What is the best way to teach history to homeschooled middle and high school students?

Written Jan 3

Actually, the best methods apply to all students … not just homeschoolers … and to many different topics.

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The gold star method for learning is tutoring. (Of course, the tutor needs to have a good grasp of the topic, and an effective plan for what should be taught). I also believe project-based learning is a fabulous way to proceed.

For example, our family watched a program on YouTube for fun (Mary Beard’s Meet the Romans). Our (10 year old homeschooled) daughter enjoyed this, so I followed up by working through Mary Beard’s book, SPQR. We have also visited Rome, so our daughter was already somewhat familiar with ideas of Roman history. Our discussions that arose from reading the book led us to consider archaeology, history, geography, nation-building, and politics (we made comparisons to the US and to current events in Turkey). Ultimately, she decided to study Latin, and has completed a Skype course (3–4 students with a tutor). She will continue studying Latin this year.

The key to studying history (or many topics), is to focus on areas of interest, and allow the student to proceed by “disappearing down the rabbit hole”. This benefits the student by maintaining interest, and also promotes self-initiated research. The teacher/mentor/tutor can gently nudge the student along suitable paths for exploration and research.

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