Bringing History to Life

How does your homeschooler react when you say, "It's time for history?" If you've noticed a lackluster response lately, perhaps it's time to put away those DVD documentaries and back off from memorizing countless names, dates, and facts. Why not add some new life to your history lessons with a few of the ideas listed below?

Maps - Find all the maps you can when studying a particular country or time period. Provide your child with a variety of resources such as: world, national, and state maps, a globe, or Internet sites with historical reference maps. You can even go into detail when studying a particular war or battle and have your child make a three-dimensional topographical model.

Reenact the scene or experience the time - Help your child paint a mental picture of the time, place, or event in history with a skit or puppet show to illustrate the important details. For instance, you could have your child dress as Abraham Lincoln and deliver the Gettysburg Address from memory or you could have your child play a game that was common during that time era. The American Kids in History Series from Alpha Omega Publications® (AOP) is an excellent resource for additional projects, games, crafts, and activities that will help your child experience life during colonial, pioneer, Civil War, or Revolutionary War days.

Time lines - Make a time line on a chart that surrounds the entire perimeter of your schoolroom. As you study a particular event or time in history, have your child make pictures representing the event and place them near the appropriate date. Correlate your art studies and paint or draw the pictures or make a collage of photos.

Character study - Write a composition highlighting a good or bad character quality of a particular person in the time period you are studying. February is a wonderful month to highlight American presidents such as George Washington. For instance, your child could compare and contrast the leadership styles of Presidents George Washington and Barrack Obama.

Literature - Use good literature to enhance your child's love of history. An abundant supply of historical fiction, biographies, and reference works related to history exists today for elementary through high school age levels. The true stories found in AOP's American Adventures series are historical accounts that your child will love. Such books can supplement your homeschool curriculum and be used for book reports, term papers, and other written assignments.

Field trips - Visiting museums and historical locations is the best way to make history come alive for your child. Take advantage of low-cost opportunities within your own state, and don't overlook those historical roadside markers! The Monarch™ State History electives for grades 7-12 will help you determine points of interest and important facts to teach your children about your own state. Hint: The more your child studies before taking your field trip, the more he will be able to understand and remember. Perhaps the best type of museum to visit is a "living" one where volunteers, dressed in clothing of the period, perform the tasks and practice the crafts of the past.

Illustrated books and videos - One picture is still worth a thousand words! Visit the over-sized book section of your local library or print pictures and photos from the Internet. Don't forget, however, that works of art illustrating historical events can be subjective and may not depict events as they actually happened. Your child will also love today's fun and exciting videos that make history come alive such as the Drive Thru History DVDs from AOP.

History is sure to become your child's favorite subject again if you add a few of the above ideas to a solid, Bible-based curriculum such as Monarch or Switched-On Schoolhouse® History and Geography for grades 3-12. As your child studies the rise and fall of individuals, governments, and nations through a Christian worldview, he will understand the truth of Romans 15:4a, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning."

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