Jul 132013

Homeschool History Curriculum Options and Ideas

For children with learning difficulties, history can be one of the most fun subjects to learn. Homeschool History can also be fun for you to teach!

As one of your first options, homeschool history curriculum in the form of “Living Books” can transport your child’s mind to the place and time of the historical events. Experiencing the events through visualization can add meaning that enables your child to remember. Learning history through stories can engage your child in a way that is much more effective than fact memorization.

Another homeschool history curriculum option that makes history ‘come alive’ is through videos. We often checked videos out from our local library. I printed a list from the online card catalog and we systematically checked out each video. Then we checked that particular video off of our homeschool history curriculum list.

Our goal is to have watched every National Geographic history video in our local library system, along with many travel videos. The travel videos let my boys gain visual knowledge about countries around the world.

We also borrowed History Channel Videos as our primary homeschool history curriculum. The History Channel has great documentaries that are rich in visual content.

The two programs I recommend most heavily for daily homeschool history curriculum are **Sonlight and **Beautiful Feet. Both programs provide homeschool history curriculum through literature. Personally, we used Sonlight for its comprehensive approach, but found that Beautiful Feet was very similar in approach and scope. The books used by these programs are often Caldecott or Newberry Award winners, are rich in historical content, and they make reading about history fascinating and enjoyable for your child.

When using Sonlight or Beautiful Feet as your homeschool history curriculum, it is best to use them as read-alouds if your child is not YET a good reader. The Sonlight program, in particular, is a LOT of reading. We bought a subset of the read-alouds (read by the parent) and a subset of the readers (read by the child) for our homeschool history curriculum. We used the readers for practicing reading skills as part of our reading instruction.

I purchased the Sonlight level that was two grade-levels below my son’s chronological grade placement our first year of homeschooling. After we had worked on reading for the first year, I bumped up two grade levels for the following year.

homeschool history curriculum

There are many “hands-on” field trips that can be taken as part of your homeschool history curriculum too. Outings to any historical places in your state or to nearby states, and virtual field trips on the Internet, are all fun options. Tours can make history seem more “real”.

Using multimedia homeschool history curriculum online and hands-on field trips has made History one of our children’s favorite subjects! We LOVED the DK books and visual encyclopedias to learn history in a rich and colorful way. ūüėČ

Jul 132013

Need Social Studies Homeschool Curriculum Options?

History can be fun when it’s NOT taught out of a traditional, 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. Social Studies Homeschool Curriculum lets you use books and programs that let history come alive! Hopefully one of the great social studies homeschool curriculum programs I share here will suit your needs.

By far, the best social studies homeschool curriculum for an active learner, a hands-on learner, or a child who would rather “do” than read, is Hands-On History. This project-based social studies homeschool curriculum 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 with your child.¬†The Hands-On History is not grade-based, so you are free to chose whichever program you’d like for your social studies homeschool curriculum in any given grade.

**Sonlight Curriculum is the program we used for our social studies homeschool curriculum and we LOVED it. Sonlight is a literature-rich approach to home schooling that brings history alive.¬† Sonlight uses great books and delightful stories that capture a child’s imagination 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 Readers.¬† 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 and was not simplistic like many early grade texts. Sonlight is not a multi-sensory program, but reading the books aloud while letting my son move all over the place, and incorporating multisensory activities into our daily instruction made this an effective social studies homeschool curriculum for us to use.

The Story of the World Audiobook formatwas a great choice for our social studies homeschool curriculum too.¬† We used the audiobooks for carschooling. Our entire family enjoyed the stories as a great addition to our learning about history while we traveled. This program was 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. The 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 for their social studies homeschool curriculum. The program is somewhat less involved than Sonlight’s program. Beautiful Feet uses classic literature, historical biographies, and great books to teach as many areas of academics as possible. Beautiful Feet is an enjoyable, story-based approach that keeps children interested in learning.

Much of what my child with dyslexia retained while studying history was learned through educational TV, DVDs, and Videos. I used them as a kind of “build my own” social studies homeschool curriculum.

Audio-Visual Options for Social Studies Homeschool Curriculum

The **Discovery Channelsocial studies homeschool curriculum has hundreds of great programs which bring history to life and make it memorable for a child who doesn’t learn well through books. The¬†Discovery Channel productions are particularly effective for visual or auditory learners. Programming includes American History, Ancient History, Prehistoric, Modern History, Religion, and much more. The best thing about using these educational programs for your social studies homeschool curriculum is that your child will learn without feeling like he’s in school! My kids LOVED it when they got to watch new Discovery Channel DVDs. We really enjoyed the “Blue Planet”, “Walking with Dinosaurs”, and the “War and Civilization” series too.

Another great resource for your social studies homeschool curriculum is the History Channel’s DVDssocial studies homeschool curriculum, 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 unit studies with the History Channel’s classroom series. We used the History Channel’s Classroom DVD series for our American History curriculum. The series was thoroughly enjoyable for my sons and a very painless social studies homeschool curriculum to use. If your child struggles with reading or prefers audio-visual learning, I think this series is among the best you can choose.