7 Ways to Make History Come Alive for Kids in Your Homeschool

When it comes to favourite subjects history is rarely at the top of the list.

This may be because history lessons tend to be hard to connect with and sometimes don't feel as real as subjects like science and maths that have everyday real-life connections.

It's time to turn away from dry text books and make history more fun, interesting and hands-on.

Read on to find out how to make history come alive for kids in your homeschool.

A great way to make it easier for your child to fall in love with history and remember what you are learning is to take the time to bring history to life with hands-on real-world connections, tangible examples, and engaging stories.

How Do You Make History Interesting for Kids?

It's important to make history engaging and interesting for kids, because when you take the time to make learning fun and exciting for your child the information is more likely to stick.

When it comes to history, much of what your child is learning can feel abstract or hard to connect with because they do not have real-life connections like you can easily do with science and math.

When you take the time to make learning history engaging you allow your child to feel as if they are part of history, make connections, and remember what they are learning while fostering a lifelong love of learning.

The good news is that there are a lot of great ways you can bring history to life in your homeschool to help really draw your child's attention and interest into your history lessons.

How Do You Make History Come Alive?

Here are 6 ways to bring history to life in your homeschool so that history leaps out of the dusty textbook and becomes alive for kids to participate in, learn and enjoy.

Bringing history to life in your homeschool has many benefits and is easy to do.

Simply finding ways to make connections between the past and the present can help make it easier for kids to learn while helping to capture your child's interest in history. 

1. Field Trips

Field trips are one of your best tools for bringing history to life in your homeschool.

Look for history-based field trips in your local community like museums and historical sites.

Most communities have a whole host of great historical sites and landmarks nearby that your family can visit to get a hands-on look at history.

If you want to find new places to visit check Google or you can often take a drive down the highway and look for brown signs marking great historical sites.

It's surprising what there can be right on your doorstep.

Do your research and you can build unit studies around the historical sites in your area to help make the most of these field trips and give your child the opportunity to learn even more.

2. Acting Out History

One great way that families make history come to life for their kids is through drama.

Putting together a play that brings a historical event to life in your living room is a great way to help your kids connect to history in a new way.

A simple way to make this happen is to have your kids research a historical event, and take them to the thrift store to find materials for making costumes.

If you need more actors try getting your kid's friends involved too.

You could also make acting out historical lessons a family pretend play day where the parents dive in too.

This is a great way to get your kids to remember how events happened and have some fun with the topic to help it stick in their memory.

For kids with an active imagination or a love of fine art, this can be particularly useful.

3. Get Crafty

Hands-on crafts are a great way to teach your kids and make learning a lot more fun.

Try your hand at a craft from the historical time period you are studying or take it up a notch and use your crafting skills to build something amazing.

With a little craftiness, you can build a village out of recycled materials, and talk about the function of each building in the village, or perhaps an ancient monument or artefact.

Make a Viking shield, an Egyptian sarcophagus, a World War II ration book or a pioneer era rag rug.

If you are struggling to find crafty lessons that help to teach the topic at hand try searching on Pinterest to find great yet simple ideas for getting your kids to craft a bit of history.

LEGO-mad kids will love to build models with their LEGO collection, this book is great for LEGO history projects.

4. Cook Historical Recipes

Dive into history hands-on by having your child help with making recipes from the past.

This recipe book is a great place to start.

Food is an amazing bridge between people and cultures. It can also act as a bridge between now and the past.

Choose recipes that were cooked, invented or extremely popular during the different time periods you are studying.

This is a great addition to any history unit study but it is also a wonderful opportunity to practice life skills and even maths with your child as part of your history study.

With the internet, you can find recipes to fit nearly any homeschool history topic to help bring history to life right there on your dinner table.

Oliver Twist style gruel for dinner anyone?!

5. Talk to People that Have Lived Through History

When studying the not-so-distant past, have your child talk to those that have lived through recent history.

Many will remember events of the last few decades, but ask elderly people about their childhoods or stories they remember their parents and grandparents telling them.

Finding connections back through the decades and the generations can be a wonderful experience, and a great way to learn about history first hand.

Having your child step to the side at family dinners to ask elderly members of the family questions and get them talking is great for both generations.

This strategy helps to bring history to life, helps your child make meaningful connections with the older members of the family or community, and helps those that often get ignored at events get the attention and connection they need as well.

You could even ask to interview people at a local old folk's home or community lunch event.

6. Living Books

If you have ever heard of the Montessori or Charlotte Mason methods of education you have likely heard of the concept of living books.

These are books that tell real stories that are engaging and memorable to help teach concepts from maths to history.

Living books are literature-rich books often in a narrative or story form that helps to bring the subject alive for the reader.

We love using 50 Famous Stories Retold in our morning basket for short stories about great people in history.

Taking advantage of living books in your homeschool is a great way to bring history to life as your child's imagination wanders off to place them in the thick of the story.

In history, living books allow children to learn about history through the lives of people from history. 

Reading engaging biographies and histories of events helps children to experience history through the lives of others thereby encouraging them to really connect with the past.

7. Unit Studies

Our favourite way to make history come alive is to incorporate all these different ideas into a unit study.

Create a unit study that features a specific time period or person from history and base all your other learning around that.

You can add in geographical study, maths, scientific inventions or discoveries, experiments, art, engineering and architecture, literature and language arts, all under one overarching theme.

Unit Studies can make learning really interesting and fun.

They are a great way to connect all your subjects together and they offer an opportunity for a deep dive into a specific period of history or event.

Unit studies can also help students develop their own research and writing skills, such as in our Ancient Mesopotamia unit study.

Use these ideas to bring history alive for kids by showing them that, rather than a list of facts and events to remember, these were real people who lived and breathed like us

To make the most of your time homeschooling history try using a combination of these amazing tricks to bring history to life by truly engaging your child in the subject from as many angles as you can.

That way you really can make history come alive for kids in your homeschool.

Check out our collection of history resources for more ideas.

More ways to make history come alive for kids:
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