Middle School American History 2: How’d It Go?

Columbus Discovers America. More or less, depending on the historian.

Friday was Day 2 in the American History Class at Diablo Valley School. Went OK. 2 kids couldn’t make it (out of town, but they had arranged for their friends to get the materials for them) and one of the staff who audited last time dropped out, so we had 6 student. 3 girls, 3 boys, age run from about 13 to 17 – so, maybe this is high school history. Doesn’t really change anything.

Started with a map showing the approximate territories occupied by various tribes at the time of first serious European discoveries, mostly to point out where it was clearly wrong – today’s major lesson was: consider the source, check it out yourself. (This is a serious issue with the early explorers: Columbus: hero or murderer? Drake:  brave explorer or bloodthirsty pirate? Cortez: liberator or a man consumed with greed? Depends on who you’re asking – and even then, even after the out and out lies have been accounted for, the truth may not be well presented by any one perspective.) Talked about sources – you don’t have to to trust everybody, you don’t have to trust me. You can look it up.

Then, ripped through the early explorers, with an emphasis on those setting foot in what is now the US. Cabotto, Desoto, Coronado, Spanish exploration of the Southeast and Southwest. Finished up with Jamestown and the Pilgrims, with emphasis on what it meant to get a royal charter and a couple of the fun characters -Pocahantis, Squanto, John Smith.

Started to say that there was a common theme among early English settlers, and a young lady jumped in: they were really stupid? Absolutely! It was near-miraculous as many survived as did.

This week: colonial period. Man, am I ripping through this.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

2 thoughts on “Middle School American History 2: How’d It Go?”

    1. Well, the kids have shown up so far, so they can’t hate it too bad. My beloved wife told me not to be so nervous – me? Nervous?

      Now we get to eras where I’m going to need to do a little research, because I can never keep the players straight. But it is fun. Thank God for Google.

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