10 September, 2013

Learning history through fiction

I'm having fun reading to my boys again, slipping them some history in the guise of an Australian fiction book. (I've mentioned the Billabong series before here.)

We took a break for several months, but are now back with the fourth of the series. This is set in 1914, at the start of WWI. It's great because it's brought up all sorts of interesting discussions like: international travel before aeroplanes, life without electricity, and WWI itself.

The characters in the book take a cruise ship from Australia to England, via South Africa, in order to attend to business "in the home country" and also for the two young men to join the British military and "do their bit".

Having been on an overnight ferry twice this summer, we have some feel for life on a boat, so that's grabbed the boys' attention. As has all sorts of details about German warships and the like. It's been a fun journey to see the boys struggle to attend to the story at the beginning (being older style, there was lots of description and "scene setting" at the beginning), to now, listening intently to hear what's coming next.

Here is the clever bit: I was at the school library on Friday and happened upon this great book in the elementary section. It's got lots of well presented details, photos, maps and illustrations. Our 14 y.o. read it from cover-to-cover. His comment at one point, "It's like a real-life Risk game!"

I love it. They're getting history with their entertainment! It also helps meals along when we're struggling for non-combative conversation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done! Inspiring kids to love history is great, gets them thinking through issues and comparing our lives with others. All great stuff. Ros