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1. Follow Your Child Interests While Studying HistoryI believe in self-led learning, and I don’t want to tell my daughter what she has to study right now. She has enough of that in school already. Instead I showed her an online calendar of fun holidays and special days, and every week on Thursday she will pick a person or an event for the next week. Unfortunately, this particular calendar is very US-centric, but I don’t mind this flaw for this year, since I planned to learn more about US history as a family anyway.
2. Choose Your History Books WiselyIn the past I’d bring home at least 5 different books on the subject my daughter might be interested in. Now I am trying to find one book that we could read together in the evenings. I found two good series of biographies that work well for our advanced reader – Who Was… by various authors and Getting to Know… by Mike Venezia.
3. Experiment with “Screen Time”We have limits on screen time at home, but they don’t apply if time is spent in research on a particular topic or if we are watching an educational program together. This is one of the reasons history mini units and additional privileges are so appealing to our daughter. However, again, we only have time for about 30-60 minutes of extra screen time per week. I research available educational videos in our local library, on Amazon Prime Free videos, and, of course, on YouTube.
4. Go Easy on History Writing Requirements
“Real” unit studies usually involve elaborate lapbooks, and a lot of good printables can be found online to do word searches and other activities, but I prefer to take it easy with writing. Smarty and I agreed to keep a notebook of “famous finds” for this project, where every person or event will get a page with main bullet points (useful for future note taking). This is what Smarty put together for President Kennedy. We also had a free form discussion about how she imagines life in the 1960s (life without computers and cell phones does seem like the last century now!)
5. Link Math or Science to History StudiesIt’s easy to link history to language arts, but math or science connection require a bit of thinking. See example below in Kennedy mini unit.
6. Do Not Over Plan and Go With the FlowIt’s tempting to go overboard trying to cram too much in a limited time. I am very guilty of this myself and trying to improve and reduce number of “academic” things we do. I am also learning to go with the flow and drop things I planned if daughter would rather do something of her own choosing. I keep reminding myself that our after school activities are optional part of our lives, not a mandatory exercise.
Example of a History Mini Unit – John F Kennedy Unit
- Book: Who Was John F. Kennedy? by Yona Zeldis McDonough
- Video: The Life and Times of John F. Kennedy
- Kennedy Live: Inaugural Address
- Write: What we learned from Who Was John F. Kennedy book
- Math (advanced second grade): George Washington was elected in 1789, and President Kennedy was elected in 1961. He was our 35th president? What was the average length in the office for the presidents before him?
- Conversation topic: How you imagine life in 1960s when President Kennedy was in the office? What was the same and what was different?
More History for Kids
- My blog friend Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom is a true history lover. Check out her Adventures in Mommydom history posts.
- Phyllis at All Things Beautiful is another great resource, especially if you homeschool. She also has a monthly history and geography link up.
- Homegrown Learners has a wealth of resources for The Story of the World
Follow Natalie's board History on Pinterest.