YEAR 1 (1)
History at primary level
The National Curriculum requirements for schools in teaching history are very sparse for this age group. If you are interested, you can view them here.
From about 7-11, many home-educators focus on simply reading the relevant section from a good narrative history book, having the child narrate (orally or in written form) what has been read and copy/draw illustrations to accompany his text (see below for suggested texts). If you supplement a narrative approach with ‘facts’ style books such as those from Dorling Kindersely (which feature impressive colour photos and illustrations of historical artefacts), you can produce an effective combination of broad narrative context supplemented with illustrative detail which brings the narrative to life.
It’s a good idea to always have maps handy too. Rand McNally’s Historical Atlas of the World is by far the most affordable book of this kind but is packed with information and will prove useful all the way through Secondary Level.
Timelines are also very useful at this stage for giving a general overview of how the various eras fit together and follow on. If you can make a permanent timeline wall display you can add to it as the projects progress. It can be very simple but if you have key visual images (prominent people and artefacts) on display this can really help children become familiar with the way history progresses.
We have found that creating lap-books fits in nicely with studying history in this way, and there are plenty of free resources online which can help with this. However you choose to present the study (through narration, lapbooks, a combination of both or another way entirely), reading in story form about the relevant era and events seems much more effective than simply treating history as yet another subject to be dealt with in question and answer or comprehension form. The focus is always on getting across the big picture, and encountering plenty of memorable people and events along the way, rather than on isolated facts which need to remembered for a test.
Obviously, the study would become more detailed and complex as the child grew older, but this basic framework could remain the same throughout the primary years.
One more point: our family tends to tend to focus on the historical events and chronology, but you could of course include lots more material on, say, social history (clothes, food, buildings and culture generally) if you preferred. All the standard books for this age will include plenty of material on these subjects. It can seem easier to learn about how the Greeks dressed than to try to place Ancient Greece in some kind of historical context, but it’s more useful if you can do both! I’ve geared the suggested project outlines (main history page, by age) towards events and chronology because I think these are more difficult to get to grips with. Once you have a broad chronology you can fill in with as much (or as little) detail as you like.
YEAR 1 (3)
History – ages 6 to 8
Introduction to British History, Our Island Story
People in History, book of centuries. Work through British Kings and Queens, Saints and interesting events in order.
Lap books, Saint from periods in history, lives of famous people.
Use unit studies for added interest or to cover interesting time periods and topics.
Use unit studies to incorporate and integrate subjects regularly. It is ok to take a break from the set courses to enjoy immersion in a topic that we find interesting. Unit studies should incorporate independent research, outings to relevant museums or activities, discussion, sharing of ideas, critical thinking and logic, passing on new found knowledge to others in varying formats (retelling, plays, art work, project books, lap books, computer designed newsletters)
Ideas for unit studies:
A local famous person