Tips from A Mom's Quest to Teach for picking the best history curriculum for your homeschool and family.
What is your goal when it comes to teaching history in your homeschool? And what is your philosophical approach to teaching in your homeschool? Do you teach all of your children at the same time around the dining room or kitchen table or does each child work independently on curriculum that best suits their learning style?
As someone who has always loved history, there are a wide variety of history curriculum and materials that I love. From Home School in the Woods (which allows you to use hands-on materials to meet the needs and interests of your homeschooling students) to Notgrass History (which takes a more expected approach with textbooks, supplemental literature to read, and a variety of activities and questions provided both in the workbook and textbook), there are so many great options. You can also find a great number of history, social studies, and geography courses at SchoolhouseTeachers.com where you can pick and choose what works for your homeschooling child and family.
Ask Some Questions
What are you looking for in your history curriculum? Do you want it all printed out and ready to open and go? Are you looking for lesson plans that are easy to follow but still give you more flexibility than a textbook? Do you want unit studies? What about lessons that tie into your other subjects like literature and science?
Download a worksheet to record your answer to these questions.
What Area of History Are You Studying?
Of course, some of your decisions may be guided by what area or time period of history you wish to study in your homeschool. Are you studying United States History, World History, Ancient History, geography, government, economics, or a combination of some of them?
If you are interested in taking a geographical approach, Let's Go Geography may be a great resource for your elementary-aged students. I also find it is very easy to incorporate other history resources into this curriculum. You can truly tailor it to meet the needs of your homeschool family.
If you are homeschooling a high school student, you might want to incorporate government or economics into their schedule. Last year, our teen used Exploring Government from Notgrass History to study the United States government. I really felt this was an excellent curriculum that opened up the door to good discussions. We also used the Student Review Pack with our teen to help assess his knowledge at the end of the different chapters and units. This year, we have incorporated economics and business courses into his schedule using Money 101 and Business Plan Creation from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. These are all very important areas of study that fall under social studies or history.
This year with our second grader I decided that we would further study American History using Our Star-Spangled Story Curriculum Package (and literature package) from Notgrass History. I made this decision after downloading and looking at the samples they provide on their site. It is truly a beautiful set of textbooks for teaching about the founding and history of America. We are using one student workbook right now with our son, but in the future, I may purchase an additional workbook if our daughter also uses the curriculum.
Every homeschooling family is different. And what works for your family this year may not work for you next year. Perhaps reading books and watching fun, educational videos like Drive Thru History® worked while your children were younger, but now that they are older they wish to work independently and online. Even after you pick a history curriculum, don't be afraid to make changes or modifications—if you need to—for your homeschool and your children. Sometimes, you need to make changes to keep history alive and interesting and that is okay. Providing your children with an environment conducive to learning and helping them to enjoy their schooling should take precedence in your homeschool over any sense of "getting it just right."