History – Why Study That?

Whether you are a homeschool parent or a teacher working with homeschool students, you are no stranger to the common question, “Why do I have to study history?” It is widely known that children grasp and retain concepts better when they feel that what they are learning is relevant. Students may believe that it’s a waste of time to study the past, or people and places outside their immediate circle. By preparing now to answer the question “Why do we study History?” you can make learning even more engaging and achieve far greater success with your child.

First, what is HASS – History, Geography, Civics & Citizenship and Business and Economics?

In the first years of schooling (F-6) the distinction between history and Geography and HASS in general is often blurred. In truth, history (along with subjects like geography) is one subject within the field of HASS. It is an integrated approach to covering Civics & Citizenship and Business and Economics within the subjects of History and Geography. This allows students a greater understanding in real world contents. From Grade 7 HASS becomes the four separate subjects in order to cover the more in-depth content.

Why Do We Study HASS? Why is social studies important?

It prepares children and young adults for their eventual civic responsibilities and involvement in a culturally and economically interdependent world. Our country’s youth need to be educated in HASS – (History, Geography, Civics & Citizenship and Business and Economics) to understand the context for how we got where we are, to build a basis for decision making and civic duties like voting, and to help them determine their own identities as members of local, state, national, and international communities.

In addition to learning more about their role as a global citizen, your child will benefit from the study of HASS in these ways:
Greater understanding of the real world: HASS enables your child to gain knowledge about people (including how and why they do the things they do), places, and events, building an appreciation of cultural diversity and an understanding of various governments, economies, and social traditions.
Integration of subject areas: HASS brings together subject-specific content with broader skills like reading, writing, listening, and speaking as your child is asked to take in information, process its meaning and importance, and use it to debate issues.
Improved critical thinking skills: Because HASS is complex, it requires the use of critical thinking skills to understand, analyse, and evaluate the human journey while making connections to your child’s personal experience.

All grade levels of HASS in the Euka program are designed to create a well-rounded education and teach students analytical skills. For example, the Euka program emphasises inquiry-based learning using primary and secondary sources. The inquiry-based approach teaches students to use logic and evidence to support a claim or viewpoint about a HASS topic.

So Why Do We Study History?

While your child may understand the importance of learning about people and places that are still in the world, your child may still wonder, “Why is it important to study history? Everything happened so long ago, why does it matter to me?” The important piece here is to stress that history isn’t stuck in the past. Everything that exists now is the way it is because of the past, so history affects the people, places, and events of today. Why should we study history? Because it explains the present and can help shape the future!

History, specifically, can also help your child develop certain competencies. Looking into the past requires research skills and an understanding of how perspective influences how events are documented. Your child can learn to distinguish between fact and opinion, and between reputable and non-reputable sources. Through historical study, your child will notice patterns and determine instances of when “history repeats itself.” They can connect to the personalities of those who impacted history and delve into the thoughts, values, and decisions that shaped our country and world.

So there you have it, an answer for your child as you approach the inevitable question of “Why do we need to study HASS – History, Geography, Civics & Citizenship and Business and Economics?”. Taking the time to share the benefits of a subject is vital to having your child invest themselves into their learning.

Regardless of their age, one of the most important lessons you can instil in kids is that money is a finite resource. When they have to work for their money—as you likely do—they’ll learn to use it more carefully.

Many parents are in the habit of supplying their kids with weekly pocket money, which in itself can help teach budgeting skills. Even better would be making them earn that money by doing tasks. Drawing the mental connection between income and personal effort is something that will pay huge dividends when they grow up and move out.