How to Get Your Kids to Hate History

It’s too dry. It’s boring. There’s too much killing (my youngest daughter said this). It doesn’t make any sense. What will we need it for?

how to get your kids to hate history Education Possible

How many of us have either heard or said these words when the subject of history came up? {raising hand!} When I was in school, I thought history was extremely boring. Most of what I learned about the subject was carefully chosen and edited down by textbook writers. Classes were all about reading and memorizing dates. Yawn!

Now that I’m a homeschooling mom, required to teach history, I’ve had to face my views on the subject. Luckily I have realized how fascinating the subject actually is. I’ve worked hard to not pass my original bias on to my kids.

However, if I wanted to get my kids to hate history, here are 5 things I would do:

1. Not read beyond the textbook

Instead of adding living books to my lesson, I would just read what is in the textbook. You know, the paragraph or two that teaches students all about a major world event.

Textbooks are often written to make history easy for students to digest, but frequently fail to tell the full story.

There are many amazing options out there for reading about history, like historical fiction, living books, biographies, articles, first person accounts, and more.

If you don’t introduce your kids to any other reading material, they will miss so much and never see its richness.

2. Only read about it

I would only teach by reading history books and never include any projects or anything interactive.

For some students, it would be dreadful if the only way you could learn about something was to read about it. For hours.

What if you don’t learn best this way? And even if you loved to read, wouldn’t you want to do something different now and then?

Help your kids appreciate history by occasionally getting out of the books.

  • Hands-on activities are an excellent way to engage kids and help them really understand a subject. These Pioneer life activities for kids are fun and educational.
  • There are a ton of movies and videos that can help bring historical events to life for your student.
  • Borrow an audiobook from the library and try listening to history.
  • Look at pictures to get a sense of a time period.

Download our FREE Study Guide – Discover the 13 Colonies 

3. Teach it while sitting at a table or a desk

I would teach my kids history, all from the comfort of my home.

As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to teach our kids anywhere at any time. Yes, it’s easier to teach at home, sitting at a table, but it can come at a cost – boredom.

Get outside and explore history where it happened. Go to a history museum. Attend a reenactment.

Show your kids that history is real.

4. Don’t relate it to the present day

I wouldn’t let my children see how history plays an active role in our everyday lives.

Kids want to understand why they are learning things. For some, history is just that – history. Why bother learning about something that happened years ago?

If you don’t teach kids how history actually relates to events happening now, chances are that they won’t grow up with an appreciation for the subject or for the global world we live in.

Personally, I don’t like wasting my time. Most kids feel the same way. If you don’t show them why history is important today and for the future, their future, they could easily see it as a waste of time.

5. Constantly jump around from one event to another

Instead of showing kids how events in history are related to each other, I would frequently move from one period of history to another within a short amount of time.

Now I’m not talking about working through Ancients and then moving on to US History. What I mean is spending one week mummifying a chicken and the next learning the Gettysburg Address. Sure your kids will have fun, but they won’t really understand time periods and how events tie together.

I am a huge advocate of teaching history chronologically, but I completely understand if that doesn’t work for your family. There is nothing wrong with working through history according to your child’s interests. Sometimes you’re even bound to a schedule that is outside your control, like a co-op.

At least stick to events within the same era for a while. It helps history make so much more sense to kids.

In my opinion, kids don’t have to hate history. It may take some additional planning on our part as the teacher, but in my experience, it is well worth the time!

Is history a loved or hated subject in your home?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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  1. I heard Michael Medved speak at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, and I was blown away — he told history as a STORY …. not just a timeline of dates and dead people. 🙂 I LOVED his approach, and plan to(hope to) take that route with my kids, too.

    My littles are still young, but I think we’re going to start GENTLY introducing history this summer, reading from The Story of the World.

    Great post, Megan!

  2. I’m glad my daughter generally likes history, and will read about it without complaint. We’ve really liked the presentations Hippocampus has on their site (I think they’re moving to UC Scout program, though. I *think*.), and she really likes the Crash Course videos on YouTube that John Green does (yes, the author of The Fault in Our Stars!). She sometimes will watch the videos just for fun!

  3. Great post! No one should be forced to hate history 🙂 It’s just too amazing for that!

  4. Hi Megan!

    I’m so glad you linked up with us last week on the Hip Homeschool Hop! In fact, this article will be one of our featured posts on the Hop this Tuesday (5/20). This article caught my attention because I absolutely hated history all of my own school years because it was taught just the way you described. Now it is my absolute favorite subject, and my kids love it too! I enjoyed it so much that I’m recommending it as one of our featured articles for this week. Thanks for sharing it with us!


    Wendy Hilton
    Co-owner of Hip Homeschool Moms

  5. I love history so much I got a degree to teach it to high school students. Sadly, at no time in my college career did anyone teach me the tips you shared. Thankfully I learned them on my own as I homeschooled my kids! Thanks for sharing via Family Fun Friday.

  6. Pingback: Must Reads Homeschool Edition, May 24, 2014 | HEDUA

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