History has about as many theories and ways to teach it as there are homeschoolers. In all honesty, we’ve run the gamut ourselves. I started out wanting to teach my daughter classically, and to give her a history course that started with the beginning of recorded history up until the current day. I found a book and workbook set called The History of the World that seemed to fit this nicely, and I loved the reviews I read about it. Unfortunately, we just never could get into it. This isn’t a fault of the program; I’ve flipped through it and it looks fantastic. It simply wasn’t a fit for us.
Teresa has used Time4Learning for years, and the social studies program taught her some great things. This seemed to be the easiest way for her to learn, at least on the days when she was doing well in what she called “computer school.” When she was younger, she needed a mix of both “computer school” and “book school” or she would stagnate in her learning.
So, for the book school portion, I resorted to workbooks, printable worksheets, and even a lapbooking unit on the Mayflower, which she loved. Since she is gifted in art, making a lapbook enabled her to learn history and also utilize her artistic talents, while also learning about history. I think that hands-on approach is sometimes key to her learning more thoroughly, and helps her to retain more of the information.
Fifth grade history has been an interesting year. We’ve done social studies through Time4Learning, printed out sheets on events and holidays from online, and also embarked on some field trips to further explore history. We’re lucky enough to live in New England, so American History can really come alive here with the wealth of historical sites that are within an hour or two’s drive. We can go to Boston and see Bunker Hill or Old Ironsides, or to Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower down in Massachusetts as well. We’re an easy drive from the place where the Shot Heard Round The World was fired, or Walden Pond … the list goes on and on.
After a field trip to a historical site, I like to have Teresa use the internet to read more about that particular site, and then, using the information she has gleaned online plus her visit to the place, write a report talking about everything she’s learned and her impressions of the place. I find that she learns much more this way, and history is really beginning to come alive for her. It’s exciting to watch in this 5th grade year, as she really begins to appreciate and love history.