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8 Fascinating Ways To Learn History

8 Fascinating Ways To Learn History

Sometimes I wonder why so many people find history boring. I’d keep hearing the same joke whenever I say I like history. “What’s so interesting about learning the lives of a bunch of dead guys?”. History like literature is full of stories, mysteries, romance -there’s actually more to it if one should look closely.

People’s distaste of learning history might have gone way back to history classes in school, where every exam was dreaded because it’s always about memorizing dates, names of people, and places. Back when most history teachers didn’t emphasize the significance or tried even just a little to tell the great stories of the past. That’s what made history boring. But it shouldn’t be.

Learning about history should be exciting. It is after all OUR journey. it is the story of mankind. It is our story. So, how can you make learning history more fun and interesting? Here are ten fun ways to try:

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1. Historical Atlases

Learning history through hardbound history textbooks can be confusing. Most historical books today tend to assume readers have a decent amount of historical knowledge already. According to historians, the best way to learn history is to consult a timeline or a historical atlas. Historical atlases include maps and charts that depict the evolution of geopolitical landscapes. They help people understand history in a broad view by pinpointing the era when historical events happened.

2. Watching Historical Movies

Movies that portray the past are some of the best ways to learn history. While not all movies do portray history accurately, there are lots of films out there who do a great job depicting the events that happened in the past. For example, if you want to learn more about the Holocaust, you could go watch Schindler’s List, The Boy in Striped Pajamas, or The Pianist.

3. Reading Inspiring Autobiographies

Biographies are another way to learn more about history. It helps you experience the past through the lives of people who lived it. Examples of great autobiographies include Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, The Diaries of Samuel Pepys, and Testament of Youth by Vera Britain.

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4. Visiting Museums

the-louvre-museum
    The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Image by Horst Friedrichs

    There’s nothing like looking at history through a visual perspective. Most museums today hold artifacts and various historical gems like old clothing, tools, and ancient rings that tell more about the history of a place of than your history book. These things can almost take us back to the period or era by helping us understand how life was back then.

    5. Touring Historical Places

    Visiting a memorial site where they have commemorated a battle or war, or where they honored soldiers can inspire you to learn more about the subject. The problem with most people visiting historical places is that they simply take pictures and post it on social media without bothering to learn the significance of the place.

    When visiting a new country or place. try walking the streets, visiting the oldest places like temples and old churches. Nancy R. Newhouse’s In France, Honoring the Fallen in the War to End All Wars is a great example of a historical visit.

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    6. Attending Cultural Events

    Experiencing a culture through its traditions can be a wonderful experience. When visiting a new place or country, try to attend performances of traditional dance and music. If you can, try participating to get the most of the experience.

    7. Tracing Your Family’s Historical Roots

    Relating history to your life is one way to cultivate a love for the subject. So why not try tracing your family tree to see your historical roots? Wouldn’t it be awesome to find that you were actually related to George Washington? Today there are lots of sites which can help you accomplish this. For example, Ancestry.com is a great place to trace your historical roots. It has a huge collection of historical resources and facts that will help you learn more about your family’s history.

    8. Cooking Historical Recipes

    viking-food
      Viking Food on Viking Culture Day. Photo by weekendnotes.com

      What did Vikings eat for breakfast? What kind of cakes did people like to eat during 1935? What ingredients did they use to make donuts in 1833? No one can find the subject of food boring. Anyone who wants to learn more about their country’s historical past should start by eating like their ancestors. Who knows? Researching about historical food recipes may help bring out the chef in you.

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      History doesn’t have to be boring. Cultivating a love for history by appreciating and reminiscing the past helps us understand our present and future in a more humane way. The best way to learn history is to experience it through different perspectives.

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      Armela Escalona

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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