Looking for some ways to make history really come alive in your homeschool? There are oodles of fun ways to teach history besides dry textbooks or boring curricula.
Here are ten fabulous ways to bring history to life for your kids.
- Do a weekly “meet and greet” with historic characters. This can be a fun project to do with other homeschool families or to just do with your own kids. Assign each child a historic character to read up on a little bit. Make sure they keep their identities a secret. Then have a little snack party where you all mingle. Encourage the kids to introduce themselves only by first initial and talk about their interests, hobbies, accomplishments, etc. At the end of the party, have them guess who they’ve been talking to (if they have any idea — it’s fine if they don’t!) and introduce themselves. Alternately, designate one night a week for history characters at the dinner table and eat in character (parents too!).
- Craft your way through time. Use craft projects found online (google your subject and crafts or projects), use A Book in Time to find books and crafts to match all different times in US and world history, and follow Pinterest boards like Hands on History.
- Use Story of the World (SOTW) and lots of supplemental activities. This history curriculum comes with an activity book that has loads of fun extension projects. Also see sites like Creekside Learning for lots more fun extensions. For later periods of history, see SOTW for the middle ages and early modern times, plus their activity books. A note about SOTW: This curriculum is widely used by homeschoolers and it is generally well liked. However, some complain that it is too secular and some complain that it is not secular enough. See if you can borrow a copy before you purchase it to determine if it's a good fit for your family.
- Use History for Music Lovers videos. These are great ways to jump into studies of famous people and events in history, and there are a surprising number of them. It's also a good choice for kids who like modern music and non-traditional learning.
- Start an ATC (Artist Trading Card) collection of historic figures and events. Supply the kids with small squares of white cardstock (approximately the size of a playing card), art supplies and some history books and ask them to pick any person or event they like to illustrate. On one side, they should have art representing the person or event (along with the name and date), and they should write up a little bit of information on the other. Keep them in chronological order in a small tin or trading card album, and add to them weekly as an ongoing art/history project.
- Eat your way through history. Use a site like the Food Timeline to find out how people ate during the time period you're studying and have a meal and snacks to match. If you're really devoted, try it for a week!
- Visit historic sites. No matter where you live, there's someplace within an hour of you where your family can go back in time. Try to make time to visit historic sites on your travels, even to nearby cities. Also think outside of the box. Not every historic site is a museum or a big production. Read historical fiction from your area and then go on a look for landmarks mentioned in the books, for instance. Go to a diner that's been there since the 1950's and then look up what was going on back then.
- Play history charades. Write down people and events you've studied on slips of paper and put them in a bowl. Have the kids take turns drawing one and acting it out.
- Learn with American Girl. There are thousands of fun ideas online that blend American Girl dolls, books and history. Check out the Learning with American Girl Pinterest board for lots of ideas to start.
- Take part in Renaissance festivals and History fests. These annual events take place in nearly every state, sometimes in multiple sites. Go with your kids, or better yet, volunteer as participants once you get the hang of things. Nothing makes history more fun than getting to dress up and take part in it!
Also see Fabulous projects to get kids hooked on social studies for loads of other fun ideas on creative ways to teach history, geography and more.