Today I’m sharing the history checklist, not only of some of the basic units I hope we cover K-8, but also of some of the historical skills I want the kids to start to master and some of the activities that can make history really come alive for them.
In the early years, it’s easy to make history fun with hands-on projects… We have grown the Nile River Valley and made an Ancient Egyptian Death Mask
But as the kids get older, I want them to start looking at history from multiple perspectives. I want them to begin to understand the deeper emotions and circumstances surrounding historical events. I want them to have empathy and yet start to see how complex many historical issues have been. As they get older, I hope to get them involved more on an intellectual and emotional level. I tried to brainstorm some of the history-related activity ideas I have for the kids as they move into late elementary and middle school… Things like:
Mini-dramas – Act out scenes. Have students take on the facial expressions someone from that era/event/scene would have. Create a dramatic presentation that brings to life the experience of one social group.
Create historical simulations
Role play — have students take on famous historical figures. Have the meet, greet and discuss, issues staying in that role. (Then have them switch positions and take the other side of an issue)
Conduct fake interviews… have students play a role and interview them (news style). Ask probing questions.
Have the students play historical detective… Look for hidden meanings in paintings, cartoons, etc.
Bring in period music when students act out a particular scene/meeting/painting/photo.
Match a photo (painting, cartoon) with its descriptive paragraph.
Evaluate historical events — rate them as ethical/unethical… by standards of that day… by today’s standards. Debate and discuss.
One way to help the kids see multiple perspectives is through different writing assignments. For example, they could
- Write a letter to a historical figure explaining how you feel about them
- Write letters that convey the feelings of a person from that period (ie. have a soldier write a letter home)
- Write a dialogue between two historical figures
- Write a eulogy for a historical figure – elaborate on that person’s legacy
- Create a “wanted” or “hero” poster that highlight’s a historical figures “crimes” or accomplishments
- Write a historical journal entry to bring to life events of the past (use colloquial language of the time)
- Conduct Oral history interviews
Anyway, this is a rough list with as many history-related activities as I could think of. I’m sure I’ll take this list and add to it in the future, but since it’s quite late (1:30am!! ACK!!) I’m going to put it together for you *as is* … sharing it, for what it’s worth! Again, it’s late, so don’t be surprised if there are typos (or things that just plain need editing and don’t make sense). Sometimes, you just have to share things even if they’re not polished and perfect. Let me know if you find this of use… and better yet.. write to me if you have some ideas that I should add to the list! I’m sure I left out tons of amazing ideas!
I went back and forth whether to call this checklist K-8 or Grades 4-8. These are actually units we’ve been covering since the kids were little (preK-K and up), but I didn’t include the art, geography, and building projects we’ve done along the way… Instead this list focuses more on where we’re going to start doing with writing as we continue to look more and more at some of the complexities of history. But I left this file name as K-8 since we cover many of these units in the early years and the circle round and cover the same topics, but in more depth (just as we are doing with our science units). Maybe when I have time, I’ll go back and try to add in some of the hands-on history ideas for younger ages (lapbooks, building projects etc.).
This is free to download.
You might be interested in this post Homeschool History: Our Year in Review and Upcoming Units
Update: We finally finished our History Tabs above with active links to the various posts in each unit! Remember we have tons of notebook pages on everything from Ancient China and Ancient Egypt to the Civil Rights Movement and more!!
You might also be interested in these Homeschool Checklists:
- Language Arts Homeschool Checklist
- Homeschool Science Unit Checklist for Elementary and Middle School
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See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! ~Liesl