The Family Approach to Teaching History
Plus the Curriculum we Use…
How & When
Our family week is as follows:
(Notice I said family week, not school week? This whole homeschooling gig is definitely a family affair around here. It’s also our way of life. Learning happens every single day. There is no box or outline that says we have to learn Monday-Friday from 8-3.)
Monday – core lessons at home
Tuesday – core lessons at home
Wednesday – day off from lessons
(we typically use this day for field trips or science classes at the local zoo & writing or journaling)
Thursday – core lessons at home
Friday – day off from lessons
(this day is a catch all, it can either be used for lesson catch up, dear days or pen pal writing time)
Saturday – family time, chores, & history lessons
Sunday – family worship time, relaxing & prepping for our upcoming school week
Like the way our schedule looks?
Want more information on how we make it work for us? Check out Homeschooling 3 Days a Week to learn everything you need to know about revamping your own homeschool schedule.
While we do all our other core subjects such as language arts, math, and science 3 days a week (M,T,TH) we only do history once. Aside from history, everything is taught individually and there is a good amount of independent work involved. History though, we do that family style. Dad is off work and all other lessons are typically completed before Friday, so Saturday works perfectly as our family lesson time.
What We Use
The history curriculum that has recently found its way into our home is from the Good and the Beautiful. We are currently about half way through History 1 and everyone in the family is thoroughly enjoying it. Dad typically reads the lessons aloud, discussion is always encouraged, we take turns reading from the Big Book of History Stories, and the kids work independently on their student explorers.
We absolute love this curriculum and the simplicity it provides to our weekend family time. Even my 6 year old is learning! This is huge you guys! While some lessons are above her head a little, she’s always encouraged to snuggle up or work on an activity in the room while the lessons are being taught. This works.
Interested in learning more about our history curriculum of choice? Check out The Good and the Beautiful History 1 Review (coming soon) to get a peek inside this amazing curriculum! This review is complete with descriptive pictures, explanations and an informative video that showcases how our family uses History 1 in our homeschool.
Using Your Weekends (or Weeknights) Productively
Getting Dad Involved…
If teaching history lessons family style is something you desire for your homeschool, this tip is essential! Take charge of your week and find a schedule that works specifically for your family. In our home, dad works the typical 8-5, Monday-Friday job, so utilizing our weekends for family time is a no-brainer.
Getting dad involved for a weekly family lesson can be an easy way to bond and grow together as a family.
It also works as a wonderful time for mom to take a step back and let someone else lead for a moment. While this approach can certainly be taken with other subjects as well, we have always found history to be the easiest!
My homeschoolers are 14, 11, and 6. HUGE age (and need) difference between my 14 and 6 year old. Teaching a single lesson of math to all my children at once, probably not a good option! My kindergartner is currently figuring out subtraction, while my 6th grader is struggling through fractions and my 9th grader is constantly rolling his eyes over algebra. Can’t even imagine trying to tackle all that in one setting.
Studying a lesson of history about King Alfred the Great as a family, now that actually works!
Other Creative Ideas
for Family History Time
- Teach history over meal times by reading through history lessons on a certain day each week. Mom or dad off early on Fridays? Order in and learn your weekly history lesson over Friday night takeout!
- Incorporate history lessons into your Sunday worship time by reading encouraging bible verses that can easily be combined with the history lesson of the day.
- Have history lesson picnics at your local park. Weather not cooperating one week? Set up the picnic in your living room and learn history over snack foods and lemonade.
- Use history lessons to end your day. If doing family lessons on weekends aren’t an option for you, try doing history lessons in the evening time to encourage family together-ness and keep kids off those pesky devices before bedtime!
Easy Ways to Include the Little Ones
If you’re struggling with the concept of family lessons due to little ones, don’t fret. While my youngest may be 6 now, we actually started this family approach to our history lessons when she was only 4 years old. If you have a 4 year old of your very own, you know they can be extremely squirmy with a very small attention span to boot.
While first attempting this new method, I quickly realized I needed something to keep my 4 year old engaged and quiet during our history lessons or it wasn’t going to work. After some much needed brain storming, I came up with a simple plan.
Laying a blanket on the floor, I encouraged my daughter to stay in her special area with activities and manipulatives. This approach is very similar to the daily Quiet Time we have in our homeschool.
One of the most used items for this time is my daughter’s Personalized Art Bin.
It works wonders for the little one that loves to color and create! We also have a special notebook that only gets pulled out during our history hour on Saturday. Making it special for younger learners is the key to family lesson success.
Special Aides for Young Learners
Keeping Them Engaged…
Setting aside special items for your young child to use during family lesson time is the perfect way to keep littles engaged! Simply keep these items tucked away (out of sight, out of mind) and bring them out when lesson time is on the horizon.
- Their very own blanket
- Coloring books & crayons or color wonder
- Sticker books or sticker dolls
- Legos or blocks
- Carry All Caddy
The Carry All Caddy works perfectly for this time because it’s extremely versatile! By simply adding plastic cups, you can create an easily accessible art caddy like we have in our home. However, this amazing caddy can also be turned into a special surprise caddy each week as well! Simply fill your child’s caddy with a different activity each week to keep them surprised and engaged during history lessons.
Looking for extra tips on teaching your older homeschool children while having a preschooler or toddler at home? Check back soon for my upcoming article Teaching With Preschoolers & Toddlers (coming soon).
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