Many people think that teaching History to home school students needs to consist of boring lectures and reading many pages of a textbook. Just because that is how most of us were taught, doesn’t mean that was the best way to learn about History. I, personally, have developed a true love for History from teaching and reading with my children that I never had from being in school. Here are some tips you can use when teaching your own children:
1. Use tools that can bring History alive for you and your students. Read “living books” or historical fiction. Use DVDs and interactive websites to take you to interesting historical places.
2. Help your children realize that History is more than just a bunch of facts. Everyone loves a story. Read engaging stories about people who lived in another era. When you have read enough historical fiction or biographies, the pieces of History start falling into place. Help them understand that History is a collection of stories of real people. They will be included in that story many years from now.
3. Choose an era of History to study. Don’t make it too broad or too narrow. If you find that you put too much information into one year, then extend your study of that era of History into the next year if you like.
4. Have a master timeline and fill in the people that you study. It’s fun to see how different people’s lives overlapped. They can see that one person was born just before another person died.
5. Read about different people from the same period of History. This helps your children understand how History can be biased based on one person’s opinion. The bias doesn’t have to be seen as bad or good. It is just the story of History from that person’s perspective. You could read about westward expansion from the settlers point of view and also from the Indian’s point of view.
6. Use field trips, reenactments, and craft projects to reinforce the stories you are reading or the era of History you are exploring.
Learning about History can be a fun and enjoyable experience if you use a variety of resources and have the right perspective. Choose a period of History and find out all about the stories related to that period. Then use the other resources mentioned here and watch yourself and your children develop a greater understand of History.