Best Homeschool History Curriculum and Books

I have to admit:  history is my favorite homeschool subject to teach! 

Plus, I love that many of the best homeschool history curriculums allow kids to also learn about writing, handwriting, geography, sociology, philosophy, art, literature, bible, character training, and even science and math!

Truly, no other homeschool subject has such a wonderful cross-subject reach as history!

Here’s a list of some great history books and history resources for homeschool families. I’ve included geography here too, since many homeschoolers teach that history and geography together.

 Need history and geography resource and curriculum ideas? Look no further! This comprehensive list compiled by a homeschool mom of four kids has a little bit of everything. You'll love these awesome homeschool history resources!

Note: Also, there are two other popular Christian curriculums that many homeschoolers use for history: Sonlight and My Father’s World. However, since these are all-incompassing curriculums, I have chosen to not specifically expand on them here with those that just focus on history.

Lastly, it would be impossible to include every history option in this post, and the purpose of this post is not to list every single one! Thanks for your understanding on this.

Top History and Geography Curriculum and Resources

Curriculum:

Mystery-of-History--WEBMystery of History

by Bright Ideas Press

Mystery of History (MOH) is a resource that tells the chronological sequence of history by focusing on contributions in art, music, literature, science and philosophy. MOH is based on the teaching style of the Trivium (Classical learning style). Written from a Christian perspective, MOH is broken into four volumes: Creation to the Resurrection; The Early Church and the Middle Ages; The Renaissance, Reformation and Growth of Nations; and Wars of Independence to Modern Times. The material is applicable to all grades, meaning that the family can all study the same subject together. MOH is one of Cathy Duffy’s Top Picks for homeschool curriculum.

Illuminations--WEB

Illuminations

by Bright Ideas Press

I’ve included Illuminations here because it is designed to be an accompaniment to the MOH history materials. Families who use Illuminations use MOH as their history spine, but Illuminations integrates the literature, copywork, U.S. geography, and spelling to the historical period. There are also options to include science, Bible, vocabulary, writing and grammar (all applicable to the history period being studied). Families are also given a scheduler software so as to create customized weekly guides based on the suggested studies given in Illuminations (plus any modifications). 


SOTW--WEBStory of the World 

by Susan Wise Baeur

If you enjoy the idea of sitting by the fireplace and learning about history as if your grandpa was telling you a story, then consider Story of the World’s history curriculum. We have used this four-volume series off-and-on throughout our homeschooling years, and many homeschoolers love it. I appreciate that there’s an audio version of each book (a great way to review material in the car) and an accompanying activity book for each volume. SOTW is also extremely affordable and easily accessible, and can be used by the entire family to learn history at the same time. Additional subjects such as art and literature of the period are mentioned. However, for upper grades, I do feel that SOTW does require a lot of supplemental resources to fully round itself out, both in history and in additional subjects. While not expressly Christian, it is not necessarily anti-Christian either. Overall, it’s still a strong history curriculum.


Tapestry-of-Grace--WEBTapestry of Grace

by Lampstand Press

We used Tapestry of Grace (TOG) for several years and loved it. We ended up leaving the curriculum only because our schooling situation changed slightly and it no longer fit. Something I really appreciate about TOG is the amount of detail. They offer a huge amount of study material options for each grade level, and arrange that information by grade level. It really does allow moms to have a lot of options in how to teach. It is also Christ-centered and based on the Classical learning methodology. You can download a free three-week sample on their site to see if it’s a good fit. 


HSITW--Project-Passport--WEBTime Travelers or Project Passport Activity-Based Studies

by Homeschool in the Woods 

I have only recently discovered this excellent curriculum, but I have been so impressed that I think they’ll be our choice for next year’s history. How can I describe these studies by Homeschool in the Woods? Well, instead of taking a more sequential, linear approach to studying several historical aspects, this curriculum focuses on one culture or time period in detail. And I mean in detail. We’re in the process of finishing up their Project Passport: Egypt study and I am incredibly impressed by how thoroughly the curriculum has covered the topic. The kids and I also appreciate the many, many hands-on activities and have been having a ball with all the projects. Each study also includes lapbooking materials, timelines, audio files, newspapers, maps, and suggestions for additional reading material. Samples are available for download on their site, and you can read my review here of the Egypt study.


