History Study in Our Homeschool

From our very first year of homeschooling, we have studied history. It is a subject that I always have found interesting, not because of my experience with it in school, but because of my father. 

He was a numismatist and was always very passionate about the history behind the coins and paper money he sold and wrote books about. He would share with me stories about these coins and had very old books he found information in. This was before "google"! He was so passionate about history, even though I wasn't really at the time, it made an impression on me. 

Anyway, I knew when I started homeschooling, that I wanted my children to learn about history, not by memorizing dates or events, but by hopefully being interested in hearing the history of different countries. 

Last week, I did a broadcast on Periscope about this topic. I am part of the Brave Scopes Facebook group, which is a group for Brave Writer families. I have been creating weekly prompts for this community. "History study in your Homeschool" was the prompt for week 2 of February.  I really enjoyed watching other broadcasts on this topic by Brave Scopes moms and thought it would be nice to share here too. 

We have studied history with the help of curriculum from the very start. Over the years, I have roughly followed the Well Trained Mind rotation of studying history. That is a 4 year rotation to study history in a chronological order. It basically looks like this:

  1. Year one: Ancients - 6000BC to 500 AD
  2. Year two: Middle Ages - 500 to 1600
  3. Year three: Early Modern - 1600 to 1850
  4. Year four: Modern - 1850 to present
Once this four year cycle is completed, it can be started again. If a child is homeschooled from grade 1 to 12, he or she will potentially go through this cycle 3 times. 

I loosely followed that with my own children. I say loosely because I also followed their interests, so we have done Ancients and Middle Ages several times. Celeste is just finishing Early Modern times and about to start Modern, which hasn't been covered in our homeschool yet! 

During my broadcast, I shared several books and other resources we use in our homeschool. 

I like to use curriculum as a guideline. We have used Pandia Press's History Odyssey for several years. It is a great secular based history study. If you are curious, they have lengthy samples free to download. 

My oldest daughter Adrienne used the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia with the level two of History Odyssey when she homeschooled junior high school. For the most part, Andre and Celeste have used the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. 

I use the book lists provided in the History Odyssey guides to find extra reading books to go with our lessons. I sometimes find the exact same tittles at our library. When I don't, I do a subject search and can usually find similar titles. Adding fictional history stories, like legends or folk tales, or diaries have made history very enjoyable. 

Whenever there is an interest to dig deeper, we explore that. The library is a great resource and over the years, I have also added books like this one to our home library. You can see our bookshelf for history in the very first photo of this post. Celeste has always been interested in the British monarchy, so we added this book to our library:  

We have enjoyed adding games to our history study, especially card games like Professor Noggin's and more recently Timeline. 

Celeste loves the Usborne Sticker Books and we both have found the history ones very informative and fun! 

My son loved the Search books:

Another favourite from Usborne are these flap books. Again, they are full of information, presented in a fun format. 

Adrienne and Andre liked to colour while I read aloud the history stories and lessons. The History Odyssey guides come with colouring pages, and we also found several Dover history colouring books were great. 

The curriculum also includes map work and all my kids enjoyed working on those. 


  1. Hi Alexandra,
    I'm so glad I found your blog! This post is actually what I needed at the moment. I'm a novice homeschooler from Alberta. It's only been our 2nd official year homeschooling. And I just started my research for our next year's curriculum choices. We have been using Sonlight's core program because it's easier for me to teach with the lesson planning already done and also because they have great book choices. But the next core will be heavy on American history which I have no problem with only I don't want to focus on one country alone. So when I found your post about history odyssey I became interested. I just want to ask how hard/easy would be for me to do this with my son who is going to be on his 3rd grade next school year? And should we start with ancient history or go with the early modern which is what is suggested for his grade? Thank you for sharing your ideas! I appreciate it greatly!


  2. Hi Ria!

    If you see, send me an email at alexdk@live.ca. I would love to chat more with you.
    History Odyssey can be used for different grades. Their website offers long free samples for each guide. Downloading one might be your best choice to see what would suit your son. Personally, I would start at the Ancients and go from there!


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