Monday, April 2, 2012

My love affair with biographies

Blog Cruise time again.  I really want to be participating in these, but somehow it always sneaks past me.  Yes, I've said that before and I'm saying it again...

You can read what I have to say... and come back tomorrow to see what other TOS Homeschool Crew members wrote by clicking on the button...

The question:  What is your favorite history resource?

When I was in elementary school, I remember a whole lot of boring history textbooks.  I can't say I remember much that was actually in those textbooks.  What I do remember though is that whenever I could get the librarian to allow me to (which wasn't often -- she wanted me to read Hop on Pop and the like, as non-fiction was "inappropriate for 6 year olds"), I would go to the biographies and I would pick someone who looked interesting.

I started with George Washington, because we celebrate his birthday right before mine.  Then Abraham Lincoln.  With both of these presidents, I read every biography I could get my hands on, between the school library and the public library downtown (when I could wheedle Mom into taking me!)  Somewhere in there, I discovered Deborah Sampson (picked her because of her first name) and read everything I could find about her too.

From there, I started reading about other people I recognized from the biographies of these three.  I probably ended up reading every biography in our school library, which did get easier as I got older as eventually I didn't have to fight to be allowed to look at them.

A curious thing happened 'round 'bout 3rd grade.  The horrid boring history books started to -- very occasionally -- tell me something about one of these people that I didn't already know.  "Knowing" these people from biographies and autobiographies gave me something to care about in the boring texts.  I started at least sort of piecing American history together in spite of the textbooks.

Years and years and years later, as I'm starting to homeschool my kids, it was those memories floating in my subconscious, that led us to start using Sonlight.  I was drawn to the historical fiction, I thought.  But it was more than that, I realized eventually.  I was drawn to the STORY.  The biographies especially.

So my favorite history resource?  The library and its biography section.

We've changed history programs a time or two, but I always, always end up returning to one that includes (or that makes it easy for me to add) biography.

What are your favorite history resources?  You can read what my Crewmates think-- starting tomorrow -- at the Crew page!


i cant decide said...

I agree! Thanks for supporting my dislike of History textbooks. Like it's my cause or something, lol.

Anonymous said...

Reading good historical fiction is another way to enjoy history. Even though I have co-authored a history textbook, I agree that most are less than interesting. It's just the nature of textbooks,i.e., one darn thing after another and lots of dates and names of dead people.

Christa said...

Dropping by to make sure I am following all from the Crew!

Library is the best resource for ANY subject ~ FREE ~ and that's only one good reason!!

Fairfield Corner Academy

Kym said...

I absolutely love reading biographies! And the library is a great resource for any subject, isn't it? 8-)