One benefit of homeschooling your children is that you can help them become more engaged in the subject matter. Nowhere is this more true than with history, particularly with the history of the United States. The following ideas can help you spark a love of learning and historical curiosity in your tween or teenage homeschool student.
Plan a field trip
There is a bit of local US history accessible from just about anywhere in the country. Take a few minutes to find what is close to you. It could be a river that was home to a historic crossing during the Revolutionary war, a stop on one of the many westward trails of discovery and expansion, or a landmark of the civil rights movement. It may also be something more subtle, such as the local history museum that tells the story of the ordinary lives of ancestors to your town. A field trip can help break up the monotony of memorizing dates and names, while bringing history alive for your child.
Join an oral history project
There are several oral history projects your child can help with. The Oral History Association collects recordings and transcripts of oral histories, as do many museums and organizations. Even NASA sponsors an oral history library with recordings from astronauts to engineers. Let your teen choose someone local they would like to interview, then look up the requirements for the oral history project they would like to participate in. Then, simply help them arrange the interview. Not only will this make history more personal, your child will also get to practice personal interaction skills as well as writing.
Turn to fiction
Sometimes history can seem dry, especially when there are a lot of dates, names, and places involved. Using historical fiction can help alleviate this issue. For example. The World Wars are very important for your child to learn about, but the shear amount of events that occur over a short period of time can be overwhelming. Begin the unit by having your teen read a World War I fiction novel, like a book by Frances Patton Statham. Then, pull some of the key encounters and events from the novel and flesh them out with the actual events. Your teen can even compare and contrast the actual accounts from a battle against the fictionalized version. Fiction can help make past events seem more personal, and it is easier to become immersed in the lives of those that were there.
With creativity, your child can come to love history.