I was pleased with this post and happy to be learning more about American History. I just read a post at Farm School that makes me question the accuracy of non fiction historical picture books. I feel duped and upset that there are glaring inaccuracies in many of the history books for children. Now what? As stated below, my understanding of history is limited at best. How am I to determine what is fact and what is fictionalized? Becky's post is well worth reading if you are home schooling.
One of the myriad reasons that I want to home school is that I went through my entire education without learning and retaining the most basic knowledge of the world. For instance, I have a sloppy understanding of American History. I have a fair understanding of the country's time line and the basic facts but not the subtle details of the people and events. The three books pictured above all written by James Cross Giblin offer a quick and holistic understanding of three important characters in early American History. I enthusiastically recommend each one. My favorite of the three was Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography. After reading the book I knew more about his whole life and the sequence of the events in his life. I grasped his passion for education and the building of the University of Virginia. I should be ashamed to admit that I learned Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in two weeks and that he was John Adams' Vice President. At the end of each book there is a page of important dates and a page of quotes and writings. Of course, The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin had the best quotes. My favorite quote from the book was "To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals". To think yet another study proclaims new findings that Franklin understood more than 250 years ago. I did not like George Washington: A Picture Book Biography as well as the other two. The book focused on Washington as a war hero and did not really detail any of his accomplishments as President. I was pleased to learn that he freed all his slaves after his and Martha's death. The illustrations by Michael Dooling are marvelous. It is almost like being in the National Gallery. Many of the illustrations are truly a work of art.
I know there are a few of you planning great American History learning vacations this summer. I am looking forward to reading about your adventures. I am not sure how to do it but one thing I want to do in home schooling is to give my children a real sense of history. I want them to have experiences that solidify their knowledge and perhaps my own. There are days when I think I should rename this blog Reeducating Nina.