History. Do you want to get a little more creative in teaching history as part of your homeschooling? Here is how!
Ok, maybe not ‘teach’ since I never saw that as my role 🙂 But there are some great ways you can include history into your homeschooling without it being a struggle.
Here are 3 ideas that I hope will inspire you.
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Maybe not a new idea, but still a good one! Timelines are a great visual way of connecting the dots of history together and putting it into an order. And as we are in the job of building information networks in our kids brains, this works perfectly.
Please, please don’t make a timeline hard for yourself.
If you have read my book ‘Stickability – Why you can’t stick to your homeschool schedule‘ then you know that I was
rubbish challenged when it came to timelines. That whole adding a little bit every day? That was just not going to work for me. Instead we switched to blitzing our timeline in bursts – and then leaving it alone until we felt ready for a new time period. And we didn’t do it in historical order either. Switching around from the Victorian age to Roman times and then taking a look at the 1040’s kept things interesting and made us feel like time travelers!
Don’t feel you have to work really hard at this ! Get some old history books from the charity/thrift shop and (shock!) cut out bits and stick them on the timeline (kids love cutting and gluing!). Or get the children to color in some history coloring books and use those (we scanned the finished pictures and made reduced size copies to make them fit).
And don’t let lack of space put you off. You don’t have to have a timeline on your wall. Think about a Book of Centuries or even an electronic version. I have suggested lots of other ways to Make a Timeline before (and have lots of free printout and resources there too).
2. Living History Books
Yes, I have written about history books before too 🙂 but it is still a great way to have fun while you (all) learn.
I particularly wanted to mention the Robert Opie scrapbooks (like this one) here. They are such a low key and yet effective way of helping the children visualize what it was like in the past.
The Robert Opie collection is the worlds largest collection relating to (mostly British) nostalgia and advertising memorabilia. Each of the scrapbook covers a different era, and there are usually separate pages devoted to fashion, groceries, household products, childrens toys and books. Each large scrapbook-type page is filled with photographs of packaging, advertising pictures or other images relevant to the era.
We even started our own ‘current times’ scrapbook using food wrappers and store catalogs. It was interesting to chat with the children about what they felt needed to be included, and why!
Of course you don’t have to stick to reading other people’s books – why not write your own? This would be a great way to get teenagers to do a research project on an era. I wrote a page about that here.
One of the most fun ways we learned about history was to live it!
There are so many ways you could do this – think about what someone of that time would wear, or eat, or play. What art would they be looking at? How would they travel?
Here are some ideas to bring that to life:
- Play corners. A simple historical play corner could be a prehistoric cave complete with cave drawings. Or make a castle, roman villa, Victorian kitchen or iron-age hut! I have already written about how to make a themed play corner – they can be as simple or elaborate as you have the time for.A good book to get you started is “A corner to Learn” by Neil Griffiths if you can get hold of it. It doesn’t have a lot of ‘historical’ corners but lots of ideas you can adapt.
- Dressing up box. If you are good at sewing then I am sure you can come up with all kinds of cool outfits.I was not good at this! Instead we did it through paper dolls – I have a collection of paper doll books here. If you have a budding fashion aficionado then this is a great way to do it.
- Baking and Crafts. As well as cooking dishes from around the world, why not try cooking dishes from the past. I think I might do a blog post sharing recipes books – in the meantime here is one to whet your appetite (ha ha!).
Crafts are also wonderful to add to your homeschool. Not just weaving and spinning (although I am a big fan of those!). You could try candle making, pottery, quilting, felting, basketry, carving – oh, you get the idea!
4. Toys and Games. If you do a search you can often find the toys, games and board games played in history. There are many you can make yourself.
Think clothespin dolls, hobbyhorses, kites and yoyos. Board games like Go and Ma Jongg have very old origins. Snakes and Ladders, Hopscotch and marbles were popular in Victorian times. And here are some ideas from pioneer times.
For example, here is my daughter making a simple button toy (and seriously, we had fun with this for ages!).
Incorporating these kinds of activities into your homeschool can really help to bring history alive for your children.
Going to try one? I would love to hear how you get on!