Jul 132013

History can be fun when it’s not taught out of a traditional, rather boring textbook!  When we began homeschooling, I discovered how interesting and FUN history can be.

Schooling my boys at home allowed us to get away from dry texts and to use books and programs that let history come alive!   Hopefully one of these great homeschooling programs will suit your needs.

By far, the best option if you have an active learner, a child who likes hands-on learning, or who would rather “do” than read, is Hands-On History. This project-based learning curricula has American, Ancient, Medieval, Geography, and many other unit-based studies.  If you go through each of the different Hands-On History activity-project books, then you will cover history in a comprehensive way.  The curricula is not grade-based, so you are free to chose whichever program you’d like in any given grade.

**Sonlight Curriculum is the program we have used and LOVED. Sonlight is a literature-rich approach to home schooling that brings history alive.  Sonlight uses great books and delightful stories that capture children’s imaginations and instruct them at the same time. We used Sonlight exclusively for our read aloud practice during our remediation for dyslexia. My children loved the books, begged to “read more, read more” (when I was reading the Read Alouds), and our kids reading levels increased dramatically when we started using Sonlight.  Using Sonlight allowed us to cover reading PRACTICE simultaneously with learning history.

Although my oldest was in fifth grade when we started homeschooling, we began our homeschooling with the third grade level of Sonlight books.  Sonlight proved to be an excellent choice because the content in the Sonlight books is not watered down to be simplistic like many early grade texts. Sonlight is not a multi-sensory program, but reading them aloud while letting my son move all over the place, and incorporating multisensory activities into our daily instruction made this program effective for us to use.

The Story of the World Audiobook formatwas a great choice for us.  We used the audiobooks for carschooling and we all enjoyed the stories as a great addition to our learning about history as we traveled. It is among the LEAST painful ways of learning history that I know!  The Story of the World and the Audiobook versions are Susan Wise Bauers’ acclaimed children’s narrative history. This four-volume series brings to life the stories and records of the peoples of ancient times. Although this series is geared towards an elementary level, older children enjoy the story-like reading as well.  The Story of the World makes for an enjoyable study of the world’s history.

**Beautiful Feet is a program very similar to Sonlight. Many people use it and love it. The program is somewhat less involved than Sonlight’s program. Beautiful Feet uses classic literature, historical biographies, and good books to teach as many areas of academics as possible. This is an enjoyable, story-based approach that keeps children interested in learning.

Much of what my child with dyslexia retained well was learned through educational TV, DVDs, and Videos. The **Discovery Channel has hundreds of great programs which bring history to life and make it memorable for a child who doesn’t learn through books. The Discovery Channel productions are particularly effective for visual or auditory learners and programming includes American History, Ancient History, Prehistoric, Modern History, Religion, and many more. The best thing about using these educational programs is that your child will learn without feeling like he’s in school! My kids LOVE it when we get new Discovery Channel DVDs and we have particularly enjoyed the “Blue Planet”, “Walking with Dinosaurs”, and the “War and Civilization” series.

Another great resource for “Hands-On” history is the History Channel’s DVDs, and their online content such as “This Day in History“. One of the Hands-On History series my kids like best is Modern Marvels. You can get study guides and look at study units in the History Channel’s classroom series which we used to cover American History thoroughly in an enjoyable way for my sons.

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