History has always been one of my favourite subjects, whether as a university student or homeschool mom. I find it fascinating to consider how the stories and people of the past shaped our world today. However, it can be harder to convince our kids that what went on in the world a thousand years ago, or even what goes on in the world today, is worth their attention. Here’s a list of homeschool social studies resources we’ve tried and loved.
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Connecting with History
Connecting with History is a literature-based, comprehensive, Catholic history program. Using carefully chosen literature and other resources, children learn about peoples and civilizations of the past, from creation to the current day. Salvation history is taught alongside world history, showing God’s work in His people’s lives since the beginning of time. The past is brought alive, becoming fun and interesting for kids (as it should be).
Connecting with History uses a classical approach to education. The program is divided into four time periods (Ancient History & the Old Testament, Early Medieval & the Early Church, High Medieval to Early Explorers, and American History) and four levels of study (Beginner, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric). Children move through one time period per year so that they cover each time period about three times between grades 1 and 12, going into the topic more in-depth each time they approach it.
Grade levels: 1-12
Cost: $65 for the teacher’s guide for each time period, plus approximately $250 for additional books for study per level / period.
World in a Box
World in a Box is a subscription box that features a new country each month and provides children with STEAM projects, stories, fun activities and games to help them “travel” from home and learn more about their world. The activities help kids learn about geography and culture around the world today. For example, the Mexico box included an engaging 38-page booklet with lots of full-colour pictures and cute illustrations. Kids learned some Spanish words, made their own pinata and tacos, created papel picado banners, and more.
Veritas Current Events
Veritas provides weekly lesson plans and background information tackling the most significant issues and events of our day around the world. This Christian social studies curriculum gives educators the tools to enable students to understand and apply their faith to the most important issues of our time. These lesson plans can be used either in the classroom or in a homeschool setting. (Note: Veritas has currently suspended updating but the entire archives are available for free.)
Project Passport World History Studies teaches children about life in historical times through lapbooks, crafts, notebooking pages, timelines, recipes, and more. This curriculum is available as a digital file, either on CD or as a .zip download. There are 25 “stops” or lessons in the passport, with two to four activities per stop. Each stop includes the Guide Book Text, Travel Itinerary, and then various projects. These might include the timeline, Scrapbook of Sights, Medieval Times newspaper, lapbook activities, crafts, games, audio tours, and more.
Cost: $35 per passport topic or $150 for all five passports.
Art History Kids
Art History Kids uses famous artists to draw children into history, art, and more. This subscription-based site provides a learning library full of fun, easy-to-use lessons and activities that kids of all ages will enjoy. Whether your child wants to explore new art techniques or learn more about important historical figures, Art History Kids has something for them.
Cost: $29/monthly or $299/annually
Historical fiction is a great way to draw children into the people, places and events of the past. Numerous books and movies bring history alive to help children better imagine what happened back then and understand how that affects the world today. Here’s a few of our favourite historical fiction to get you started:
- The Harwood Mysteries by Antony Barone Kolenc (series of 5 novels set in medieval England, which include historical notes and has curriculum companions available online)
- Night of the Cossack by Tom Blumbaugh (a literature-based history curriculum with 10 lesson plans within the novel)
- The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty (radio-theatre dramas about various historical figures)
- Dear Canada (series of novels with accompanying teacher’s guide)
- Carole P. Roman’s books (picture books about various countries and time periods)
Check out my other curriculum resource lists: