Life

My Story

We are reading the novels in the My Story series.

Published by Ashton Scholastic, each novel is a personal account of a fictional character living within a time period of Australian history.

Currently the books in the series span Australian history from the 1770s to 1975.

We also have the three accompanying Teacher’s Guides.

Reading these novels is my idea – living literature for Australian Studies . Gerry ( dh) and Thomas read some of these novels last year and found them to be both interesting and informative – learned more about Australian history via reading.

I’ve asked some of the kids to choose a novel, read it and we’ll follow up with discussions and narrations and activities.

This week, Alexander finished the novel on Sir Donald Bradman.

This novel not only remembered the cricketer but also the man and his almost iconic status. Alexander pointed out that Donald Bradman was often a hero, a ray of hope and a positive distraction to those suffering during the Great Depression – so, naturally, this novel looks at the Great Depression and at life in Australia at that time.

All of the My Story books are written in the form of either diaries and journals or personal letters. We have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to write in such a style.

And why choose fiction? Can fiction enable us to understand another’s life more easily? To become enveloped in the story? Does it whet our appetite for more serious history study?

What about the problem of bias and interpretation?

The educator Charlotte Mason saw value in teaching history as the story of one person. She wrote,

“The fatal mistake is in the notion that he must learn ‘outlines’ of the whole history… just as he must cover the geography of all the world. Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.”
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4 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Oh, Leonie, that is one of my favorite ideas from Charlotte Mason.I never liked history as a child.. and am just now beginning to. I think because we are finding resources like the My Story books you recommended… those sound great.It is like we are learning history by learning of people’s *stories*. Right now with our American Civil War study, we have met real and fictional people from both sides and in all walks of life… Presidents, (yes, one on each side!) generals, slaves, farmboys, mothers, businessmen… etc.Thanks for sharing…that sounds interesting, too, as only know bits about Austrailian history.. mostly what I learned as we prepared for Luke’s visit years ago…Let us know how it goes!

  2. Leonie,I have found when we read “stories” of real people, the stories stick with my children and they are remembered. I think of how Jesus taught – through stories, as well…seems a great method to me.I want to ask, when you mention the Great Depression, did Australia have one as well? Yes, I am ignorant….

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