That’s me in my yellow suit jacket, except my eyes are green. I actually did have a very similar banana-yellow suit for my going-away outfit from our wedding in 1987… but I’m dating myself. I found this cute picture while searching for pictures for the cover of my binder for the class I’m teaching… Arizona History. It’s a one semester required-for-graduation course… that has the potential to be EXTREMELY boring. Really. Arizona History on a timeline of all history is about 3/4 of an inch long, well, not counting the Ancient Peoples. So my job, as it has turns out, is to make the history of Arizona come alive and be remembered forevermore in the minds of these five high school homeschoolers. No small task.
As I searched for quality curriculum…. the choices were about as small as the history itself. So I ended up finding a somewhat interesting reader… not a text at all… written for the Bicentennial celebration of our great nation. The book is short, yet stacked with quips from interesting individuals and not-so-familiar stories. Perfect. Add to that, a boatload of hands-on activities that will have the kids experiencing Arizona like never before.
During the first class, I was breezing through the planned activities and projects, so the kids would have an idea of what to expect. When I read, “Make ancient pottery replica” a hand shot up belonging to a former Ancient History student of mine. “Are you going to smash them and bury them again?” HAHA! That was the BEST activity EVER for studying archaeology! They painted their pots so carefully! And then without them knowing, I smashed and buried the shards in my barren flower beds in the backyard. When I sent them out with their tools for the dig, they were a bit surprised until the first painted pot part was uncovered. I’ve never seen so many eye-rolls in my life! And the eye-rolls continued when I told them for homework they had to glue them back together! Anyway, I’m NOT smashing pots this time.
A large map of Arizona was also brought out to show them the route we will take for a two-day field trip to the southern end of our state. Sarcastically, I pointed to a large pink Indian reservation and told them that there was a cool dude ranch located there that we could have stayed in, but that pink area is the part of Arizona that Obama gave to Mexico and it’s not safe. (It’s only partially a joke… he had signs put up IN AMERICA that say the area is dangerous because of border jumpers INSTEAD of protecting our border and making any effort to stop the flow of illegals!) Anywho, the students responded with several amazed faces, “WHAT!?” “He did?” “Are you kidding!?”….. YES, I’m kidding! Sheesh! Kids these days will believe anything!
Currently, I’m knee-deep in maps and National Monument brochures. Why am I such a nerd? I’m not sure! But without nerdy history lovers, where would we be? Repeating all the same dumb mistakes of the ancient peoples ~ that’s where!
Great teaching begins HERE! (fist pump!)