"I hope you do this not just because it will make you a better citizen, and it will; not just because you will learn a great deal about human nature and about cause and effect in your own lives, as well as the life of the nation, which you will; but as a source of strength, as an example of how to conduct yourself in difficult times—and we live in very difficult times, very uncertain times.
"But I hope you also find history to be a source of pleasure. Read history for pleasure as you would read a great novel or poetry or go to see a great play.
"And I hope when you read about the American Revolution and the reality of those people that you will never think of them again as just figures in a costume pageant or as gods. They were not perfect; they were imperfect—that’s what’s so miraculous.
"They rose to the occasion as very few generations ever have." ~David McCullough
5 Lessons about Studying History
Don't worry about memorizing dates and quotations. What matters is what happens and why.
1) Learn our history that happened before the Declaration of Independence.
2) Don't just learn history through books and teachers. Learn history through music, going to plays, doing drawings, learning about architecture, and so on.
3) Use the lab technique. (One teacher does this by having students study statues.)
Give students a photograph or show them a building, a street corner, or neighborhood. Make a mini-documentary or write a play or paper about it. Let students figure things out.
4) Let students work with original documents or the nearest facsimile possible. Help them realize these were written by real people.
5) Take them to historic sites and places where things happen. They'll never forget it.
Share your love of history. Attitudes aren't taught, they're caught.