by Linda Wakefield Kelley
Is your home school history curriculum boring you and the children to tears?
Learning history doesn't have to be simply memorizing a collection of facts about a bunch of dull dead guys.
Let's face it, what will your children remember most? A long recitation of William Tell's struggle with the Hapsburg rulers of Austria?
Or, the story being reenacted complete with Tell being forced to use his bow and arrow to shoot an apple placed atop his son's head?
The answer is obvious. What's perhaps less apparent is how important it is to make history an interactive subject for every age group.
Our son, Sean, understood pilgrim life much better after he dressed as one and spent the day as a young pilgrim would. He planted seeds, studied the Bible, sang hymns, napped on a bed of straw, counted using stones, played quoits, and dined on succotash.
When I gave him a quiz the next day, he earned a 100%, a better score than if I had tested him over material I had given a lecture on.
Why did he do so well? Because he had experienced history in real time. He had lived it!
Need some ideas to get your children excited about history? Try one of our Top Ten Tips for enhancing your home school history curriculum. Click on one of the pictures to discover several exciting activities guaranteed to bring the past into the present!
Number 1: Follow Current Events
One of the most organic ways to bring history into real time is by blending the day's current events with your curriculum. Pay attention to what's happening in the world and launch your lessons from there. Read more here.
Number 2: Hold a Geography Bee
Any time you include a game in your school day, you are bound to up the child attention ante. Right?! "We're not studying. We are playing a game." Interest is peaked and competitive drive kicks in. So why not capture attention by holding a Geography Bee. Learn more here.
Number 3: Study State History
Let's face it, there is a sense of pride that is attached to home--our house, our town or city, and our state. Children are naturally curious about their roots and the land they live on. Why not use their interest to create excitement in the classroom? Read our example here.
Number 4: Visit History
If you ask your students, "Who is up for a field trip?" My guess is they will all answer, "ME!" While they may think they're escaping learning, the secret is they are most likely remembering MORE!
Number 5: Enhance your Christian Worldview
Researching the lives of missionaries, saints, and others who've made significant contributions to the history of Christianity is fascinating. Understanding why we believe what we believe is an important journey for students to make.
Number 6: Add Fun Books
There are not enough hours in the day to read all the wonderful books available. If you aren't capturing your child's interest in history with beautifully written and illustrated options, W-H-Y?!
Number 7: Choose an Engaging Home School History Curriculum
The same principle applies when you're choosing an entire curriculum as it does when selecting a single book, activity, or unit. Does it fully immerse the student across various learning styles? If not, perhaps it's time to search elsewhere. Here is an example.
Number 8: Spice it Up With Units
Year-long curriculum choices are a B-I-G commit. If that seems overwhelming, breaking subjects into smaller chunks often works well. Units can add variety and increase fascination with a topic. Give it a try!
Number 9: Add Drama
Who doesn't love a little drama in their life?! Ha! Seriously, though, your students will appreciate and remember history lessons brought to life on a stage, whether that stage is in your living room or at the local theater. Here are a few ideas for incorporating drama in your home school history curriculum.
Number 10: Have Fun
Even if history isn't your child's favorite subject, pledge to have some fun with it. Whether your children are home educated or attend a public or private school, it is important to pass on the lessons of the past. Combine humor, games, drama . . . and the learning will happen despite the merriment factor!These are our top ten ways to make History lessons memorable. What about you? If you have a creative approach that is not listed here, we'd love to hear about it.
British historian George Macaulay Trevelyan said, "If one could make alive again for other people some cobwebbed skein of old dead intrigues and breathe breath and character into dead names and stiff portraits. That is history to me!" If we can do the same for our children, they will learn lessons that will live within them forever.