How to Select a Homeschooling History Curriculum

The market for homeschooling history curriculum is packed full of options for many unique and individual needs. No matter whether you want to study American, world, or Roman history with books, videos, or interactively on-line, from a religious or secular perspective there is likely to be a ready made option to fit your needs. If you want to put a curriculum together on your own, those options are available as well. With such a vast selection it can be difficult sifting through the alternatives. Fortunately, there are four aspects to consider which will greatly help to narrow your search for homeschooling history curriculum.

First decide on the time period and geographical region you are interested in studying. History curriculum are typically organized chronologically and geographically. The two most common locations to study are American History and World History. American history is commonly broken down into three time periods which include, before colonization, early colonization to the Civil War, and Civil War to modern times. World history is usually broken down into Ancient History, or history of people before writing, early civilizations, and modern civilizations. If you are focusing on a global region the study may be further broken down. For example, Western Civilization is often broken down by Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman history. This is typically followed by studying the European history of the middle ages, Renaissance, and Age of Discovery. Determining which geographical region and time period you are interested in will help begin to narrow your search for a curriculum.

The second way to narrow your search is determining whether you are interested in studying history from a Christian or secular perspective. Although you could study history from additional perspectives, these are the two most common in regards to homeschooling curriculum options. History studied from a Christian perspective tends to align very closely with bible history where as secular history tends to include bible related history but not use it as a focus of the curriculum.

Determining the learning style of your children (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) is helpful when selecting curriculum for any subject, and history is no exception. Some kids learn really well by reading stories where as others thrive when given documentaries to watch. Kinesthetic learners tend to do well with hands on projects. In addition, note taking and answering end of chapter questions can benefit kinesthetic learners. Most people are capable of learning through a variety of inputs, but tend to favor one method over another. Curriculum is the same way. Most are written to teach children in a variety of ways, but some tap into certain learning styles more than others. Selecting resources that are effective for your child not only makes learning more enjoyable but increases retention of information and understanding.

Finally, homeschooling philosophy can be used to further narrow the field of options. Fortunately for history curriculum this tends to translate to curriculum in either textbook format or story format. Curriculum that aligns with the traditional, computer based, and Montessori methods of homeschooling are textbook format meaning that the material is organized into chapters with sub-topics, highlighted vocabulary words, dates, and documents with a series of questions at the end of each chapter. Curriculum that aligns with the classical, and Charlotte Mason philosophies of education tend to teach history using a story-based format. They commonly select one resource to serve as the history spine book and incorporate a number of age appropriate chapter books. The history spine book will start at the beginning of the time period and each chapter will tell the story of a person, idea, or event that took place during that time period. There are rarely questions at the end of the chapters as kids may have question/answer assignments from separate curriculum resources or not at all. The chapter books are commonly historical fiction books. They will cover a snippet from the time period, and make history come alive for those children who learn well from stories.

Most parents new to homeschooling believe they must purchase a grade-level based curriculum for each child and for each subject. As I mentioned on other posts, homeschooling curriculum is not required. Many homeschooling parents have assembled their own unique set of resources to comprise a subject-specific curriculum. In regards to history curriculum local libraries are an excellent place to begin finding resources. There are an immense number of history videos available on youtube and the low cost History Vault streaming service is loaded with documentaries. Most cities have history museums and living history events are a unique way for the entire family to interact with people from a particular time period. Parents can be as creative as they want in putting together a history curriculum. With such a variety of options, there is sure to be a curriculum to meet your needs.

History at Highhill Education

I am a big fan of history spine books which give an overview of people, places and time periods through stories. I never really understood history until I began homeschooling and learned about these books. They lay the foundations for further in-depth history study. Mentally, world history timelines begin to form and major events become connected with geographical locations. There are several available which I will list below.
Although this is in-line with the classical and Charlotte Mason methods of teaching history, we have not followed a particular history curriculum. We have however, used a wide variety of resources to create our own history curriculum.

When my kids were in the elementary school ages we participated in a weekly history day with other homeschooling families. The series of meetings would span approximately 10 weeks and cover one group of historical people. Each week we would talk about a different aspect of their culture and do a corresponding hands-on activity. This was a fun, interactive, social way to learn about history. Many of the lessons we covered during that time period are posted on the history tab of this blog. I will be updating and reorganizing this section of my blog this summer.

Traditional Textbook Style History Curriculum

Many complete curriculum options will sell their history curriculum separately. Therefore, if you don't find what you are looking for above, be sure to check out the list of full curriculum providers.

Charlotte Mason and Classical Style History Curriculum

History Spine Books

Additional History Resources

  • Youtube - lots of documentaries posted
  • Crash Course - on youtube, free, short videos on different topics and packed with information
  • History Vault - History Channel streaming service, low cost, full of documentaries

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...