Imagine that you wake up one morning to find out you have no memory! You’re not able to remember who you are or what happened in your life yesterday or the day before that. You’re unable to recognize your children, and you can’t communicate with neighbors and other people because you no longer know how to greet them, and you can’t understand what they are saying. You don’t remember what the words “elections,” “wars,” or “movies” mean.
Just as having no personal memory deprives us of a sense of our own identity, having no historical memory deprives us of a sense of our national identity and, in the words of Mrs. Lynne V. Cheney, noted author and wife of the vice president of the United States, of “a perspective on human existence.” Knowledge of U. S. history enables us to understand our nation’s traditions, its conflicts, and its central ideas, values and organizing principles. Knowledge of world history enables us to understand other cultures. In addition, without historical memory, we miss a great source of enjoyment that comes from piecing together the story of the past—our own, our nation’s and the world’s. Our historical memory is enriched by our understanding of geography, which lets us better see the physical context of cultures and environments around the world and across time.
By showing interest in their children’s education, families can spark enthusiasm in them and lead them to a very important understanding—that learning can be enjoyable as well as rewarding and is well worth the effort required.
We hope that you find this site a valuable tool for developing and reinforcing your child’s interest in and knowledge of history—and that you and your family may increase your appreciation for why such knowledge is important.