instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Blogging On History, Science, and Education

Writing is the Flip Side of Reading

I often get emails asking how to teach with my books. There are great coordinated teaching materials, I highly recommend them. But when I was a teacher I always had my students publish books which ended up in the school library. The students were the authors of chapters that demanded research, writing, and revising. We did local history, science stories, family history--I let them figure out a theme.  Read More 
Post a comment

The Early Days: How I Began to Write US History

I was a writer by trade, so writing on U.S. history didn’t seem daunting. Newspaper reporters tackle all kinds of subjects. I’d done a bit of medical writing, I was a business writer for three years, I wrote often about schools, I’d reviewed some plays and concerts, become an editorial writer, and done a lot of whatever-will-sell freelancing. As for history? A story I wrote about Jefferson’s “Statute for Religious Freedom” (a little known but enormously important document) ran in the Wall St. Journal. Virginius Dabney, one of my heroes and a grand old man In Virginia history circles, had actually complimented me on the article. So had Dumas Malone, a Jefferson biographer and University of Virginia historian. The idea was to do as good a job as possible and go to experts to have my work checked. I didn’t realize it, but compared to those who actually write the books used in most schools, I was enormously well qualified.  Read More 
Post a comment

Teaching With My Books

A teacher reader asks me how I would teach with my books. I told her there is no one way to teach. I see the author as a partner with teachers who are free to try whatever approach works for them and their students.
That wasn’t a good enough answer for my questioner: “ But I was wondering if you had a certain idea or image in your mind, as you were writing, of how you would use them if you were teaching with them.”  Read More 
Post a comment