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My Seven Year Old Historian

Gifted kids may surprise you with their interests. One of my daughters became fascinated by the English Tudors before she reached school age. She knew all of Henry VIII's wives at age four and a half, and by five was reading my historical fiction on the Elizabethans. I encourage you to allow the gifted kids in your life to follow their passions and become experts in whatever may pique their interest. Take time to really listen to them as they talk about their pet projects, and assist them in gathering resources. You never know where their interests may lead, and even a somewhat reluctant writer may find herself excited about writing when it enables her to share information on a favorite topic.

Here's a brief article my daughter, "Artemis" wrote at age seven, for a project on Scotland:

Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary inherited the throne when she was just five days old. Her mother, Mary of Guise, acted as Queen regent while Mary was young. At five years old, little Mary was sent to live in France, so she would grow up Catholic. Four girls her age were also sent along to be her companions. They all happened to have the name Mary! She lived as part of the French court and married the Dauphin (heir to the throne) when she was 16. He was crowned king of France a year later. Mary was now Queen of both Scotland and France. When she was 18, however, her husband died. Mary decided to return to Scotland to claim her throne.

The Protestant Lords in Scotland were very worried. They were afraid that if they tried to prevent her return, the Catholics might defend Mary. So they met her as she came off her ship. They believed her when she said she would never bother the Protestants for their beliefs. Mary married a Protestant named Lord Darnley. But he and other Protestants made a plan to lock Mary in her home and make him king. He and his supporters wanted to ban the Catholic religion. When Queen Elizabeth of England heard what Darnley had tried, she said that she would have stabbed him with a dagger!

Mary gave birth to a son, James VI. Lord Darnley was staying at a small house in Edinburgh. Mary, James, and the rest of the court were at a larger house in th same city. Lord Darnley's house blew up! His body was found in the garden, and he had been strangled. Only a few months later, Mary wed the man who had been accused (but cleared) of the murder, Lord Bothwell.

As Mary lost power, the Protestants decided to make baby James king of Scotland. Mary tried to make an army, but her soldiers deserted. James was 16 months old when he was declared king, with his Protestant advisors running the country. Mary was imprisoned in a remote castle called Loch Leven.

After a year, Mary escaped from Loch Leven and fled to England. She hoped to be well received by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, but was instead held prisoner for many years. Eventually she was executed for scheming to ascend the English throne.

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