While all kids have their favorite school subjects, it's especially sad to me when kids say they hate history. Unfortunately, I understand how it can happen. I, too, used to despise history because the method I encountered in public school presented history as a lifeless list of events, one after the other. I didn't see the narrative behind the people of history. There were few connections beyond the most basic cause and effect. And history didn't seem to have any relation to my own day to day life.
As homeschool parents, how can we prevent our kids from loathing history? And if it's already the case—if you have a child who hates history, how can we turn around that perception and help kids fall in love with history?
1. Use Narratives to Teach History
When history is taught with a dry textbook approach, it loses its ability to captivate. And history can captivate you when you use a better approach—namely stories.
I've been using Sonlight's History / Bible/ Literature D with my children, and its engrossing stories have helped them fall in love with American history unlike any textbook approach could ever do! Using a combination of picture books, Read-Alouds, and non-fiction, the Sonlight approach creates a sense of excitement when introducing children to history.
Stories are filled with adventure, excitement, and sometimes comedy. Let your children laugh and use their imagination when reading the narratives in Sonlight curriculum. Don't just read the story, transport your children to the scene and inspire them with your own curiosity about what will happen next.
2. Make a Lap Book
I love lap books! They are a great way to get children involved in creating a personalized papercraft that doubles as a history reference for future homeschool lessons. Sonlight now offers Lap Book Kits which make it easy to add this hands-on teaching strategy to your routine. If your kids are especially creative, they may want to go beyond the kit and create their own foldables. Let them express what they've learned through crafts if it helps them fall in love with history.
3. Play the Part
Your children will love dressing up as the characters in history and playing the part in a home play performed and directed by themselves. After a daily history lesson, encourage your kids to recreate what you read by acting out the parts. They don't need to write a script; let them improvise based on what they learned. This method is all about getting the children involved. Laughter and silliness are encouraged!
4. Do Hands-on Activities
When you read about something from history, try to do it yourself.
- Make butter by shaking heavy cream in a sealed jar to understand how Pioneers did it.
- Use clay to create beautiful little pots like the Native Americans of the West.
- Use a compass to understand how explorers navigated the continent without detailed maps.
Again, Sonlight makes hands-on activities easy with a kit that is just as open-and-go as their Instructor's Guides.
5. Keep a Timeline
Keeping track of what happened in history is much easier with the visual aid of a timeline. Instead of memorizing dates, create a timeline that you can reference. Sonlight's Timeline Book and timeline figures are part of each HBL. The Instructor's Guide tells you exactly which figures to place and where to put them. Again, if you have artsy kids, they may want to embellish their timelines with extra drawings, cut-outs, or descriptions.
Have fun transporting your children into history and guiding them to discover different cultures and events from the past. Inspire them by asking questions and learn alongside them by participating in fun activities. When you take a literature-rich and hands-on approach to history, you won't have a homeschool of history haters. Instead, history will be your kids' favorite subject of all!