Choosing Homeschool History Read-Alouds for Young LearnersLara Molettiere
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” ~ Michael Crichton
Teaching History to Young Learners
Teaching history is important because history gives us a foundation. It teaches us roots, religions, human nature, creation, exploration, destruction, and the importance of learning from the past in order to make the present and future better. Lighting a fire for historical knowledge in young learners is a wonderful way to begin your homeschooling journey.
In addition to finding a fun and engaging history curriculum like The Mystery of History, choosing supplemental read alouds and books for strewing (strategically laying things around) is an important but easy way to continue to encourage a love of history in your children.
Tips for Choosing Historical Read Alouds for Home School
With young learners, engaging content and pictures are very important. Here are a few criteria that work well for our homeschool:
- Find books with wonderful illustrations, but try to look for a style your child enjoys. At one point, only cartoon-type pictures intrigued my oldest boy, but now that we are entering kindergarten age, he loves pencil and watercolor illustrations and anything that is realistic-but-funny. Work with what appeals to your child as much as possible when they are young.
- Rhyming books are a delight for many age ranges. When you can find a factual history book written in rhyme for younger learners, you’ve found a treasure.
- Follow your child’s interest when borrowing or purchasing books. If your six-year-old loves airplanes, look for books on flight, on the Wright Brothers, on Da Vinci, and the mechanics of birds. Even if the written content is too advanced, becoming familiar with the general history and the pictures will help put in place the pegs for future in-depth history study.
- Ask fellow homeschool mothers for recommendations of books they have found helpful and fun. There are too many wonderful books to find them all on your own. Your librarian is also a wonderful resource!
- Living history books like Little House on the Prairie that don’t contain pictures but have wonderful content make great read alouds for quiet play time. Try reading these in 10-15 minute segments to your younger learners.
When you find a book that your child loves, try to incorporate an activity that relates directly to the book. Hands-on learning is a great way to help solidify a time period for your child. Try The Mystery of History Volume II Cookbook for some historical kitchen fun.
Here are a few of the read-aloud treasures we have for this year to use alongside The Mystery of History Volume IV:
- When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit — A semi-autobiographical tale about a young girl and her family’s escape from Germany in 1933.
- Imagination Station: Problems in Plymouth — A fun read to introduce children to Plymouth and its history.
- Sky Pioneers— A vintage book about the Wright Brothers with lovely illustrations and aviation information for elementary age learners who love flight.
- Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May — A great recounting of the life and convictions of Patrick Henry.
- Sir Francis Drake – The illustrations keep my kinder-aged boy turning the pages for hours. Plus, the story of Sir Francis Drake is retold in a fun, rhyming ballad.
- John Phillip Sousa — Music is part of learning US History in our homeschool. Who better to help than the March King John Phillip Sousa?
- By The Dawn’s Early Light — How The Star Spangled Banner came to be, told with beautiful illustrations.
- John, Paul, George, and Ben —Embellished with both fact and fable, this is a fun look at the founding fathers.
- Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus — A remarkably illustrated but simple to understand telling of Christopher Columbus’ life and travels.
- Emmett Kelly, Jr.: Travels Through American History with the World’s Most Famous Hobo Clown — A brilliant piece of history is enclosed in this book. The stories and photographs capture an incredible piece of America and really bring history alive for young and old alike!