History has a reputation as a dry subject to learn, but with the right tools and techniques, you can instill a sense of wonder and fascination with learning about history. Here are some fun ways you can teach history to your homeschool students.
- Make It Personal
People become more invested in learning when the topics they’re learning about apply to them. History applies to everyone, even people who don’t realize it. You can use this to your advantage with your homeschool students. Assign them projects on local historical events, such as the founding of your town, local historical figures and significant historical events that have taken place in and around your community. Family history is similarly easy to get people invested in. With modern databases, you can assign a student a project to research his or her family and ancestors by finding information such as 1950 census records.
- Start with Documentary Materials
An easy way to begin teaching your students about any historical topic is with a documentary. You can also introduce students to topics with feature films, though these are likely to take more liberties with the source material than documentaries. Whatever type of visual media you choose to use, it’s likely to cause your students to become far more interested than a textbook could. Documentaries are meant to help people learn the basics of a topic and are far more engaging than textbooks and historical research books. Short-form videos are increasingly available online, so you can even start incorporating them as short introductions to various history topics you want to teach your students. You can begin each lesson with a short video or a clip from a documentary and then expand into other forms of teaching and media.
- Supplement Traditional Study with Interactive Activities
Making history lessons fun doesn’t mean you should neglect traditional learning. This type of learning is an important aspect of schooling and works quite well for many students. However, it’s a good idea to supplement traditional lesson plans with more interactive and unique activities. If your homeschool student has a large amount of creative energy, assign him or her a creative project, such as creating a comic based on one of your history lessons instead of writing a research paper, for example.
- Expand Your Review and Assessment Options
It can be easy to decide to simply assign your homeschool students tests or traditional research papers to assess their advancements through your curriculum and ensure they’ve absorbed what you’ve been teaching them. Try instead to find ways to expand your options for review and assessment. Instead of testing students, engage them in learning games, assign them unique research projects such as creating videos about topics in your curriculum, and provide them with opportunities to engage with other students online.
- Set up Historical Field Trips
One of the easiest ways to make learning history fun is to take your homeschool students on historical field trips. There are many field trip options available to you, though they will vary depending on where you live. If you live on the east coast of the United States, for example, it should be easy to find historical reenactments, museums and historical sites based around American colonial history and the revolutionary war. In major cities, there are many museums dedicated to national, international, state and regional history that you can bring your students to. At these museums, you can take guided tours, set up scavenger hunts or allow your students to gravitate toward what they find most interesting.
The best way to help kids of any age learn and want to learn is to tailor lessons to their interests and schooling needs. Think about your student’s learning style and what he or she is interested in. If, for example, your teen prefers hands-on learning and enjoys science, find ways to teach them about the history of scientific discovery utilizing field trips and research projects.