Friday, November 1, 2013

Homeschooling History!

I know many of you are crazy homeschooling moms like me (1st and 3rd grader).  Or perhaps you are interested in homeschooling but don't know where to start or would like to add some extracurricular studies for after-school.  I am going to do a series of posts about what we are successfully using to homeschool this year.  And today I wanted to start with History!

It was back in college when I was majoring in Genetics that I remember telling my soon-to-be husband that history was boring and useless.  Of course, I also told him back in 1992 that the internet was stupid and wouldn't ever catch on...  I would like to blame my public school education for my ignorance, but my school was actually pretty good...  ;-)

Now that I am older and wiser I absolutely love history and want to share this love with my boys.   There are so many homeschooling history options out there that your head might start spinning, so I want to share our favorite history curriculum with you.

I am a huge fan of Story of the World series because it starts at the beginning of known history and then takes you up to modern times.  However, I am horrible at pronouncing many ancient history words, so I buy the audio CDs instead of the book and we listen to them at home or in the car.  I love the author's voice (it is like listening to an interesting and sometimes exciting story) and the kids are mesmerized and QUIET.

I also buy the study guides because they include questions, narration suggestions, and map work for each chapter.  We listen to the chapter, I ask them the questions, and then we do the map work.  The study guides also have pictures they can color, games, and all types of recipes/book suggestions/art and craft ideas for each chapter.  Unfortunately we don't have time to do it all, but I can pick and choose.

I also use The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. The Story of the World study guides actually tell you what page numbers in this encyclopedia go with their chapters.  The kids love this book because it has short history snippets and wonderful detailed images.

After we listen and read, I usually go on You-tube and do a search for history channel or national geographic videos on what we are studying at the time.  We stream them through our Apple TV to our television.  Just today we watched a video on the building of the Colosseum and the history of Rome.  I have to be really careful to check the ratings on the videos, and if they don't have one I have to watch them first.  Some of those history shows can be quite racy/violent for a 6 and 8 year old.

We also have an old globe (East and West Germany...) and a Peel & Stick World Dry-Erase Map (I stuck it to a big piece of poster board that I can bring out when we do school) so we can learn some geography along with our history.  We use our maps all of the time, even when we are reading pleasure books.  Just the other day we were reading a picture book about a story from Java and the boys were so excited to find that island on their map.

Finally, we either use the list from our study guide to check out books or just go visit the history section of the library and grab books that relate and look interesting.

Our history curriculum is easy and cheap (less than $70 a year) and the boys (and their mom) love it. I can't believe how much I have learned in the last year.

Do you have a favorite way to learn/teach history?  Please leave a comment, I would love to hear about it!

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  1. I will be following these posts! i dont know what we are going to do if our levy doesnt pass here. But even though I am satisfied with most of what my son is doing in school I was very dismayed that EVERYTHING taught in first grade is based on common core and passing standardized tests. Even if my kids stay in public school I will be supplementing but have NO idea where to start, so these posts will be very useful!

  2. I completely understand! There is so much out there. I don't know much about common core, is it very strong in history? I know I should keep up with these things. :-)