How to Teach History to the Child Who Hates History

November 9, 2020

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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History and I are NOT friends. In the past when my kids ask me a question about historical data and geography my brain would freeze. How to teach history to the child who hates history can be a challenge for many parents.

How to Teach History to the Child Who Hates History text with image of a girl holding her face with her hand frustrated


My inevitable automatic response is, “Ask your dad he is so smart with history and geography.” Why they keep asking me about it, I have no idea. “Ask your dad!” That’s all I’ve got for you, child.

Poor things, but at least their dad is very smart with history and geography. He can recall facts about countries and historical facts all around the world.

I mean, I have enough trouble remembering the facts and history of God’s Word. So I focus on that and let the hubby take the tough history questions.

My husband still teaches me about history.

The other day he was telling us about the Cold War. Don’t judge me, OK. I thought the Cold War was a war that happened with the Soviet Union because it is cold there, and that is where the war was fought. FALSE!

My husband, looking at me like I should have known this already, explained that the Cold War was a war with a lot of threats. It wasn’t a war full of hand to hand combat or casualties. It was a political rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Yes, I did not know that.

Are you like me? Do your kids ask you historical questions and you stare back at them like a deer in headlights?

How you react to not knowing, can really help your child’s perspective. It can help them with how they view history themselves.

I realize I can do better at just referring them to their dad. It’s so easier.

However, I am learning and trying to just Google answers with them. It’s a good learning and bonding experience for us both.

It’s never too late.

Learn a few ways how to teach history to the child who hates history – even if YOU hate history:

Use unique reading books, not the same old history books.

Getting your kids to read is a PLUS. Getting them to read books with a historical perspective is a win/win.

Why? It is because reading about what happened in history is one outlook. Getting into the nitty-gritty of life (even if fictional) through an experience during a time period is incomparable.

Unique History Books for Kids Who Hate History | Organized Homeschooler

45+ Thrilling Historical Fiction Books For Kids | What We Do All Day

10 Historical Fiction Books for Tweens | picklebums

Use history timelines.

It may seem stressful to start a timeline from scratch, but you don’t have to do that. There are plenty of printable timelines out there to fit exactly what you are looking for.

Timeline always brings clarity to what a child is learning in history. It is so much easier for them to understand history visually than to just solely read about it.

History timelines are also projects that kids can do without even knowing just how much they are learning from it. Timelines are fun, can be colorful, and plainly break up the monotony of a dull history lesson every time.

Timeline Creator: World History Timeline for Kids | Thinking Kids Blog

Ideas for making timelines in your homeschool | Bright Ideas Press

FREE Printable History Timeline for Your Homeschool | Raising a Self-Reliant Child

Printable Timeline Notebook | My Joy-Filled Life

Incorporating Timelines Across Your Curriculum

Incorporating Timelines Across Your Curriculum text with image of a sundial

FREE State History Timeline Resource Plus Cheat Sheets

Free State History Timeline Unit text with image of an American flag

Ultimate List of Timeline Printables and Resources

Ultimate List of Timeline text with image of a sand timer, stopwatch, and a book open

This is a no brainer; use hands-on activities.

Captivating a student’s attention will not, in most cases, happen with the textbook approach. This is why it is so important to not read about historical events on the service. Get into what people did, the culture, the food they ate, and why things were going on during that time.

If you are learning about the Pioneers, do as they did and church butter by shaking heavy cream in a jar. This gives our children kids the idea of how it was done, and that it wasn’t easy.

Explain and show your children how to use a compass, so that they understand how explorers were able to navigate continents without the maps we have today

6 Hands-On History Activities for Homeschoolers | iHomeschool Network

Ancient History Activities for Kids | Research Parent

Project Passport Hands-On History for Middle School | Blog, She Wrote

Easy Hands-On History Activities for Kids | Mama’s Learning Corner

Easy Hands-On History Activities for Kids text with image of three different kids\' books

Hands-On Elementary History with Home School in the Woods | Everyday Graces

Use fun interactive tools and games.

When kids are stimulated with games and interactive tools, they are able to absorb more of the information coming into their little brains.

They can make connections with what they have read and been able to retain things more easily. Most of all, students will have loads of fun doing things they want to do.

Homeschool History Games for Hands-On Learning | Proverbial Homeschool

Homeschool History Games Hands-On Learning

Favorite History Review Game of All Time! | Peacefield History

Interactive History Online Tools |

Writing Prompts will help kids engage well with history lessons.

Using writing prompts are important because they get a student’s ideas about the history lesson down on paper.

Instead of being fed information, they can research and think critically about the writing prompt. It takes the understanding of history lessons to the next level while keeping kids engaged.

Writing Prompts from History for Teens | Write Bonnie Rose

Writing Prompts from History for Teens Start Writing and Exploring text with image background of papers stacked

Watch documentaries and historical movies.

Homeschooling means you can teach with a slew of different tools. We try to get our kids away from the television and screen, yet historical videos and movies are different.

They may not be perfectly accurate, but the historical aspects learned from the film just stick in the minds of kids better. Movies like Unbroken is a depiction of WWII and 42: The Jackie Robinson Story depicts a movie about the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.

45 Movies & Shows for Kids Based on History

10 Reasons to Teach History with Movies | Learn in Color

Visit a museum or go on a virtual tour.

Please use technology to your advantage. It is not the enemy. Technology is what we make it. We can encourage our kids to learn through tools they are prone to enjoy, then it is a win for your homeschool hands down.

Visiting museums are a wonderful field trip idea. It is a low cost if you find a deal, get kids out of the home. You can have them write about their experience, what they remember seeing, and more.

Virtual field trips are the next best thing where they can see even more than they could in an actual museum.

FREE Virtual Museum Tour | Monsters Ed.

Historic Places Offering Virtual Tours | Stripes

And… the very best thing to do to teach history in a way that kids don’t hate it, is to allow the Bible to help you teach history.

How to Use the Bible to Teach History text with background image of multiple scrolls

History is a subject that isn’t historically (pun intended) the most engaging subject for homeschoolers. However, it totally can be. We can at least help them in different ways to learn it – even for the child who thinks they hate history.


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