Saturday, 17 January 2015

Living History

This is the third post in the Virtual Curriculum Fair, this week co-hosted by

Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

 The first week was about English and the second about maths. The topic this week is about Exploring Our World. I'm planning to write about history as it is such an important part of what we do. Others may be writing about geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology and more.

 History is something which for my younger two is hobby as well as something about which they have to learn.

Again, I will talk more about the younger two, aged 5 and 8. Middle Son, aged 14, is less of a history addict but is using the Northstar Worldwide IGCSE history programme.

The backbone of our history, at present, is the Veritas self-paced history: New Testament, Greeks and Romans.
This is an on-line programme that we use each day. Each lesson lasts about 40 minutes. I tend to watch along with the children, ostensibly to help with the Spelling Time feature but more because I enjoy learning along with the children. It also comes with some useful cards which summarise each topic. We are also using some of the literature selection that goes along with this. The literature, and the actual programme, varies in difficulty. Younger Son will sometimes give his Duplo more attention but has picked up a fair amount.

We have made several timelines to go along with our history. We go for cheap and cheerful using wallpaper lining paper and a reasonably large scale. The combination of this, the Veritas song and umm, the Horrible History monarch song keeps the children's historical ideas in reasonable chronological order.

As the children like history, there is much more that is added on a regular (read daily) basis. These are some of the resources that we use:


  • The Great History of Britain-Anne and Paul Fryer
  • Our Island Story-Henrietta Marshall
  • Story of the World-Susan Wise Bauer
  • Various books by R.J. Unstead-these are out of print but worth obtaining if you have primary aged children.
  • Ladybird history books-the picture on each page helps when reading these to younger children.
  • Biographies-various. For Christian history, the Christian Focus Trail Blazer series and Simonetta Carr's beautiful Christian Biographies for Young Readers have been particularly popular. For more general history, Unstead's People in History has short biographies of famous characters.
  • Usborne have books which are very accessible to younger children. My children like See Inside London which is a flap book going through the history of the capital.
  • DK sticker books often provide an attractive introduction to a subject.
  • Picture books particularly around World War themes: Hanna's cold winter, Anna's new coat, Grandfather's journey, Fly Cher Ami, Fly, Archie's War Scrapbook,
    Mailing May, Where the poppies grow, War Game.
  • Historical Fiction: The Veritas books include fiction. Detectives in Togas was a winner as is our current read aloud, Secrets of Vesuvius by Caroline Lawrence.

  • Our Island Story-we currently have this on loan from friends and it has been great for longer journeys.
  • Marin Alsop's Story of Classical Music (Naxos)
  • My name is Handel
  • Great Inventors (Naxos)


Visits aren't a daily occurrence but happen fairly frequently:

  • Museums. Our favourite is the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum but the Museum of Childhood, Transport Museum in Covent Garden and the Museum of London are also particularly child friendly. 
  • Castles- Dover takes a whole day to explore while Bodiam is beautiful. Wales has many beautiful castles. The Tower of London is iconic. 
  • Houses
  • Roman sites. We hope to visit some more, this year but Fishbourne, in Sussex, is impressive and the Roman Baths not to be missed.
  • Reenactments. We haven't been to many although the children loved the 1066 reenactment. Years ago, we went to the English Heritage annual History Live which had an amazing number of reenactments and ended with a fly past of Second World War planes. I would love to go again sometime.
  • Other sites: Stonehenge, the Monument. My husband took Younger Daughter to Portsmouth, last year, to see the Tudor warship, the Mary Rose as well as Nelson's Victory.
  • Magazines: we had a free 3 month subscription to Archeology magazine. I don't think it was used enough to warrant buying regularly buy certainly created an interest.
  • Talking to older people. We have an elderly family member living with us who remembers the Second World War and who can talk to the children about what her parents told her about the First World War.
  • Old photographs and diaries. We have old family photographs and diaries from the First World War. I don't think we are unique! This is an easy and low cost way of providing an interesting introduction to history.
  • The local area-we have been able to learn from local war memorials and blue plaques to famous people who have lived in our area. Recently, we acquired old Ordinance Survey maps of the area.
  • Objects: living with someone who has lived almost nine decades we have some older objects around the house but many grandparents and great grandparents may be willing to show old books and household items. My daughter has particularly loved looking at the intricate stitches on old hand embroidered tablecloths.
Please do comment with your recommended history resources. If you have a post on the theme of Exploring Our World please link to it here and please visit the other bloggers in the Virtual Curriculum Fair.
Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
History, Geography and Worldview Lessons in our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats
Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees
Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm
The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
History Social Studies and Science...VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest
Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

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  1. Really interesting post. Some great ideas. Will definitely refer back to this. Thank you.

  2. Love your suggestions. Looking at family photographs and mementos is a great way to learn about history. We are blessed that my husband's grandmother has written three books full of family stories and recipes.

  3. My boys love the Horrible History Books and videos.

  4. I really do like Veritas Press. We studied the Medieval times. I think it took us about 30 - 40 minutes for each class as well. I really like all the resources you have listed as well.