I remember my grandfather telling me how exciting it was to study history and thinking that he was probably just a bit senile because I couldn’t imagine a more boring subject – except math. I’d have taken history over math any day.
Now, I understand his passion. History is so much more than dusty, dry textbooks. It’s the story of the people who came before us. Now, there is nothing I love studying more than the stories of people and places. That’s why I love combining history, geography, and literature and these are some of my favorite resources for doing so.
1. Truthquest. I’ve got to say that I didn’t care for Truthquest as a complete, stand-alone curriculum because it is very teacher-intensive when it comes to planning. There is just so much and it’s hard to know what to include, what to skip, and how to schedule it all. However, it’s a fantastic resource for books – biographies, literature, activity, non-fiction – for studying history in a literature-based fashion.
2. Pin-It Maps. I love the maps from Pin-It Maps. Sure you could use other maps, but these are fun, hands-on maps, and so comprehensive. They have my teen’s stamp of approval, but they’re suitable for a wide variety of ages and homeschooling styles.
3. Give Your Child the World. I am so excited about this brand-new book from the author of the Simple Homeschool blog, Jamie Martin! It makes me wish my kids were younger. It’s a resource of over 600 children’s book recommendations organized by region, country, and target age-range (for ages 4-12), and it includes an index that sorts the books by historical time period. I’ll be doing a review of Give Your Child the World soon, but it’s available on Amazon now (and already a bestseller in homeschooling).
4. History Odyssey. I’ve used History Odyssey with each of my kids at one time or another and have always enjoyed this meaty, literature-based history curriculum that includes geography and writing. We have only used levels one and two, which are for elementary and middle school, but I found level two challenging enough for many high school students.
5. Trail Guide to Learning. We absolutely loved Trail Guide to Learning and would have continued all the way through the new Journeys series if it had been ready in time for my kids’ middle school years. Trail Guide to Learning is a complete curriculum, not just literature, history, and geography, but we loved it so much I couldn’t not mention it on a list like this.
6. Galloping the Globe/Cantering the Country. These titles, published by Geography Matters and geared towards students in grades K-5, cover literature, history, geography, and more.
7. Geography from A to Z. This handy little reference guide explains 60+ geography terms with full-color illustrations. It’s simple enough for young kids, but helpful for all ages.
8. Cookbooks. I love including food when studying geography and history. You could even prepare meals mentioned in the novels you’re reading for a literature tie-in. Eat Your Way Around the World and Eat Your Way Through the USA are two great geography-based cookbooks, and Our Food Recipes is a nifty little website with recipes from a variety of historical periods.
9. Journaling. Journaling obviously isn’t a specific resource, but it’s a fun way to tie in writing. You could adapt this summer reading journal idea for year ‘round use with the literature selections for your history studies. Couple that with these journaling ideas from WriteShop and you’re set!
10. Passports. If you’re going to be traveling the world through history and literature, you’ve got to have passports. Well, you do if you have younger kids, anyway. Check out these printable passports to create your own or purchase play passports for your kids to use.
What are some of your favorite ways of combining history, literature, and geography?