History is one of my favorite subjects to do with my children. This is yet another subject Bear isn't a big fan of, but he tolerates it and admits he enjoys history related literature.
I love learning about history in any format - textbook, literature approach or movies. In my homeschool we utilize the library and Netflix on a weekly basis. I can't imagine doing history without either of these.
If high school scares you, then you could go the traditional text book route and not have to worry about doing lesson plans. Publishers like BJU and Abeka do all the lesson plans for you. The public school textbook publishers are also now in the game - Pearson Homeschool has some history choices too that provide all the lesson plans for you.
But if you are eclectic, textbooks bore you or your teen, and you like to make your own plans, but are now intimidated by high school, then here are some resources and ideas for you.
Resources and what to do with them:
Netflix - When on the Netflix site do searches for your topics in different ways. Fill your queue with titles that may bring a topic to life for your teen. Usually History Channel and National Geographic titles are engaging, informative and entertaining. I like to incorporate writing as often as I can. A simple and effective assignment is to watch a video and then write a response essay. Or you could give your student a couple of specific questions about the program and have him answer in essay form.
Here is a list of movies I have used, plan to use and will use again as part of my teens history lessons. In some cases we used a movie in place of a book, it just depended on my child. My oldest for instance read and watched The Last of the Mohicans, but Bear was complaining about the book and saying it was tortuous to read, so I caved and let him just watch the movie and do a write up about it. Usually when a movie is made from the book ,we read the book first and then watch the movie. In my opinion, at the high school level, anytime a movie is incorporated it shouldn't stop there. Some sort of analysis should be done via a literature guide or writing an essay.
- Schindler's List (for mature teens - very emotional)
- All the President's Men - Great film about the Watergate story. Too bad the media doesn't do their job anymore.
- Glory - a Civil War Movie
- Gone With the Wind- my favorite movie of all time! Civil War.
- Ten Commandments - Ancients
- The Killing Fields (for mature teens) - Cambodia
- The Untouchables - 1920's/Al Capone (for mature teens)
- Platoon - Vietnam (for mature teens)
- Flags of Our Fathers- Iwo Jima
- One Night With the King- Ancient Persia (story of Esther sort of) Loved this!!!!
- First Knight - King Arthur (Sean Connery!)
- Anna and the King - the remake of The King and I
- The King's Speech - Story of Queen Elizabeth's father
- The Alamo - John Wayne
- Tale of Two Cities- French Revolution
- Desperate Crossing The Untold Story of the Mayflower- AWESOME!
- The Crucible - Salem Witch Trials - we read the play before seeing the movie, but we also went to see a live play at St. Edwards University.
- The Last of the Mohicans - we watched the movie in place of the book.
- The Count of Monte Cristo- we watched this in place of the book and completed a Zeezok Lit Guide to the Movies - French Revolution
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
- The Hiding Place - WWII
- The Red Badge of Courage - Civil War
- The Grapes of Wrath - Great Depression era.
- Driving Miss Daisy- American Civil Rights
- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner- American Civil Rights
A fun thing to do with this encyclopedia is to take the information in an article and have your student make a "news report" and then role play a TV anchor, and present the event as news. If there are younger siblings around to watch and learn, this activity can help cement facts in their minds because they will remember how fun it was.
Another interesting approach to getting your student to understand history in context is having them write a letter pretending to be a person from a specific time period or event.
A Book In Time (great for finding a reader to go with the time period you are studying)- this is a great list of of books organized by time period. Looking for a book that takes place during the Revolutionary War? No problem, there are plenty listed at A Book In Time.
Books that are required reading in my homeshool high school history/government program- in no particular order:
- Common Sense by Thomas Paine
- History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
- Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Our Town (a play) by Thornton Wilder
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
- A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (I mostly despise this book, but it's good to know what's out there being hailed as history gospel.)
- A Patriot's History of the United States - this is just one of those must read books in my opinion. It's kind of a rebuttal to the Howard Zinn book "A People's History of the United States." There is a lot of discussion to be had about these two books and juxtaposing versions of events.
- The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
- Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
If you live near a big city or universities with dram departments, keep an eye out for opportunities to see some of these played out on stage. On your student's high school transcript you can indicate on an addendum all the books they read and plays they attended.
Literature Based History Curricula suitable for high school:
Notgrass History - www.notgrass.com
Tapestry of Grace (my personal favorite and what we use)
Here's a selection of History assignments for high schoolers that you can apply to any era you are studying:
For the student who likes hands on projects, you can assign a history shoebox diorama. Have your student choose a scene from history to recreate. They will need to do research and reading to make sure it is historically accurate. In addition they should write an essay to go with the diorama.
Biographical Essay- Your student should choose a person from history that interests him. You could help them narrow down a choice by providing a short list to choose from. Here is what I required from Bear recently for his biographical essay:
· At least 4 pages (typed, double spaced, 12pt font, Times New Roman) Include their early life, their rise to power, their time in power, and their downfall, or their death.
· At least 3 references (NO WIKIPEDIA)
· Must include a bibliography (see the Purdue OWL website for MLA guidelines)
· Must include a cover page - A picture, title and your name
Another fun way to learn about a historical person, but giving it a modern twist, is to make a "Facebook Page" on a small poster board. If your teen has a FB account then this could be something they find fun.
I hope there are at least one or two ideas here that you can use with your high schooler. Don't be afraid to stray from textbooks and don't let high school intimidate you! You can do it!
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