How to Homeschool American History
so that It Is Fun

Homeschool American history is fun. It is exciting. There are so many ways to make history interesting. Read a historical fiction to your child. Make handicrafts. Cook food from the period. Visit museums or reenactments. When you teach American history in interesting ways your child will naturally learn the people and dates of the times.

Periods of American History

There are different ways to homeschool American history. Besides reading historical novels, read biographies to your child. Watch a movie and discuss it with your child. Take your child on a road trip and visit historical monuments.

You can start to homeschool American History with the Explores or life in the colonies. The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall starts with Columbus discovering America.

Colonial Period

It seems that when my children were young we would go over the first Thanksgiving with my children every year. I would read about the Pilgrims in the Light and the Glory. We would discuss the pilgrims coming to the new world. My children colored pictures.

We also read Pilgrim Stories by Margaret Pumphrey and Everyday Life in the Colonies by Gertrude L. Stone and M. Grace Fickett. My children have always enjoyed reading about the first Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims.

Revolutionary War

When we studied the Revolutionary War I read biographies of George Washington and Francis Key Scott. Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Longfellow is also interesting to read.

Visit the East Coat and experience American History. At Jamestowne you can explore the first European settlement and see an archeological dig. At Jamestown you can view a 17 century museum. (There are two places named Jamestown.) While in Jamestown view a colonial fort and a Native American village. At Williamsburg and Yorktown you can view exhibits of the revolutionary war. All of the exhibits are in Virginia.

Going Westward

My children and I liked to learn about the pioneers. We read and studied about the Lewis and Clark expedition. We went to the Lewis and Clark Interpretation Center in Washington and Fort Clatsop in Oregon. Fort Clatsop has a replica of the Lewis and Clark winter fort. During certain times Fort Clatsop has live demonstrations of pioneer life.

Besides going on field trips we read historical fiction about the time period. We read the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

We also watch movies. My children liked Sarah Plain and Tall, Love Comes Softly, and the Little House on the Prairie.

We used the Little House on the Prairie Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker to make bread. We also learned to make vinegar.

People who lived in the colonial and frontier time period had to make most of what they had. You can homeschool American history by having your child research the history of farming, preserving food, and handicrafts. There are handicrafts that will be interesting to both boys and girls..

The War Between the States

We went to civil war reenactments near where we live. There are groups of people who do reenactments throughout the United States. My girls were interested in the fashion of the period. My boys liked to see the battles. Children with a sensory issue especially to loud noises might have difficulty going to a Civil War reenactment.

We read biographies about Stonewall Jackson, General Lee, General Grant, and Abraham Lincoln. We also read The Drinking Gourd by F.N. Monjo.

After the Civil War

For the time after the Civil War we read more biographies and historical fiction. For the progressive era we read about the Wright Brothers, and George Washington Carver. My girls read about the American Girl Samantha. (American Girl is a company that sells historical dolls and stories.)

We have not talked a lot about WWI, the Depression, or WWII. My girls did read more of the American Girl stories. For the Depression my girls read the American Girl series Kit. I read Sounder by William H. Armstrong to my children.

For WWII I read Run for Your Life by Betty Swinford. My girls read another American Girl book about Molly. We discuss a lot of current event at the dinner table. We also talk about events in the car.

For us WWI, the depression, and WWII will be studied more during the high school years.

More Ideas for Homeschool American History

  • Have your child talk to his grandparents about what life was like when they were growing up. Talk to other senior citizens about how they grew up.
  • Look at old family photographs
  • Go to town museums
  • Visit historical monuments
  • Look for online museums
  • Look for historical pictures
  • Look for historical fiction and biographies that will interest your child.

Most of the books that I have listed are for elementary children. Next year my daughter will be taking United States history as a high school student. To make it interesting I plan to have her watch historical movies and read the Winslow series.

American history can be fun for all learning styles and abilities. Even children who struggle with learning can have fun learning history when they go places and do hands-on activities.

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