Normally, History/Araling Panlipunan is associated with memorizing facts, dates, provincial capitals,etc., and learning about dead things. This is why the young ones tend to dread their history/Araling Panlipunan subjects, for they think that it is full of useless trivia, with no relationship with their daily lives. However, just like one of my teachers would say, history is our story, not just a series of facts with no relation to our daily lives. Here are some ways to make history interesting for the young ones, while at the same time, allowing them to learn from their past.
Visit Your Ancestral Parish
To allow the kids to appreciate history more, you, dear parents, can take them on a visit to your ancestral parish. While visiting your parish church, feel free to ask the staff if you can look at your family’s parish records. These records show the history of ordinary people, because these records give plenty of clues on how people lived in a certain town, like their relatives, cause of death, etc. For the kids, looking at these parish records will be interesting because they will get to know who their ancestors were and how they lived. Before getting them to appreciate the national heroes, it is very important to get the kids to appreciate their personal histories first.
Show Them Family Memorabilia
Another way to allow the kids to appreciate their personal histories is to show them family memorabilia, just like old pre-War coins, the ancestral diaries, and the like. These will allow them to appreciate their personal histories more because they will be exposed to how their ancestors lived their personal lives.For example, I found my great-grandfather’s diary, and it showed me how he wooed my great-grandmother, along with how he experienced the American colonial regime. Parish records are official documents, while family memorabilia makes history more personal, since the kids will really get to appreciate their immediate ancestors and how they lived.
Drop by Museums
Normally, museums are associated with old things that you cannot touch, but it is still a great idea to bring the kids to museums because it allows them to visualize how people lived before. For instance, Megaworld’s Chinatown Museum shows visitors that Binondo is much more than Chinatown, for it was the economic center of Manila as well. On the other hand, the Money Museum in the Bangko Sentral is a good place to bring the kids because they will learn how the Philippine peso evolved. This will be relevant to them because money is something we all use everyday. As a result museums are a great place to help the kids appreciate history because they show that history is much more than names and dates, for it is the story of ordinary people like you and me.
Eat in a Historic Restaurant
Even though all the other suggestions will indeed show the relevance of history to the daily lives of your children, dear parents, eating in a historic restaurant, like Barbara’s, will top all these. I’m sure the kids will really appreciate learning about history through food because eating is what brings us all together, as Filipinos and human beings. Also, I highly recommend Barbara’s because they have an amazing cultural show, which shows kids the diversity of Filipino culture. Due to this, exposing the kids to history through food served in restaurants like Barbara’s will make it more relevant for them, since mealtime is something everyone has in common, and food is a part of culture as well.
History: A Lived Experience
In the end, the notion that history is merely the study of the past is incomplete, for it is important to remember that history is our story. Thus, history is a lived experience. Follow these four tips, dear parents, and you can do a little bit of what my professor, Ambeth Ocampo, does best. He is the best at removing history from the ivory tower and making it a big part of our everyday lives. You can do this in your own families, and make history big in your lives by bringing it to the lived experience. After all, history is what shapes the way we live our everyday lives.