My Favorite Homeschool History Resources

I missed out on joining in with the Virtual Curriculum Fair this year, but I enjoy sharing resources that have worked well for me. So throughout this month, I’m going to share some of my favorite all time resources in various homeschool subjects- not just the materials we’re using right now but resources I’ve used and loved throughout our homeschooling years.

History has always been a subject I’ve enjoyed. When I was in school, I loved history. Even in high school when I had a less than interesting history teacher, the subject was one I always looked forward to. It wasn’t hard to love history again when I began studying it more in depth with my children.

Homeschool history curriculum

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American History or World History: Which to Teach

The history I grew up with in a traditional school setting was focused primarily on American history all throughout school. We also had a year in which we studied our state history. But we really covered no world history until a year in high school. In that one year we crammed in everything from the dawn of Creation through the World Wars. (And no I’m not that old, but we ran out of time to continue.) The American history was interesting to me. And as a young child I loved learning about the pioneers and reading Little House on the Prairie. I loved reading about the Revolutionary War and learning about our first presidents. I even loved the year we had to memorize the names of the states and capitols and label them on a blank map. (Although I’m not sure how many I could remember now.) But world history enthralled me. And we barely scratched the surface.

When I began homeschooling with the traditional materials I had grown up using, it was all I knew. It wasn’t until a few years into homeschooling that I was introduced to a Classical education model and then to the principles of Charlotte Mason. Both of these homeschooling methods resonated with me. And, although I definitely brand myself as “eclectic”, we tend toward a Classical/Charlotte Mason homeschool approach. With this approach, I learned the value of studying world history, and I began using a world history curriculum with a cyclical approach to teach history.

My children did not study formal American history when they were young. Kathryne has now covered a year of American history in high school; Charles covered a year of American history in middle school; and my younger girls have had a year of American history this year. The base of our history study has been cycles of world history. We learned about American history, though, in the context of holidays. In the summer near July 4, we read books and talked about the Revolutionary War. When Thanksgiving rolled around we read about the Pilgrims and other early Americans. Around Veteran’s Day we talked about World Wars 1 and 2 and read books about what those wars meant in the history of our country. We also read about American history with great books- the Little House on the Prairie series, Sarah, Plain and Tall, The Sign of the Beaver.

This is the model of studying history that I prefer. I think that learning world history really gives us a foundation to see God’s hand throughout the whole of history. And I think that a basis in world history helps us to better understand how America- our country- fits into the picture.

Great World History Resources

Diana Waring’s History Revealed Ancient Civilizations and the Bible Although we only used this first year of Diana Waring’s History Revealed Curriculum, I loved the resource. Beginning with creation, the curriculum covers ancient history from a distinctly Christian worldview. It is meant to be used with the whole family. There is a separate workbook for older students and for younger students, and each lesson has a variety of activities to match varied ages and learning styles.

Homeschool world history

Story of the World- I know there is some debate about Story of the World in Christian homeschooling communities because it is not written from a Christian worldview. I loved the books as a supplement, however. I didn’t want to use them as a primary curriculum, but they are extremely well-written and hold the attention of children because they are written like a good story, not a choppy textbook. They were excellent for reading aloud or listening to from the audio CDs.

Story of the World

Big Book of History– I love to be able to see how all of history fits together because I’m a very visual person. I think this view of how all of history flows together is one reason I love to study the history of the whole world and not just American history. The Big Book of History isn’t a true curriculum, but it can certainly be used a spine or jumping off point. The “book” is a foldout timeline of major historical events from Creation to the invention of computers. Major events are highlighted with information given about them. We love to look up events that we’re reading about to see where they fit in the big scheme of things.

World history timelines

HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline Materials from Home School in the Woods- Again, this isn’t a curriculum but is an awesome supplement. Home School in the Woods has a great set of timeline figures in stages from Creation to modern times. They also sell beautiful hardbound timeline books (which we don’t own), but they show other ways you can use the figures to create your own timeline. (We have a wall timeline.) You can use these figures with any curriculum, and they include them in their curriculum materials.

History timeline figures

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Studies- Also from Home School in the Woods, these curriculum packs covering various world history topics are very hands-on. The materials you purchase include all of the reading you need, audio files, lapbook components and notebooking activities. We used the Middle Ages Project Passport and thoroughly enjoyed it. They’re recommended for grades 3-8 and are good for using with multiple students because you can adapt for age and ability.

Middle ages history curriculum

My Father’s World- I can’t leave a discussion of awesome world history resources without talking about My Father’s World. (And they have American history as well.) For me, it’s been that curriculum that I just wish I discovered sooner. We began using it several years ago when Kathryne hit high school. After research, she wanted to use it for her high school studies, and I picked out one of their history cycle years for the other three to do together. I love it. All of my favorite things- great literature, hands-on activities, coordinated subjects, activities for multiple ages- are here. My Father’s World offers an American history for early elementary, and then grades 3-8 follow the world history cycle. In high school, they’ll cover more world history and then American history and government. It’s such a great, literature-rich resource.

Literature-based history curriculum

Great American History Resources

Little Hands Celebrate America- We used this book- geared toward kindergarten to early elementary- when the kids were young to bring in American history around holidays. It’s a crafts and activities book that covers major moments in American history.

American history crafts and activities

The Our America series from Susan Kilbride- This set of six books written for upper elementary and middle school kids follows the adventures of two time traveling twins as they seek their parents who are lost in American history. We began with The Pilgrim Adventures and read the series. It’s good literature, and the people and events surrounding the story of the twins are all true to history, so it’s a great way to actually learn about the history of the time period in a meaningful way instead of from a dry and dusty textbook.

American history books

Drive Thru History: American History Series- We haven’t seen all of these, but I have used some of these episodes to supplement with some American history. They’re funny and catch the attention of the kids, but they are “meaty” enough to actually teach the history of the time period.

American history DVDs

History is a subject I don’t want to stop learning- even when the kids have graduated and my homeschooling days are done. I love to read and learn about the history of the world around us. When I don’t have kids to homeschool any longer, I’ll just have to buy history books for myself.

What are your favorite history resources?

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