Tools for Homeschooling Middle School: Teaching History
Some homeschool families we have talked to think studying history is painful! All of those boring dates and wars, it’s not something they choose to spend a lot of time learning.
Yes, we agree there are plenty of ways to get your kids to hate history, but we also know the study of history can be relevant and exciting with the help of rich stories, hands-on learning opportunities, and field trips to historic sites.
For years our families have used our history studies as the “spine” of our homeschool efforts. We will select books, science lessons, art projects, life skills activities and more to complement the period in history we are learning about.
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“The past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.” – The Lion King
Because we take such an eclectic approach to the study of middle school history, we don’t use a lot of traditional curriculum, but rather a wide variety of other resources. Use these tools to make sure your kids don’t hate history.
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child Volumes 1-4
We began using The Story of the World series in elementary school. It was such a great fit for our family that we used it again throughout the middle school years! The main text includes narrative stories about significant people and events in history. My favorite part of the series would be the Activity Books which include discussion questions, book lists, art projects, and more. The stories help students relate to events in history and the activities engage students and really bring their learning to life.
Time Travelers History Study Series by Homeschool in the Woods
If you are looking for a unit study approach for studying United States history, this is it! One year we worked our way through the Time Travelers History Study Series and my kids said it was their favorite year of history study ever. Each guide in the Time Travelers Series is a complete unit study, and includes:
- short fact-filled text to introduce the lesson
- lists of additional resources to enhance learning with books and videos
- Lap Book pieces with creative writing activities
- activities including games, recipes, maps, timelines, and more!
All American History by Bright Ideas Press
You know we love hands-on learning activities! This series is great for families homeschooling a variety of ages as it is appropriate for grades 5-12. Informational reading, book lists, hands-on project ideas, research ideas and more.
A Timeline of History Made Easy With Timeline Figures by Homeschool in the Woods
There is a LOT of information to cover when studying history! Timelines help us see how people and events are intertwined, and give us a way to plot out what is going on during the period of history we happen to be studying.
Books, Videos & Games
Jim Weiss Storytelling Audio Recordings – My kids listen to Jim Weiss’ CDs for hours (which is perfect for car trips too)! With more than 30 CDs available your family can listen to tall tales, Greek myths, wise words from Abraham Lincoln, and more.
Liberty’s Kids – Kids can travel back to the founding of the United States and witness events unfold as reporters.
Schoolhouse Rock – These classic animated songs will help make learning American history fun. Just try repeating the Preamble to the Constitution without humming the Schoolhouse Rock song!
Disney Education The American Presidents DVDs – offer a funny and memorable look at each person who has held the office of President of the United States (believe me, it’s hard to find a history video that makes kids actually laugh, but these certainly deliver the laughs!).
Social Studies Actual Size – Full scale drawings of famous landmarks turn your driveway into a “landscape for learning!”
You Wouldn’t Want to Be series – Funny, colorful, and informative, the books in this series but the reader in the middle of important historical events and time periods.
Biographies – Our kids enjoy learning about the lives of the historical figures we study about during our history lessons. Do you know how many wonderful biography series are available for kids?? Help your kids find a series that interests them – “Which Biography Series is Right for Your Middle School Student”!
Mystery of History Cookbook by Bright Ideas Press – The historical recipes in this cookbook take you on a culinary journey through the cultures and times of the Early Church and the Middle Ages.
WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press – Combine your geography and history studies with WonderMaps. My kids love to compare historical maps to current maps and WonderMaps makes it easy with over 350 different maps you can customize to fit your needs!
Cooking Up Some American History & Cooking Up Some World History – Each book includes 50 authentic, easy to make recipes from history.
Professor Noggin’s Educational Trivia Card Games – Kids will have fun testing their knowledge of history facts with these card games. There are games for many different periods in US and world history.
Hands-on Learning Activities
Project: Middle Ages History & Fashion from Blog She Wrote
Fun medieval activities for middle schoolers
Teaching About Independence Day in Your Homeschool from 7Sisters Homeschool
Interesting Hands-on History Activities for Teens
From the Education Possible archives:
- Colonial Hands-on Projects
- The Liberty Bell: Timeline & Trivia
- Teaching Kids Life Skills: Flag Etiquette
- Hands-On History: American Revolution Activities
- Colonial Games for Children
- Study the American Revolution by Combining Art and History
- American Pioneer Notebooking and Activities
- 5 Easy Colonial America Map Activities for Kids
- Ben Franklin: Inventions and Hands-on History
- Lewis and Clark Animal Discovery Journal
- Historical Cooking: Native American Corn Recipes
- How to Use American Girl to Study History
- Studying History While Visiting the Magic Kingdom
- 6 Covered Wagon Learning Activities
- Re-enact History with Duct Tape
Homeschool History & Geography Curriculum Reviews from the author of The Curriculum Choice
History of the Ancient World and Tapestry of Grace Year 1 from Classically Homeschooling
How To Help Your Kids Love History and Save Money on History Curriculum from Family, Home, Health
Follow Education Possible’s board History – Early Modern Time on Pinterest.
From the Education Possible archives:
- Brimwood Press Western Civilization Study Review
- How to Get Your Kids to Hate History
- Biography Report Form/Organizer
- Our Unit Studies Come Alive Thanks to Home School in the Woods
Great article! Hands-on learning is the most fun and memorable! My children love studying history, so much so that they made a feature film on the Civil War. It was a 2 yr. project that they completed last March. They are now sending it to film festivals and selling DVDs (learning how to market).
Teresa, that is wonderful! Your children must be so proud of their efforts. If they have a website for their movie can you share the link? We are studying US history this year and I would love to check it out!
Susan, yes. It was a lot of hard work but very rewarding. Their website is valleyoftheshadowthemovie.com. They have a facebook page also.
A great resource as always! Pinned for future reference!
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