AmericanDave Raymond’s American History

by Compass Classroom

Geared toward middle and high school students, American History is truly an integration of online class video and at-home work. As a full, one-year class that can potentially receive high school credit, American History consists of 26 lessons, 4 projects, a Student Reader (over 400 pages), a Teacher’s Guide, Weekly Exams, and a year-long Portfolio. Each lesson is presented from a Christian worldview and includes 5 video lectures (approximately 10 minutes each, or an hour of video per lesson). You can watch an introduction video to the curriculum and even download free lessons here.


 

Around-the-World-in-80-Days--WEBAround the World in 180 Days  by Apologia

I wanted to feature this curriculum here because it’s by a well-know, reputable curriculum publisher (Apologia) and it offers a very unique (but potentially very effective!) approach to studying history and geography. Instead of giving a student a text book list and telling a child how the learning will happen, Around the World in 80 Days covers the history, geography and culture of every continent by allowing kids to do their own research! Kids are given a series of questions for each topic and they must discover the truths on their own.  Plenty of resources are suggested to help students conduct their research, and the teacher’s edition provides all the answers. The curriculum is written with a multilevel approach with questions for students of all grade levels so that the entire family can participate. 


History Unit Studies

Unit studies are an easy, natural way to do history! Since topics are a la carte, you can pick the specific subjects that your kids are interested in. And since many of them are short in nature, you can switch it up to coincide with field trips or changes in season. Here are four great resources for gathering unit studies. (Note: Delightful Planning by Marcy Crabtree isn’t a unit study, but helps moms learn how to organize and plan unit studies.)

CUrr-Click--WEBCurr Click Notebooking-Pages--WEBNotebooking Pages
Unit-Studies-by-Amanda-Bennett--WEBUnit Studies by Amanda Bennett Delightful-Planning--WEBDelightful Planning: A Unit Study Planner for Every Homeschool

 


Historical Non Fiction Books, Audio Dramas and Other Resources

The-Hiding-Place--WEB

Here’s my review of 47 other great kids audio dramas–and most are history-based!)

300-x-150-Kids-Audio-Drama-Image-for-Top-Posts-Sidebar--WEB

Books/Video:
America-Story-of-Us-WEBAmerica: Story of Us Liberty-Kids--WEBLiberty’s Kids
Magic-Tree-House--WEBMagic Tree House series Imagination-Station--WEBImagination Station series
kingfisher--WEBKingfisher History Encyclopedia DK-book--WEBDK books
For-Kids-series--WEB“For Kids” books (hands on activity books) Dover-Coloring-Books--WEBDover history-themed coloring books
If-You-Lived-at-the-Time--WEB“If you Lived At the Time of…” books You-Wouldn't-Want-to-Be--WEB“You Wouldn’t Want to Be…” books
America-in-the-time-of--WEB“America In the Time of…” books DK-Eyewitness-Book--WEBDK Eyewitness Books
Horrible-Histories--WEBHorrible Histories (good, but use discretion) My-America--WEBMy America
Dear-America--WEBDear America books and TV series American-Girl-books--WEBAmerican Girl History Books
D'Aulaires--WEBD’Aulaire books Value-Tales--WEBValue Tales books

Geography or History Timeline Resources

Lastly, here are some excellent resources to teach geography (if geography is not included in your history materials).

North-Star-Geography--WEBNorth Star Geography WonderMaps--WEBWonder Maps
Hands-on-Geography--WEBHands on Geography Kingfisher-Atlas--WEBKingfisher Atlas of World History
Ultimate-Geography-and-Timeline-Guide--WEBThe Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide

Other Homeschool Curriculum Ideas:

Don’t miss these other homeschool resource lists!

