Homeschool History Unit Study Approach


Using a Homeschool History Unit Study approach is very effective and can be done in a number of ways. Before you choose the content of what you will study, you need to think about how to incorporate unit studies in your homeschool. In, design your own unit study approach I have explained what decisions you need to make.

  1. Set your Goals
  2. Choose which subjects will be covered by the Unit Study.
  3. Make decisions on how you will approach the non-unit study subjects.
  4. Decide how you will choose topics or themes.
  5. Brainstorm your unit study.
  6. Learning Activities which can be used in the unit study.
homeschool history resources

Review the Unit Study Approach here.

Once you have covered steps 1,2 and 3, you can work on 

Step 4: How to choose a theme or a topic.

When creating a History Unit study, you could choose a theme or a novel as a base for your homeschooling studies.

Using a History Theme or Topic

The scope of the theme is very wide. You may choose to work according to Time periods (Creation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Renaissance, Modern....) or explore the History of an invention (flight, transport, trains, weapons,)or a people group (history of Australia, history of India, and so on) or a famous person, or event. Here are some more History Unit Study Ideas.

homeschool unit study

Next, in Step 5 you need to Brainstorm your unit study topic. You can brainstorm your homeschool history unit study topic on your own or it can happen with your children, depending on their ages.

You may decide to build a chart with four columns:

  • What we already know about this subject;
  • What we want to find out;
  • How we will find out about it- resources/excursions/activities;
  • How we will present what we have learned; with various learning activities.

As you brainstorm, refer to the list of questions which I have coined to help you explore the theme. These can help you to see the scope of the history unit study and apply it across the curriculum. Using these questions will help you to see the scope and possibilities in Geography, Literature, Bible, Copybook and dictation, Reading, Writing, Drama, Arts and Craft and Music.

When you brainstorm the topic write

  • Vocabulary/spelling lists which will come from the study,
  • Books you can read aloud (fiction and non-fiction),
  • Books which the children can read on their own,
  • Poems to read and copy,
  • Bible verses or passages which relate to the theme,
  • Projects which you can do (there are many art books in the library which will help you here- both inthe Art section and also in the History section - "Ancient Rome- projects and activities...",
  • Places you can go (excursions).
  • ... And ... meals you can cook in the cuisine of the country, location or culture. I have loved using this e-book to complement our World Studies. Check out the World Studies Ebook here, written by Debbie from kids-cooking-activities.com. A great site to get kids into the kitchen!

Using a Novel

homeschool history

Some people like to use a novel (historical fiction or other literature) as a springboard for a history Unit Study. For example, you may enjoy reading, A Little House on the Prairie and use this as the basis of a unity study of the 1800's in America- westward expansion and so on.

Use the same list of questions to Brainstorm Your History Unit Study Topic and investigate the text by looking at its

  • Setting (time period- Rome/Egypt, culture, geographical place in the world, who else lived at this time, what other events are happening in the world at this time, what happened before/after,and so on),
  • Characters (Are they real people? When did they live? What are they known for in history? Dramatize an event in their life),
  • Literary Qualities (copy from the text; Use a passage as dictation; Write keywords from a select passage and then re-write the paragraph in your own words- known as a classic re-write).

What books should I use?
Use the best! Use "Living Books" which C.S.Lewis describes as books which "capture the issues of life in such a way that they challenge the intellect, they inspire the emotions, and they arouse something noble in the heart of the reader.”

Living Books will want to be picked up again and again. They are full of interest and depth, not written to dumb down an audience, but rather to inspire, and cause one to think and dwell on what was written. Living Books can both be fiction and non-fiction.

Our family love historical fiction novels. We are always in the middle of one book or another as a family. This family read-aloud time is the best part of the homeschooling day!

In our homeschool history is read using exciting literature and followed in a chronological way. If you would like to use living books to teach homeschool history, I continue this discussion in a Living Books Approach to History


Read a curriculum description on Time Travelers Homeschool History Series

Where to now? You can study homeschool history in these ways:

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