Boosting Interest in Social Studies

Parent’s question

This year our son, a fifth-grader, has become fascinated with what he is learning in social studies. He wants to know more and more about this subject. How can we help satisfy his curiosity?

Our answer

One thing that seems to guarantee success in school is to develop a passion for a particular topic or subject. It’s great that your son has one! Learning more and more about a passion turns into a win-win situation. What has been learned can be used later on as topics for speeches and reports. Plus, the more kids learn, the wider the knowledge base they have to build upon when learning new material.

There are so many things that can be done to enhance what your son’s learning in school. Why don’t you read some stories at night to him that tie to his current social studies work? There are loads of books and short stories about historical figures and events. Depending on what he is studying, he could enjoy hearing about Lafayette, Paul Revere or President Kennedy, as well as events from Gettysburg to the Boston Tea Party to the Mayflower voyage. What’s great about reading stories to him is that you’re sharing in his interest.

Several websites also offer virtual field trips to places like the rain forest, Williamsburg, Va. and Washington, D.C. He can easily search for places related to the topics that he is studying in school, and they’ll become far more meaningful to him. Not to mention: It’s cost-free travel.

This summer, your family could plan to visit historical sites while you are on vacation. Try to choose ones that are related to what he has studied this year in school or what he will study next year. Don’t forget about all the history in your community and state. Visits to museums, the capitol and historical re-enactments will further enhance his interest in social studies.

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