Of the many subjects taught in homeschool, ancient history lessons can be some of the most fun. Whether you choose to use a textbook, a unit study, the Bible, or historic fiction, ancient history is fascinating for most students.
Timelines for Homeschool Ancient History Lessons
In any study of history, whether it is ancient or otherwise, it is helpful to make a timeline or keep a timeline notebook. In this way the student can see history in a practical, concrete way and understand how cultures affected one another.
You can easily make a timeline notebook with any three ring binder. Add lined paper and separator tabs for the various centuries. Now, your student can make notes or draw pictures to represent what he is learning and file these papers in the proper time frame. He can add to the papers throughout his school years and eventually he will have written his own history textbook.
This is an excellent tool that can be used no matter what type of curriculum you prefer. It is as valid for textbook study as it is for units or unschooling.
Using the Bible
Most Christian homeschooling parents use the Bible to some extent when teaching ancient history. It is, after all, an accurate, historic record of the very roots of Judaism and Christianity. For the large majority of Christians, the Bible is the story of all mankind.
The Bible will take you completely through what is considered ancient history. The rise of civilization, Mesopotamia, Samaria, Egypt, Israel, and Rome are all represented very well. Some ancient history curriculums that are based on the Bible are:
Using Historical Fiction
Another way to study ancient history is to read historical fiction. Especially with younger students, reading fiction allows them to develop a tie to the main character and empathize with him in his adventures. They begin to care about the character and in doing so they learn about his life:
- The culture
- The political structure
- The food, clothing, and homes
There are many ways to use historic fiction, from unit studies to auxiliary reading to "flesh out" a textbook study. Some book suggestions are:
- Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick
- Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty
- Black Ships before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
- Greek Myths
- Roman Myths
- Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise McGraw
There are thousands of other books on ancient history. An hour or so at the local library can turn up many books to use.
In your study of ancient history, don't forget to print off maps for your student to color and label. The world was very different than it is today and countries were not only named other names but the sizes and shapes were different, too.
Map ideas include:
- Create a map out of cookie dough. Bake it and use frosting to show rivers, lakes and other bodies of water. Use nuts or raisins to mark major cities.
- Label maps and place them in the timeline notebook. In this way you can compare how the geography changed from century to century.
- Complete black line maps of world history will last forever if you just keep printing them off as you need them.
- Read historical fiction and mark each book on a large wall map.
Other Ancient History Projects
- Read a biography of someone from ancient history. Have your student become that person and allow siblings, friends, or relatives to interview him.
- Have your student create a newspaper from the time period you are studying.
- Make food that was popular at the time.
- Make craft items that were popular at the time.
- Dioramas of historical events are always fun.
- Learn hieroglyphics
- Make a mummified chicken
Homeschool ancient history lessons don't have to be dull and dry. Use drama, movies, books, and projects to make history come alive for your students.