When my son was nine years old, he could recite every single date and event associated with The Revolutionary War.
Seriously, every one.
Somehow, our war for independence became a special interest (read: obsession) for my sweet boy.
He talked incessantly about The Boston Tea Party, The Stamp Act, and the importance of Lexington and Concord.
He could recite the entire timeline of battles and key dates.
He knew this portion of our nation’s history inside and out – at least as far as the average textbook was concerned.
Then, we went to a colonial experience at a local farm.
My son made candles and churned butter. He learned about the personalities of some of the key leaders of the time, including George Washington.
He discussed how a local family in Massachusetts might have felt when required to feed and shelter a British soldier, at the expense of their own well-being.
Years later, he doesn’t remember most of the dates, or even all the battles. But he can talk about the daily experience of a colonist during the revolutionary war.
And this matters – a lot.
Please know, in my partnership with Bright Ideas Press this year, I was compensated for this post. All opinions however, are 100% my own. I will never recommend anything that I do not find useful in my own life, with my own children. Thank you for your support of my family!
Because my son is on the spectrum, seeing things from the perspective of another, and understanding that our human nature effects decisions made, wars fought and wars avoided is a challenge for him, to be sure.
So much so, that his developmental pediatrician often asks me how I am incorporating story and biography into his studies.
All American History and My Son with Autism
Different Historical Perspectives
The text includes an account of history’s key players, and their roles in historic events, within each unit (as opposed to most textbooks that start with the dates and events, and then devote a small portion of the learning to the people involved). This is fundamentally different from any other curriculum we’ve encountered. At the end of each chapter, there is an “Impact” section that lists different historic figures and the impact they had on history. This shift in focus, towards people vs. facts, has been instrumental in helping my son expand his understanding of our history.
Focus On Real Life
All American History also includes chapters on Family Life and Colonial Culture. This furthers a more human approach to history, and gives my son greater access to “real life” examples of historic events. We have discussions about feelings and perspectives, not just the dates and facts that come more naturally to him.
Appropriate Book Lists
The teacher’s guide includes a book list to accompany each unit. Each list has books for primary, middle school and high school students. The books are well-chosen, and all relate to a personal experience of historic events. I have especially found it helpful to have the lists for younger children. Although my son is 13 years old, he is emotionally a bit little younger (asynchronous development strikes again). The book listed for younger children have sometimes been more appropriate for his level of social and emotional understanding.
American History Comes Alive
It has been a pleasure to work with Bright Ideas Press this year. All American History has exceeded my expectations in every way, particularly as it relates flexibility and ease of use with a variety of learning differences.
It’s easy to use, so much fun and a valuable educational resource – what more could a mom ask for?
More about All American History
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.