For many people, history can seem like a boring or daunting subject in school. Forced to sit through long lectures and take detailed tests about boring facts and statistics may have turned many people away from this study. However, history can be anything but boring. In fact, history could easily become your child’s favorite subject if it’s presented in a way that captivates their imagination.
If you’re looking for engaging and helpful curriculum, here are a couple that we recommend.
The Story of the World
If you’re looking for a well-developed history program, many people like the “The Story of the World” series by Well-Trained Mind. “Story of the World” is a curriculum program that teaches world history from ancient times until present in four volumes that are easy to understand and very engaging.\
Knowledge Quest Maps
After you pick up “Story of the World” you’ll want some good quality maps to go with it. Knowledge Quest Maps provides excellent maps that can be studied and used to label and write on. They also offer timelines, a timeline book, geography curriculum and a historical biography series.
Resources in Town
To bring history to life and create interest and depth, a good homeschool curriculum program can be supplemented with resources you can likely find in your hometown.
Your public library can be an incredible resource for many reasons. Age appropriate Historical Fiction novels can be picked up to go along with specific time periods that your child is studying, and non-fiction books can be perused if your child has something they’re specifically interested in based on the period you’re studying. For instance, after studying World War II, your child may become interested in Japanese culture, or they may want to know more about the Holocaust. Encourage your child to study deeper into the parts of history that they find fascinating.
Another resource you may have at your library is maps. A great example of this is at the Boston Public Library that has a map center called the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center. It provides tons of information and activities to patrons including exhibits, educational materials, and georeferencing materials. You can research old maps and new maps and see how people viewed the world based on the maps they created.
Local history is often underrated, but it can be a really good way to get kids connected to history. Small historical societies span across the United States, even in very small towns. They are an excellent source of information for history, and especially local history. If you’re interested in a field trip, you could spend the day traveling to the local historical places in your area and teaching your kids about their significance.
Genealogies are rising in popularity among all types of people wanting to know about their family history. With websites like Ancestry.com, and DNA kits like 23andMe, people have a better connection to their personal pasts than ever before.
Studying genealogies with your kids can be a fun and easy way to get them interested in their own personal history. Not only will they learn about their family history, but it’s an easy way to tie in the history happening around your family’s past. For instance, you may discover that past members of your family were immigrants from other countries. You could do a lesson plan surrounding Ellis Island, or you could do a geography study of your family’s country of origin.
Playing games can be a really entertaining way to pique your child’s interest. One game that does a good job of explaining how societies function, what makes one more successful than another, and what is needed to help them thrive, is Settlers of Catan. While it may not teach your homeschooler directly about actual historical events, it will teach them what elements are involved in the rise and fall of nations.
History to Grow On
It should be noted that it’s important to make sure that whatever history programs you choose, that it fits with your state’s educational requirements. Past that, you have the freedom to pursue history in a way that works best for your students. If you want to take some extra time to explore a particular time period because your kids have become captivated by it, don’t feel pressured to move on quickly. Teaching kids to love learning, and love researching history, will be a gift well beyond your homeschool years.