Monday, July 28, 2014

Social Studies Unschool-Style

When it comes the easiest subjects to unschool, I'd have to say social studies and history top the list.  You can't turn around without bumping into them.  And, in this age of electronic media, so much of history is ready to play out in our living rooms, with just the click of a mouse.

This morning for instance, T(age 16) was up before the others, and plopped down next to me on the couch just as I was turning on the computer to catch up on the morning's news.

Paging through the headlines on AOL led us into an article on North Korea threatening the a nuclear strike against the White House and Pentagon, which contained the following quote from Hwang Pyong-So, director of the North Korean military's General Political Bureau:

"If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival... our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon - the sources of all evil."

T was taken back by the harshness of the rhetoric.  I reminded him that it hasn't been that long since our own president was calling the Soviet Union the "Evil Empire".  On a whim I googled "Reagan's evil empire speach", and we spent the next half hour watching it.

It's an amazing speech, if you haven't ever watched the entire thing, I'd encourage it. It's hard to imagine how our philosophy of government could have changed so much in the short time since it was made.  Of course, that thought led us to a clip of presidential candidate Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1992...

...and, in fairness to the man, a quick clip of a more grown-up post-presidential Clinton on Fox News.

Then, just for fun we clicked a side video, and joined Robin Williams for a look forward, and look back at the beginning of the Obama presidency.

Which led us nicely back into today's headlines:

"Robin Williams Checks Into Rehab For Continued Sobriety"

By which time, the others were up, and ready for breakfast.


Bailey said...

Technology is great for exploring interests right away. In this part of the country you can't leave your house without finding traces of Colonial and Revolutionary War history. My home town did a tour to celebrate their 375th anniversary this year and it was wonderful to see how many families turned out to enjoy the day.

Over the past few summers I took my Mom and inlaws to historical sites they never visited in all the years they lived here, but finally visted with grandkids.

min said...

That's so sad about Robin Williams. Did not know he was struggling with addiction. He's such a wonderful comedian.

raventhreads said...

Loved this post as I was reading this morning, and if my children were old enough to understand, I might share it with them. :-) The beginning of your post reminded me why almost all of the non-review related "schooling" in our house is science, social studies or art!!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

My favorite social studies class was one where every Friday we got to summarize the week's current events. This reminded me of that.

Ticia said...

History really can be unschooled so easily. I hadn't really thought about that, of course I'm also a big fan of chronological to see how it builds on itself....

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

Reagan speech certainly brought me back to my own youth and growing as part of an "Evil Empire". It seems that we are heading back that way with the current US-Russia relationships. A lot of things for our kids to learn from as they make their own mark on this world.