Homeschool History Curriculum
Using Current Events

by Linda Wakefield Kelley

Teaching history by tapping into current events is as easy as tuning the TV to the news channel each morning. As you're having your coffee with breakfast, take a few minutes and catch your favorite news talk show.

Notebooking page from my daughter's journal about 9-11.

Then, make what's happening around the world your history lesson for the day. Our family loves producing journals and lap books themed around the current event. Here are a couple of pages from Sarah's 9-11 journal. Each of the children started their books on 9-11 and they've added to them on each subsequent year anniversary.

These journals are stuffed full of pictures, prayers, quotes, and memories. They've included mini-biographies of family members lost that day. They've written about local heroes that were in New York that fateful day and so much more. What a keepsake these books have become!

Journal page from my daughter's notebook on the one-year anniversary of 9-11.

A major current event is a no-brainer. But, smaller news happenings can be just as exciting to study. Throughout our home schooling years we've explored the following current event themes amongst others:

  • Groundhog Day
  • The Olympics
  • Local Veterans and their Wars
  • The Geography of our town/state (i.e. when a river flooded etc.)
  • The Ethnic makeup of our region

Here's another idea we've used to add current events to our History Curriculum. We've researched "past" current events. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?! It is in a way. But, what we've successfully done is to to research and then write about events as though they were happening today.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debate, for example, proved to be an entertaining and educational topic to analyze. The children were challenged to write newspaper articles about the debate as though it was happening in today's political climate. They also had to find a current debate to compare to the historical one. Listing similarities and differences in debate styles from yesteryear to today was a fascinating experiment.

The library is a great resource for current events. They have a wonderful collection of newspapers and magazines. It is always fun to spend an hour or two lounging among the racks there. 

A huge resource for current events these days are apps you can download onto your phone or tablet. My favorite news app is Flipboard for Android. After selecting topics and magazines of interest, you can quickly flip through the news of the day. 

Technology is being included in the educational process more and more. Why not take advantage when it helps to make education more efficient.

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