Although the people we study in history lived decades or even centuries ago, their actions impacted how we live our lives today. Names, dates, facts…these are some of the things that I hear students complain about when they talk about disliking history. It’s too confusing…they can’t put it into context. A visual display, however, can help tie everything together in an easier-to-digest format! Our two favorite, visually-appealing ways to link historic events include this book (fantastic for those with small spaces) and this wall chart (for those with a dedicated homeschool area).
But it’s not just faceless names and random dates; history is full of transitional events that have altered the world’s story. By learning about different eras, you start to see what changes might happen in the future and what would drive that change. For example, learning about the fall of Rome teaches you that even the most powerful society can fall apart—and what happens to cause that crumbling.
By studying history, humanity has a chance to learn from its mistakes, theorize about alternative options based on correcting past mistakes as it moves forward with future events. After all, history rhymes…so it’s likely that there will be a chance to act differently in the future.
There are five concepts – or 5 Cs – of history. These are at the heart of every question historians ask as they seek to better understand the past, and they include (from most easily understood to the more complex): change over time, causality, context, complexity, and contingency. The strangeness of the past enables us to step back and look at our society and ourselves from a new perspective—indeed, we might start to look a bit strange to ourselves! (Think not? Check out Motel of the Mysteries)
Geography gets a bad rap for being boring, but usually that’s just because it’s not being taught in an engaging way. After all, who wants to look at a bunch of maps for places they’ve never been (or possibly never even heard of) and think about people and things they will never see? To really get kids interested in geography, you have to bring it to life!
Why study geography?
Geography is the study of humans and people through space, throughout time, and how those spaces have shaped history. Every place has a history behind it, shaped by humans, earth, and climate. By studying geography, we gain meaning and awareness to those places, which also puts history in context. It helps us see the why, when, and how of what happened in history. Learn more about History, Mythology, and World Cultures.
Studying countries also helps with spatial awareness and mapping skills. If you don’t know where a place is, or the physical context of the area, how can you understand what is being reported on the news? Learning about land, resources available, and how that has shaped a culture of today helps you understand the uniqueness of each local culture.
Geography helps us to explore and understand the differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes, and environments across the world. By understanding these things, we can explore the connections between them. As we learn how all people are interconnected, it makes the world a little bit smaller, making us care just a bit more about our fellow man…even if he is halfway around the globe.
Unlike traditional schooling, homeschooling affords you the opportunity to jump down rabbit trails! What’s a rabbit trail? This is when your child develops a sudden interest in a topic, and you spend the whole day (or week, or month) exploring that topic in-depth, following the trail as far as it goes, or until your child moves on to another interest. Regardless of age, this is a valuable tool to add to your homeschooling toolbelt!
Developed by a 19th century educator who believed in reading ‘living books’ rather than ‘twaddle,’ this approach involves living learning. It revolves around reading aloud together as a family, and following child interests. Nature walks, art museums, and living books are all a part of this approach.
Unit Studies This approach takes all of the subjects and smashes them together in an in-depth study of a topic. For example, a unit study of Rome might include reading and writing about Rome, studying the history of Roman emperors, calculating timelines and marketplace purchases, creating artwork and projects from Ancient Roman times, and studying water (from the aqueducts built during this era). Units may be literature-based, and this is a great style for teaching multiple grades together.
Definitely for the Type B family, this is a child-centered approach to schooling. There are no formal lessons, or even formal curriculum, but the children follow their interests and learn from life experiences. Schedules are not utilized, and there is much flexibility and freedom. This does not mean that they don’t read, write, and do math, but that they follow their interests. Math might be adding up the tab at the restaurant, or figuring the tax.
Aviation history is over two millennia old, with earliest forms existing in China’s kite-flying. DaVinci dreamed of man flying in the 15th century, and the Montgolfier brothers began manned flight with hot air balloons in the 18th century. Lilienthal experimented with gliders in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until two brothers took a short break from gravity, in December 1903, that flight really ‘took off!’
Since that time, modern scientists and aviators have worked together to grow the industry by leaps and bounds, including zeppelins, jet engines, flying boats, pilotless drones, space flight, and long-distance space travel…
A big part of our school year is the field trips. Generally, we will study a topic ahead of time and then take the field trip – this helps them to fully understand the hands-on experiences. The kids have been to nearly every state, and experienced a wide range of of historical, scientific, and cultural activities that they wouldn’t have been able to do solely in our home state. Not every family is able to road school, but that doesn’t mean that field trips shouldn’t be a part of your school.
Field Trips in Town
Attend a library program
Local historic architecture
Historic Museums (some are free)
Pick-Your-Own Farm Visit
Zoo (only free on certain days, or with a pass)
Factory tours (some are free)
Visit the beach, lake, or riverbank
State Fairs have homeschool days
Visit the local airport
Work in a community garden
Shadow a business (teens)
Animal workshop at the pet shop
Field Trip Starters
Zoo Studies — unit study bundle with sixteen zoo features
Some families choose a name, and even a mascot, for their homeschool. Some have Not-Back-to-School parties with their local co-ops. There are as many homeschool traditions as there are unique families! What do you do?
Back to Homeschool
Kick off the new school year with cute shirts for everyone! Get matching shirts and call them your family’s field trip uniform. 💖
Everyone is out buying back-to-school supplies….the neighborhood kids have cute, new clothes…and your kids are suddenly wondering why they aren’t having nearly as much fun going back to homeschool. But there are many fun ways to celebrate going back-to-homeschool!
Download several different Responsibility Charts & Writing through the Holidays packet, along with dozens of other goodies, free at Homeschool On the Range’s Subscriber’s Library.
A good planner can work wonders for keeping you organized from the get-go. This undated, reusable planner has you covered with daily plans, schoolwork, long-range planning, and meal organizers as well as chore charts and book lists!
It might seem daunting to create a unit study at first, but anyone is capable of creating a unit study in just a few easy steps.
On the airplane, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before putting your children’s on…because we’re not really useful to others if we’re passed out. Or burnt out. Remember to take some time this year to focus on self-care.
You may be one of those families that has been homeschooling for 9 years or so and now are on the home stretch, or you may be new to the journey and have gotten in over your head and wondered if this is the right choice. Any and all of us could use a Booster Shot at some point…
Take a break from the drudgery and inject some uniqueness into your homeschool with book studies from Literary Adventures.
End of the Year
Is your feed flooded with pictures of kids receiving various awards at their schools? No need to feel left out. Homeschool kids deserve awards too! 😎 And we’re homeschooling, so you know what that means…..personalized awards!!!