Tuesday, 8 April 2014

5 days of learning about England: history resources

Welcome back to this series on learning about England. I hope it will be useful for those of us who live in England and want resources to help our children learn more about their native land as well as those from abroad who may want to visit either in reality or virtually.

Day 1: Introduction
Day 2: History

I'm no historian, just a jobbing home school Mum who is trying to introduce her children to the history of her native land. My aims in teaching history to my younger children are to

  • help them to develop an enjoyment for history
  • Develop a sense of relationship of events in time
  • Learn a Christian perspective of history. Christianity has been very important in England's history but is often ignored in secular history for younger children. 
  • Learn about primary and secondary sources and have some idea of the possible biases of each.
England has a long and fascinating history. We can see so much and for us, trips to historical sites are important and tend to enthuse children.

The Roman Baths, Bath

Battle Abbey

Bodiam Castle

Georgian Bath

Many of these sites have re-enactments or hands on activities for children. My younger children can still march in Latin, over a year and a half after they were taught this interesting skill, at Fishbourne Roman Palace.
 It is much easier to understand why William the Conqueror won having seen a reenactment of the Battle of Hastings which for non-locals didn't take place in Hastings!

We have found that English Heritage re-enactments tend to be particularly well planned. From the experience of only having attended one some time ago, I was really impressed with the annual History Extravaganza. 

There are so many historical sites but many are managed by
These are places to start for those wanting a virtual tour as well as anyone wanting to visit.

It is difficult to know where to start. 
I wrote recently about UK fiction for children. Several of these titles are historical fiction.

We particularly like the books by R.J. Unstead. These are out of print but easily obtainable and were specifically written for primary aged children (grades K to 5). 

Other resources
  • Ladybird books which have a picture on each page.
  • Our Island Story by H Marshall. This is quite old but is in print and also free on the internet. Of course, it doesn't tackle modern history and tends to be light on church history.
  • Christina Eastwood is a Welsh home educator who has written a couple of volumes called The Story of God's dealings with our nation ( a history of England and Wales).
  • Usborne sticker books really appeal to younger children. Younger Daughter loved one about the monarchy.

The BBC schools website has some useful resources. Some periods in history are missed which reflects the current National Curriculum.
Primary homework help (formerly Woodlands Junior) is another site worth visiting.

Please feel free to add to these resources in the comments.

Do join me tomorrow to learn more about my fascinating country.

Some of my fellow Schoolhouse Crew members are also taking part in the 5 days blog hop, this week. Do visit these blogs
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness -- International Meals
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren's Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama ~ 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources
or click on the banner for even more topics.
April Blog Hop 

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  1. Oh wow. I hope we can see this side of England one day. Thank you for the resources :)

    1. I'm sure you would love England's historical sites. Hope you can visit sometime.

  2. I love your wonderful pictures, and thank you for the resources, especially the websites and books! I'm especially interested in Christina Eastwood's book. Something like that would be an incredible read, and really tell the "rest" of the story!

    1. Yes, it is helpful to have the spiritual side of the story as so many books just ignore this.

  3. Thank you. Yes, we've found that so much material for children leaves out so much that is really relevant.

  4. Fascinating! An Island Story is our history text this year. My kids are really enjoying it :).

    1. It is a book that certainly reads well despite its age.

  5. What a great place to start with learning England's history! We also have 'The Best of Our Island', but on CD-audio.
    By the way, the first mention of my maiden name was at the Battle of Hastings. :) I would love to study that more with my kids. :)

    1. Victoria that is fascinating. Was our ancestor a Norman or a Saxon? When we went to the Battle of Hastings reenactment, people were getting very exciting shouting for either side!