While you may have visions of doing exciting history lessons as you homeschool your children, you may instead hear them groan and declare, “History is boring!”
This could be especially true if your children studied history in a traditional school setting where it truly was boring. In fact, if your children had bad experiences with history in school, you may need to take some time to deschool a bit to get them to the point of thinking history can truly be interesting.
So how do you change their minds about history without losing yours in the process? You need to reframe history in terms of story, people, topics, and styles.
Tell a Story
History is a story. If you use The Mystery of History, then you will approach the subject of history from the perspective that it is all about telling God’s redemptive story with people through the ages.
If your children don’t see history as a story but a bunch of facts and events that have no relation to each other, your first goal is simply to win them over to the idea that history is a fascinating story to be read. Focus less on getting them to remember details and more on the intrigue, suspense, wonder and joy of the stories being told.
Meet Real People
Every great history story is made up of interesting people. They might be extraordinary in some way or they might be simple people who lived simple lives. In either case, you can introduce your children to real people who lived and breathed and ate and played just like they do. These people aren’t abstract ideas. They were flesh and blood just like us.
Who can you start with? Depending on your child’s age and interests, you can consider these:
If your children don’t like history, start with living books that tell fascinating stories about real people. Make your history time a family read aloud time each day. If you need something concrete to show your children are listening and learning, have them keep a notebook and draw pictures of what you are reading to them. Just keep it simple so you don’t take the enjoyment out of it.
Use Highly Engaging Topics
Most children find certain historical topics interesting. These include The Titanic, Ancient Egypt, Knights in the Middle Ages, and the Civil War. If your children are truly burned out on history, you might be better off choosing a few topics that are of great interest to them to start with and then working your way toward an history curriculum like The Mystery of History.
Don’t Forget Learning Styles
Each child is wired to learn best in a certain way. If your children are resistant to history, make a special effort to present the information in a way that connects best with his or her learning style. The same material presented a different way can make all the difference in the world.
Some children learn best from videos and movies. Others prefer to listen to you read. Maybe your children would love to act out whatever you are learning. Or you might have one who prefers to make something that represents what she learned. The more you can teach to your child’s strength, the easier it will be to teach history.
History is Fascinating!
History truly is fascinating when taught well. The secret it finding out what clicks for your children and then making the most of it. Once they are hooked, history may very well become their favorite subject!