Enrich your History and Geography Knowledge with these Gems of Wisdom

This week, I am sharing some history and geography gems: podcasts and documentaries to increase your general knowledge.

History is essential in helping us to understand who we are, giving 'geography' to our existence, a sense of perspective on the world around us and a framework for our identities. Geography is a vital subject in the modern world, “broadening” minds and encouraging an understanding of different countries and cultures. Our daily news includes reports on climate change and natural disasters, and a study of both history and geography helps us to understand not only the physical landscape around us, but also disputed borders, ethnic tension and cultural conflict across the world. 

The wealth of programmes available on TV, the books we can buy, the websites we can visit and the podcasts available, give us no excuse not to top up our knowledge of the world around us. This week, some essential podcasts and documentaries inspired by my listening and watching over the past couple of months: stealth learning at its best.





1. Ancient Rome (12) - Dramatised Documentary

The true story of Rome in a dramatised documentary series focusing on six crucial moments that shaped the destiny of the Empire. This excellent series, rated 12, reveals how the greed, lust and ambition of men like Caesar, Nero and Constantine shaped the Roman Empire. 


2. The Andrew Marr Collection (12): History of Modern Britain and the Making of Modern Britain - Documentary

This documentary series looks first at the period from the death of Queen Victoria to the end of the Second World War, and then examines the key events that have shaped British society since 1945. Full of factual content about events and people, Marr looks at culture, literacy and class shedding light on how Britain became the country it is today. 


3. The Iron Lady (12) - Film

The Iron Lady tells the compelling story of Margaret Thatcher, (played by Meryl Streep), a woman who smashed through the barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male-dominated world. The story concerns power and the price that is paid for power, and is a surprising and intimate portrait of an extraordinary and complex woman. 


4. Intrigue - Tunnel 29 (Part 1) and (Part 2) - BBC Sounds

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends and strangers escape. My husband found this one last year and urged us all to listen. Gripping from start to finish. 


 5. Positive Thinking - Tackling Food Waste - BBC Sounds 

Britain throws out over 10 million tonnes of food each year – which is more than enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall over 100 times. Three advocates present their plans directly to a panel of consumers who rigorously interrogate them and ultimately decide on the solution they believe will have the greatest impact. Under consideration are a proposal to remove “use by” and “sell by” dates on products in order to change consumer habits, food recycling through “no waste” shops on every high street and “gleaning” on farms, and an algorithmic tech solution that introduces dynamic pricing to the retailer’s shelves.


6. Today Guest Edits: Greta Thunberg - Climate Change Special - BBC Sounds

Every year at the end of December guest editors on Today, Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme have been invited to commission items for one edition of the programme. On 30 December 2019, climate activist Greta Thunberg was the guest editor, speaking to Sir David Attenborough for the first time. She included features on how the financial sector can tackle climate change and how the music industry can attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.


7. Iceland, The Great Thaw - BBC Sounds, Crossing Continents

Iceland's glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate, with scientists predicting that they could all be gone 200 years from now. Maria Margaronis talks to Icelandic farmers and fishermen, scientists and environmental activists about their sometimes surprising responses to climate change, and asks why it’s so difficult even for those who see its effects from their windows every day to take in what it means.


So that's all for this week. Remember, if your child has exams in the next month, they too need to factor in some downtime and might even need to prepare for interview. Watching or listening to anything on this list will give them something to talk about.

In addition, if you want to buy two books, use discount code BACKTOSCHOOL to get £5 off your purchase only until 12th January 2020. Visit www.jumpingyak.com 

That's all for now, until next time when I'll be sharing my gems of wisdom on parenting manuals. Which one is your favourite ... or do you prefer to leave these well alone?