Homeschool History Units – Year in Review (Grades 9, 7, 4)

I really love pulling together these Year in Review posts because it is my chance to reflect on the year!  Looking back, I realize just how much we managed to fit in.

Let me jump right in! Here are some highlights from our school year.

History in Our Homeschool (Grades 9, 7, 4)

Homeschool History Year in Review

Oregon Trail

When we started back to school, I worked with my oldest quite a bit on Physics (more about that in the Science Year in Review post).  In the meantime, my younger two kids did a unit on the Oregon Trail and the Donner Party. They really enjoyed that unit!!

The girls read two “Dear America” books about the Oregon Trail (and the Donner Party). They are both written in a “journal” style.  The first is called The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds: The Donner Party Expedition. (affiliate link) It is the (fictional) journal of a young man on the Donner Party.  It really does a great job of explaining what it was like, who they encountered, dangers they faced, and introduced the kids to some of the “real” people who were on the ill-fated Donner Party. It touches on the sad ending but is not gruesome (I found it appropriate for my 9-year old.)  The other book is one we read years ago called Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell. (affiliate link) Again, it was a big hit. My girls really loved both of these books. Our family highly recommends these!Oregon Trail Lapbook and Notebook PagesThey then did a lapbook project about the Oregon Trail and the Donner Party. They enjoyed this unit!

Oregon Trail Lapbook FrontOregon Trail Lapbook - Inside

You can find out more about our Oregon Trail Packet here.


This year we were studying the period between 1500 and 1800.  In the fall, we did a long unit about Japan during this period.  We learned a lot about Japanese culture and the arrival of Europeans in Japan.  We got completely drawn into the miniseries, Shogun. (affiliate link)

ShogunIf you are interested, you can check out our free Samurai/Japan Notebook Pagessamurai worksheetsRemember, we also have a lot of free notebook pages about India, China, Africa, World Religions, notebook pages about historical figures (like Gandhi, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan, Ronald Reagan) and many more. The best place to start looking for those is the History Resource Page!

European History 1500-1800

Late in the fall, we finally started back to our study of European History.  We had left off with the Renaissance & Reformation (including the English Reformation – Henry VIII and his successors) and the Age of Exploration back in the spring of 2017.

Age of Exploration Worksheets Notebook Pages

Reformation Martin Luther Lapbook Notebook PagesEnglish Reformation Henry VIII worksheets

This year, I wanted to get through several inter-connected units: the Age of Absolutism,  the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment. These radical ideas led to the American Revolution (which we studied a couple of years ago) and the French Revolution (which we studied this year).  We also spent time learning about Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars.

When we studied the Age of Absolutism, I had the kids choose one of the absolute monarchs of Europe and do a Power Point Presentation and speech about one of the rulers.  My kids really enjoyed this process. I gave them some guidelines (They had to do a minimum of 15 slides. They also had to include some animation. Plus, I had some guidelines about the type of content I wanted too.)  They all learned a lot and DD, my middle daughter, especially loves doing this kind of research and presentation.

Age of Absolutism: After sharing what they had learned, we spent quite a bit of time fitting it all together so the kids had a broader understanding of what happened in Europe. We talked quite a bit about the deadly Thirty Years War and about the Partition of Poland, the fate of Alsace, etc.

Age of Absolutism Notebook PagesScientific Revolution and Enlightenment Period: From there we went on to talk about many of the well known philosphers and thinkers of the period. Again, the kids did research projects and power point presentations on one of these figures.

Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment WorksheetsWe wound up playing many, many rounds of history bingo. 🙂  The kids really enjoyed that and it helped them to remember this information. My goal was to have them familiar with the material, not necessarily to remember that Montesquieu believed in the separation of powers and three branches of government!

Age of Absolutism Scientific Revolution Enlightenment

We ended this long unit by watching a documentary about the French Revolution and Napoleon.  We read a number of books and history resources about the French Revolution.

These materials will be available later this summer (when I can get to it!!) 🙂

Geographic Features, Landform Words & Topographic Map Activities – World Facts Packet

The other unit we did this semester was to review some of the landforms and geographic features.  We went over terms such as bay, gulf, sound, atoll, channel, strait, cape, mesa, butte and many more. In addition to working with physical maps, we also did a number of activities about topographic maps.

Geographic Features Landform Words Worksheets Activity Pages

We also had fun talking about Famous World Landmarks. As I updated the World Fact Packet, I added in some bingo cards.  ED especially loves playing games and by the end, the kids knew everything from the Eiffel Tower and St. Basil’s Cathedral to Angor Wat and the Hagia Sophia.

World Landmark Cards - worksheet and bingo cardsWe went over many of the deserts of the world as well.  Each day, we’d go over a few more deserts. Then, I’d have the kids place the names of the deserts on the dsert pin map.

Deserts of the World worksheets and pin mapWe also reviewed some basic World Facts — the largest countries, the country with the largest population and things like that as well.  World Facts PacketYou can find out more about this unit at this post: Geographic Features, Landform Words & Topographic Map Activities – World Facts Packet

Biographies for Kids

This year, my youngest (Grade 4) has been loving this history biography series. Each book shares the story of a famous person’s childhood.  I read the Harriet Tubman book and even I was sucked in right away!

We initially got 3 or 4 when we were in Colonial Williamsburg. ED loved them so much and asked me to get her more.  She also has been doing a little more research and writing a paragraph or so about each of the historical figures (I just showed a couple of the pages below).  I’ll try to remember to share those for anyone else who might be interested!

Some of the books she read this year included the books below. (These are affiliate links.) You might want to check one or two of them out to see if they appeal to your kids. :

Biographies for Kids

History This Summer:

Ancient Greece:

I started reading The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) with ED not too long ago. Our family decided to do a study of Ancient Greece again. (LD, my oldest, is great about saying, “I should probably spend some time learning about that again.”   We have loved the other history books by Suzanne Strauss Art and decided to try her Ancient Greece book: Early Times: The Story of Ancient Greece, 4th Edition. (affiliate link)  We are loving this book as well! The way she writes make history really unfold like a mystery (particularly this first chapter or so about how archeology work revealed clues about the Minoan Civilization!).

By the way, I really recommend the 4th edition because they have updated it to include color photos & maps and the paper is a glossy really nice quality.  Earlier versions have black & white illustrations which are not nearly as nice.  That’s just my opinion if you often buy your books used (like I normally do).Ancient Greece Middle School History BookIf you have younger kids, you might want to check out this post Ancient Greece Unit for Kindergarten, Grade 1 or 2 and some of the free Ancient Greece worksheets I made for ED a year or so ago here: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome Worksheets and Activities.

History Plans for Next Year: 20th Century History

Next year, we will probably do 20th century American and World History. We’ll talk about industrialization and the progressive era and then study the world wars, great depression, cold war, civil rights movement and things like that.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. If you do follow those links, thank you for your support! It means a lot!

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl


Homeschool Den StoreP.S. Here are some related posts that might be of interest!

Remember, we also have a lot of free notebook pages about India, China, Africa, World Religions, notebook pages about historical figures (like Gandhi, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan, Ronald Reagan) and many more. The best place to start looking for those is the History Resource Page!

Homeschool History Checklist

You might also want to check out our Civics and Government Packet:

This covers the 3 branches of government, the Constitution and “basic facts” about the U.S., but we’re also going to cover some new material (for us)… how State and Local governments work, what the federal, state and local governments do for us, and what kinds of taxes we pay to help keep the government running.

Civics and Government Unit and WorksheetsUS Constitution Worksheets3Branches-of-GovernmentCivics-Review-Questions

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