remember. Where were they? How did they feel?
Encourage her to videotape these interviews. When she is done, ask her to talk about what she has learned. Did she find that memories differ? If so, she has had an invaluable introduction to the historian's art!
Susan Dichter wears many hats—mother, writer, former teacher, museum director, and librarian; her books include Teachers: Straight Talk from the Trenches.
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