Summer “School”? – Forward with the Past

This is the last of my series on how to tackle weaving some learning into summer break. Hopefully I have helped find some fun and interesting ways to help you and your children keep learning alive while still letting them feel like they’re getting a rest from school. This week we are looking at one of my favorite subjects…history!

For RAD children who traditionally have memory issues, the names, dates and places of history can be rough. And for children in general, the boring events of the past don’t always catch or keep their attention. So how do you find ways to make history interesting and engaging? Here are a couple of ways I did it with August when we homeschooled that seemed to have some success.

Visual Timeline
Materials needed: Long piece of string, paperclips, index cards, markers
Pick an event from history or a topic you want to study (World War II or when the states got added to the US). Have the kiddos write the events on index cards. Or draw pictures. Just make sure the dates are on there too.

Hang the string somewhere in the house if it’s raining or outside if it’s not. Depending on the length of time you’re covering, separate the string into segments. It may need to be every 10 years or every 50 years or every 100 years. Put those segment markers on index cards then secure them to the string with paper clips.

Then let your children put their cards on the string with paperclips at the approximate time when their event happened. When finished, you have a timeline of the total event. If you are doing something that happened more recently (World War II), you might also add events from your own family (birth of grandparents, when your house was built), to give them perspective on how things in their own life intertwine with history.

Musical History
August loves music. Not all kinds but he has enough of a universal affection that I was able to use music to get him to understand history some through music.

We would pick an event and study it by finding songs that were popular at the time. Songs with lyrics were particularly helpful during wars because often they spoke of the hardships of the troops, the loved ones left behind or what they were fighting for.

Other times the styles of music reflected the economic climates of the period, the personality of the ruling class, new inventions or technology and many other historical achievements. He could listen to music for much longer than he would listen to me drone on about a subject and the researching was  interesting to him. Now he was in middle school at the time. I’m not sure this would work at the younger ages. But it was fun!

Other Resources

  • Learning Liftoff has five great ideas here
  • Here is a huge list of history internet games if you just can’t get them off the computer!
  • And if you’re the crafty type (I am not) here are some ideas for history crafts to make!

As usual, I will move these links to my resources page so you won’t have to remember where you saw them!

Next week we will be starting to talk about getting ready for school to start. Can you believe it? School starts here the second week of August. And I know year round school has already started its new year in some places. But that’s next week. Don’t invite in the anxiety before you need to!

Until next time,

Shannon