Recently, a fellow homeschooling mom asked for good resources to teach social studies. She particularly wanted fun, hands-on ideas.
We’re looking for something that will lighten things up. History is so full of wars, disease, power struggles and such that my kids are amazed that humans ever made it past the Renaissance.
Here’s an assortment of ways to teach history, geography, cultures and other social studies subjects that should fit the bill.
Learn history through Star Trek.
The Milk and Cookies blog has these delightful lesson plans to use that iconic sci-fi oldie for history lessons.
- Teaching 19th Century History With Star Trek
- Teaching 20th Century History With Star Trek
- Teaching European History With Star Trek
- Teaching Ancient History With Star Trek
Study America Saturday
The Journey to Excellence blog features fantastic resources to study America for every Saturday, geared towards 9th grade. Some of the past entries include watching movies like The Great Gatsby and Gangs of New York, reading books like My Antonia and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, watching TV series like Frontier House and many projects. Most weeks go along with an episode from the America, the Story of Us videos and feature everything from copywork to notebook pages to memorization of important American documents.
Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop
If you’re not familiar with this fantastic resource, you really should be! Ms. McHenry offers wonderful, hands on games, printouts and curricula. Some of her materials are for cost but she also provides many fantastic things for free. In Social Studies, you’ll find:
- Ancient Chinese History Song
- China Map Project
- Chinese Paper Lantern
- Chinese Idioms Calligraphy Page
- “Digging Up Greece” (a multi-level board game)
- “The Nutshell History of Ancient Greece” (music-video)
- Lyrics for “Nutshell History of Ancient Greece” (pdf file)
- Pop-Up Pompeii Villa (craft)
- Paint Mt. Vesuvius (landscape in acrylic paint)
- Map of Japan project
- Pop-up Bunraku theater (shown above)
- Japanese woodcuts for you to color
McHenry also offers a for-pay curriculum that combines world history, geography and art. Mapping the World With Art is recommended as a year-long curriculum and it combines 30 comprehensive world history lessons with drawing lessons based on the periods studied, games, videos and lots more. You can preview the first 3 chapters for free on her site.
Harmony Art Mom World Geography Plans
Harmony Art Mom offers a free comprehensive curriculum on world geography and cultures. This fantastic PDF file features week-by-week plans that use printable flash cards, notebook pages, Netflix videos, recommended reading and lots more, geared for the high school level.
These ad-free, glossy magazines are wonderful resources. With magazines geared for all age levels, you can find something for every child. Some good social studies resources include:
- Cricket (ages 9-14) features stories about on culture, history, science, and the arts.
- Dig (ages 9-14) is all about archeology, with stories about actual digs and more.
- Cobblestone (ages 9-14) teaches American history.
- Faces (ages 9-14) teaches world culture with a focus on how children live around the world.
- Appleseeds (ages 6-9) focuses on in-depth studies of cultural or historic topics.
- Calliope (ages 9-14) teaches world history.
- Ask (ages 6-9) focuses on history, science, artists and inventors.
There are a number of fabulous boards to follow on Pinterest for lots of great social studies ideas. Some of my favorites are:
- Hands on History
- Teaching Geography
- World History
- American History/Gov.
- History – Ancients
- Medieval History
- Learning With American Girl
- Early American History
- Around the Globe
- Around the USA
Also check out my Pinterest boards for ideas on all of these subjects.
Be sure to check out the fun, free Crash Courses on world history that I featured recently too.
Stay tuned for more great ideas to make social studies come to life in your homeschool.