Effective Teaching, Homeschoolers

Bringing History to Life

student looking at a map

Some people think history is boring but I think it is actually one of the most flexible, engaging subjects to teach! There are soooo many cools things you can do to help bring history to life for kids. Here are a few ideas:

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 Mission US

This website is by far the best “game-like” history website I’ve come across. It allows kids to play out what it would be like to have lived in 5 key time periods of US history:

The first colonists

A slave during the time of slavery

An American Indian

A new immigrant

A person in the Dust Bowl

It could be a little slow for students older than 4th or 5th grade. I think it’s perfect for 2nd-3rd grade though!


Discovery Education

This website has quite a lot of videos in their virtual field trip section. Just like going on a live field trip, make sure to prep students with some context before you go on your virtual field trip. Have some sort of guide or activity they can complete as they “walk through” the virtual field trip. Then, discuss what you saw and experienced afterwards.


Pen Pal Schools 

Encourage your students to practice language through programs like this, and then go a step further. Have them ask other students about their culture—how they celebrate birthdays, holidays, or even just what a regular day of school looks like. They will learn so much through this valuable face-to-face and written contact.


Dress Up days

Have students research a famous person in history and then dress up like that person. When they come to school they can share about the person they have researched. Other students could ask questions and try to guess who each student is pretending to be.

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Scramble for Africa Simulation

Have students actually participate in a simulation of a Civil War battle, the Scramble for Africa, or translate quilt codes in this Underground railroad game

Infuse other subjects with history

Homemade Quills

Include art, Science and writing activities with your history content. When I was teaching about the 13 colonies we made Native America dream catchers, made paper quilts and wrote with homemade quills.

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