30 Genius Ways to Make Math Fun

325-x-475-Innovative-Ways-to-Make-Math-Fun--WEB

31 Fabulously Fun Science Curriculum Resources

325-x-475-Fun-Science-Resources

40 Top Tools for Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum

325-x-475-Ultimate-Preschool-Teaching-Tools

Your Turn:

What’s your family’s favorite way to teach history and geography? What curriculum tools and other resources have brought this subject to life for your family?

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health. Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

About the Author

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health. Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply 18 comments

Veronica - January 28, 2016 Reply

These are great! Lots of great resources to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing!

    Alicia Michelle - January 28, 2016 Reply

    Thank you, Veronica! Appreciate that! I hope you find something that’s a good fit for your family!

Leah Courtney - January 29, 2016 Reply

These are great! Some are favorites of ours. I’ve never heard of the Apologia history curriculum. I’ll have to go check it out. I love the idea of the research!

    Alicia Michelle - January 29, 2016 Reply

    Hi Leah! Thanks! I’m glad that you were able to find a few new favorites to check out. Have a great day!

Olivia - January 30, 2016 Reply

Hi Alicia Michelle,

After reading several of your homeschool posts, I have decided that you are like the ULTIMATE resourceful homeschooling mom. You could probably write a guide that would sell like hotcakes. 🙂 You really have a gift with providing valuable information.

Thank you for sharing with us at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop

Olivia- Co-hostess
Reinvented Collection

    Alicia Michelle - January 30, 2016 Reply

    Hi Olivia! Wow… thank you! LOL What a great compliment!

    I have written two books on homeschooling:

    Plan to Be Flexible: Designing a Homeschool Rhythm and Curriculum Plan That Works for Your Family http://amzn.to/1Q2Qsv9 ; and
    Back to School Survival Manual: A Girlfriend’s Guide to an Organized and Successful Homeschool Year http://amzn.to/1QPbW37

    I’d love for you to check them out!

    Thank you again for visiting, and I hope to see you again here soon! Have a great day. 🙂

Beth - February 3, 2016 Reply

This year, I stumbled across Heritage History (www.heritage-history.com) and it has really worked out great for us. The premise is self-paced, independent learning through reading public domain literature. Most of the levels have online quizzes for parents who want to make sure their kid is learning and all the books are in kindle format so it was both inexpensive and space saving. I keep having these ideas that I’ll someday create a Charlotte Mason homeschool; but, for now, I just have my daughter write out answers to the five W’s for a few chapters and that’s her “narration”. She seems to be really enjoying the books and we actually decided to combine social studies and reading this year.

Mother of 3 - February 25, 2016 Reply

Oh I just had to check this post out… see I am a homeschooling mom that HATES teaching history. There are certain time periods that are fun to teach and we’ve found great picture books that have captivated my children but overall we are not usually thrilled to start a new history unit. Give us science any day! I’ll definitely be looking into some of these resources. Maybe that will help.

tenderfootmom - March 4, 2016 Reply

Great post…really enjoyed looking at your site x

Heather - March 16, 2016 Reply

Fantastic list; many resources I am not familiar with. We do all of our history study through literature with a strong emphasis on geography but as the kids get older, I know I will want to focus more on planned curriculum. Thanks–found this at the Homeschool Nook!

    Alicia Michelle - March 18, 2016 Reply

    Super! I’m glad that you found some new homeschool history resources to try! Thanks for stopping by!

Raising Creative Children - March 28, 2016 Reply

Thanks for the geography resources and pretty neat that you included history-based audio dramas! Not sure if you ever integrate music into your homeschool but we think connecting music and sound to geography lessons can give children a great sense of some of the places they study. In case you are interested, we’ve shared some activities and resources that connect sound and music to places around the world for people who are interested in linking sound and music to geography lessons or curriculum.

    Alicia Michelle - March 30, 2016 Reply

    Hi there! Thank you for sharing this link! And yes, we love our history-based dramas! They get listened to over and over in our car. 🙂

Angela - June 9, 2016 Reply

We love Beautiful Feet Books, a living history curriculum!

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