Revolutions: Self-Taught History

My younger, now ten,  is in the midst of a Revolutionary War (the American kind) binge.  He’s been not so patiently waiting to start his third semester of American History courses via Online G3 — the course that covers the bulk of that war and covers Joy Hakim’s History of US (second half of volume 3 – 5). His excitement started to build when his fall US History class covered the French and Indian War, and he’s spent much of the last month and a half devouring everything he can on that time period.

History has been my younger’s primary interest since he was five, when he fell in love with all things Ancient Greek and Roman.  From there, he moved to the Middle Ages, then to the American Revolution, the Civil War, and, by nine, to both World Wars.  For the last few years, he shuffles the mix, moving from era to era when he feels the need. Initially, his interest was in the battles, which he reenacted endlessly in our living room with a deep armory of duct tape weaponry and occasional costumes.  Some battles require review with Risk soldiers on a table reserved for that purpose (these can be purchased en masse on Ebay, thank goodness).  Woe to the one who bumps that table when the troops are in formation.

Over the past year or so, his interest in the politics of the times has increased. He’s always excelled at spotting trends between the centuries and has no delusion that the United States, young as it is, is an invincible, permanent power. He’s highly critical of leaders of ancient and more modern eras, ready to point out military faux pas and leadership disasters.  He has a strong opinion — and generally well thought-out reasoning — about just about everything. (Like his preferred outcome of the Revolutionary War.  Ask him, but have some time to listen.)

For now, we’re deep in the American Revolution.  He’s burned through a fair amount of material during that time, and I thought I’d share his reading and viewing lists:

Books

Videos

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2 thoughts on “Revolutions: Self-Taught History

  1. I forget how old your younger is (or at what level, if that’s a more appropriate query), so I’m wondering about the book choices. My DD (10) is sort of focusing on American History this year and is coming up on the American (and French) revolutions, but I haven’t tried reading the Hakim books with her. I have the Lawson books on hand to use. I had planned to use a History of US with my 8th grader but he’s at a charter school (so far, so good) this year, instead.

    Have you seen The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin? I think I remember seeing that it won some awards in 2011. I think *I* might give that a go if I can find it at the library.

    • He’s ten but for language arts/history, he’s further along by far. (I’m never sure how to answer that question. He’s somewhere between 2 and 68 depending on the topic). The Hakim books are written for middle schoolers, so depending on your daughter’s reading ability, they may be fine now. When my older son was seven, we read them aloud, allowing time for me to put them in context and check his comprehension.

      We have The Notorious Benedict Arnold out from the library, but he chose the other to start with. It may have satisfied his Arnold interest (he’s writing a paper on Arnold), but I’ll keep it out from our library for a bit longer just in case. To me, it looks more user-friendly than Murphy’s biography. I’m a bit Arnolded out, given the steady stream of one-way conversation about the man the past four weeks, so I’ll likely pass.

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