Monday, February 18, 2008

Textbooks & Education

One of the reasons that I'm interested in developing curriculum is that I'm convinced that we need to end our reliance on textbooks to teach history. Here's the reason.

1. History is gripping riveting stories of empires in balance, public trust betrayed, unlikely heros, tragic downfalls, economic realities, and the march of ideas and progress. It's gritty real-world stuff which told properly, is amazing.

2. Textbooks are committee-created sanitized versions of what some conservative committee felt that history should have been. Almost everything that is interesting seems to disappear in the process. All the drama is replaced with dry factual analysis.

Why does this happen? I'm not sure.
How do I know it happens? Read any decent novel or watch any historical film. Compare it with a so-called educational textbook. Which one has a chance of holding anyone's interest?

So, I'd like to develop some history curriculum in which the "curriculum textbook" connects the dots between popular novels and films which tell the story. And while a school system would surely seek to avoid such an approach, I think the homeschoolers would adopt it in droves.


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