Teaching The Truth

I was reading a friends blog today which was partially about banned books and textbooks misrepresenting the facts. This in turn made me think of this topic.

When teaching history, I put the history books aside and used them only as a timeline. History books do not necessarily lie, but they misrepresent the truth by only telling partial facts. When we got to certain parts of history, I used other sources, such as presidential speeches. For example, if you read Lincolns speeches, he appears to be a bigot by today’s standards.

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union." - Abraham Lincolns letter to the New York Times 1862

"I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality: and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary." - Response to Senator Stephen Douglas in an 1858 debate in Ottawa, Illinois.

There are many more, but you should get the point with those two.

I prefer my children to learn a better-rounded point of view by taking a look at all sides of the matter. So far, I have been very happy with the result. Their opinions may differ from mine, but they are coming to their own conclusions based on the facts, which is the important thing.

My two oldest children who are 14 and 17 can explain the importance of the constitution and tell you what every amendment is and what it means. My youngest daughter, who is 11, is learning it right now.

Right now, my 14 year old son is working on writing persuasive essays. The most recent topic that I gave him was homeschool vs. public school, but he decided it was boring and came up with his own topic. He chose to write it about the Patriot Act. I printed it out for him and he has been dissecting it. When he doesn't know what a particular word means he looks it up. As he has been reading it, he comes to me in awe showing me which amendment it breaks. He actually has a real interest in this subject. Being a constitutionalist, this makes me very proud.
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7 Responses Mar 13, 2012

This makes me think of the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser. They provided an alternative perspective on history that's absolutely fascinating to read.<br />
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Harry Flashman was the bully in "Tom Brown's Schooldays"; a book that was written in 1857. Then, in 1960, George MacDonald Fraser wrote a series of books as if they were Flashman's memoirs. He's a liar, a cheat, a thief, a bully, a womaniser, a coward and a very selfish person. And he manages to get himself embroiled in just about every conflict and major event of the 1800s.<br />
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The books are historical fiction, with a bit of dark comedy involved. But the best thing is the twisted look at history. From Flashman's perspective, Lincoln is another rogue, Florence Nightingale is frigid and various heroic characters are actually a bit mad, over-idealistic and dangerous to be around.

There are about ten books in the series. The writer died about five years ago, which was a real shocker to me. I can definitely recommend them.

I don't see Lincoln so much as a bigot as I do a pragmatist. His goal was to preserve the union, nothing more, nothing less. We, today, may view that as being a bigot or being indifferent to the plight of the slaves at the time. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't it. I do believe he saw freeing the slaves would help bring an end to the war. So, in some ways the question is: Is doing something that is morally good for a practical reason still a good thing? <br />
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Oh and by the way good job on teaching your children to view the facts as they are and then to form opinions, not the other way around. We need critical thinkers not just people who memorize or those who throw facts out because they don't fit a preconceived opinion or idea.

you take the time.<br />
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you let them know things were not always the same.<br />
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best of all, your kids know the constitution.<br />
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you make me proud to be human.

I am rather a History scholar and have had to change my thoughts especially as new things about the wars WWI and WW2 become free.Also bear in mind social attitures change things what was accepted 100's years ago not accepted now especially in this P.C. world but I think we have gone to far when world leaders apologise for things that happened many years ago.Its past history

This is really great. I know a few families locally who home school and ALL of those kids have wayyy higher maturity and basic intelligence too. One got accepted to a ROCKIN college! So it certainly doesn't hold them back from higher Ed. If anything they learn to love learning and are eager to go onto to college and actually LEARN some more!!

I love how really "progressive" this sounds. Letting them have some control early on lessens that whole rebellious thing later on too!

I was amazed to read what A. Lincoln have really written. never found that here in Europe. Information is always manipukated.<br />
Nice Your daughter have interest in law and constitution. Sure could became a specialist if she want.. :)

Ooops, sorry.. mismatch.. Grrr... Ha, ha..; engineer as Julie.. Nice job but needs lot of math. Could have some help maybe and sure good motivation. Think You coulf fine some funny math problem on internet site. Try to browse with "funny math for kids"... nice way to like math more..lol. :)

Yes, I understand, not easy. A friend of mine had a daughter was also dyslexic...seems solved now.. She starts eng. studies also now, feel weel, good girl, courageous!

God Bless you for giving your kids a good foundation. My children are grown now but we also home schooled them. People always remarked about how much more of a topic they knew than public school kids. Makes a parent proud. And you should be proud of yours also. Thanks for sharing.