NOTE: This was originally published here on January 8, 2016.
Note: I’m taking some time working on a more “scholarly” article, so here’s something a little fluffier just for fun in the mean time.
It always troubles me when someone bemoans history as a boring school subject in which they were forced to memorize useless dates and names. I have a BA in history, and I’m certain I could not recite even basic so-called “important” historical dates. For me, the value of history is in its lessons and stories.
Putting aside the problem with unqualified or disinterested coaches dominating social science classes (granted, there are some phenomenal coach-teachers), too many teachers teach history wrong. Dates are important and useful, but they’ll never be as interesting as knowing the honest and unfiltered stories of our nation and world. (I highly recommend James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me for an introduction to the world of textbook-less history.)
Even with a disdain for the classroom version of history, anyone can find an interesting story in the branches of their own family tree.