Ten Ways to Make History InterestingLisa B
Homeschool mom confession time.
I find most history lessons painfully boring. In fact, unless Linda Lacour Hobar is teaching, I’ll probably zone out.
Since I can’t have my kids growing up oblivious to tales of pilgrims and pharaohs, I had to find ways to make history more interesting. Here are my ten tips for getting your kids bitten by the history bug.
10 Ways to Make History More Interesting
- Play Dress Up – It doesn’t need to be fancy or even realistic looking. The learning will happen when they are trying to figure out what they are supposed to wear. Just let their imaginations run free. We used bike helmets, sheets, and pipe cleaners for our Romans vs. Greeks day.
- Cook – Good food can make a boring thing more tolerable. Check websites like Delish.com or Restaurant-ing through History to find a recipe that fits your lesson. Even if you don’t find a new dish to add to your meal planning, you will pick up some pretty interesting trivia in your searches.
- Netflix – History documentaries aren’t what they used to be. Shows like Drive Thru History and America: Story of Us, present historical facts in entertaining and engaging ways. If you don’t have Netflix, check your local library. Most libraries offer DVD check out. Need some ideas for movies? Check out 7 Sisters’ post on 20 of their favorite history movies for homeschool.
- Crafts – Have a hands-on learner? Try doing crafts from different periods of history. Crafting is one way to bring history to life for kids (and mom).
- Field Trips – Zoos and caverns are great for science, but how about a trip to an historical home, a battlefield, or a culture museum? Roadtrippers.com is a great site for planning a road trip, even a short one down the street. Click on History under Find Places to discover varieties of historical destinations.
- Reenactments – You don’t need to be a civil war buff to enjoy a good reenactment. Watch a local Pow Wow or participate in the dancing. Check your local culture museums for workshops and day classes that teach historical skills such as butter churning or chair making.
- Recreating – Stay home and recreate historical landmarks with Legos, Lincoln Logs, salt dough, or even inside a video game such as Minecraft.
- Be a Reporter – People love to tell stories, especially the Grandma and Grandpa crowd. Dress your child up like a reporter and let her interview someone about the past. It could be on a specific event or a general what was life like when interview. If possible, make it a video interview and let your child practice video editing skills. Turn it all into a language arts lesson by writing the interview into a proper newspaper article.
- Proper Curriculum – Not all curriculum is created equal. Our first year, we had a very public school-like textbook that I disliked greatly. The following year I used something that was more along the lines of story telling, and my daughter hated it. For the past couple months, we have been using The Mystery of History with no crying or white knuckles. The short, story-style lessons offer just enough new material to be interesting without dragging on and losing the interest of my girls (or me). The multiple activity options give me flexibility to assign work as needed and according to learning style. If your curriculum doesn’t fit your teaching style or their learning style, it will never work.
- Play Games – I openly confess that I do not like board games. Games are, however, an excellent way to engage children into accidental learning. Games like Ticket to Ride and Hail to the Chief are fun, easy ways to reinforce a history lesson. Does your child prefer computer games? Common Sense Media has a great list of games that teach history for PC and gaming consoles.
What creative ways to do you teach history?