Looking for free homeschool history curriculum? I've got a list of truly incredible options for you that won't cost you a dime. Really!
I really wasn’t a great fan of history during school. I guess I never understood the point of memorizing all of those names and dates (still don’t!) and the texts were always so.incredibly.dry. Blech!!
When I got to college, however, I had a professor who never opened a book and never looked at a note. He entered the room and started telling stories, engaging in thought-provoking conversation and making me absolutely fall in love with history.
I adored that class!
I have loved history since that class some 20+ years ago!
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I want my children to always love history so I tend to gravitate toward curriculum that uses a living book style. Getting lost with the Ingalls family teaches us a great deal more about Pioneer life than some dry old textbook!
I hope that some of these free resources will help you and your family develop, or build on, a love for history!
Complete History Curriculum
Guest Hollow offers complete lesson plans, online resources, videos, book lists, and printables for both Ancient and American history. The curriculum is literature-based and very flexible. By the author's own admission, she's "created a framework" and the curriculum is a "pick-and-choose kind of history curriculum."
- Ancient History is written for grades 1-6 and uses either Mystery of History or The Story of the World Vol. 1 as the spine.
- American History Year 1 and American History Year 2 is available for K through middle school. There is an amazing variety of books, readers, printables, lapbooks, activities, videos, and more. Year one covers pre-1492 through 1869. Year two covers 1861 through the 1990s. The author has even included materials that can be used for upper grades.
- Awesome History Timeline Schedule which lists, in chronological order, literature, science, artist & composer studies, videos, printables, and activities for every year of history from 0 A.D. to present. Use it as a curriculum or simply find some supplements for your own history choice.
Under the Home
Under the Home offers several grades of history, as listed below. This is such a wonderful site for those that want to give their children a solid education utilizing vintage, proven textbooks. At this site you'll find:
GA Henty Books
There are numerous G.A. Henty books available for free. So many, in fact, that it can be downright confusing trying to figure out what time period each novel covers. Not to worry! There are some resources to help you!
Robinson Books offers a chronological listing of all G.A. Henty books. Simply choose the book(s) from the time period you're studying and start reading. Most (if not all) G.A. Henty novels are completely free at Project Gutenberg. You can download ePub with or without images, Kindle with or without images, and Plain Text formats, or read them online.
If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app for PC or Mac, you can download the books directly from Amazon - GA Henty Books.
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool
If internet/online based lessons are your thing, this is one of the best resources available anywhere, and it’s completely FREE! Though entire grade levels covering all subjects are available, we are going to focus on history today. There are three offerings available:
- Ancient History, covering ancient history through the middle ages.
- Early American History, covering early explorers through the Civil War.
- Modern History, covering post Civil War to present day.
All three include 180 daily lessons on two levels - “L” which is 1st through 4th grade, and “M” which is 5th through 8th grade. Both levels utilize free online books, videos, interactive games, printables, timeline work, websites, projects, and more. I have never used Easy Peasy as a full curriculum, only as a supplement, but there are hundreds of homeschoolers that do. It is maintained and updated constantly and added to frequently. You will also find the high school counterpart, Easy Peasy All-in-One High School, offers several history courses as well, including World History, Early American History, and Modern American History.
Per the site's description, “Ambleside Online is a free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason's classically-based principles to prepare children for a life of rich relationships with everything around them: God, humanity, and the natural world. AO's detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources allow parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child.”
I have used the Ambleside site to find books related to a topic we are studying as well as to build our own curriculum, specifically history and science. If you’re looking for a living book approach to history and just want a grab and go set-up, then Ambleside Online might be a great fit for you. To find what you’re looking for, begin by selecting the grade and then the subject. If you’re unfamiliar with Charlotte Mason then I strongly encourage you to begin by reading the FAQ.
Khan Academy has become extremely popular for their math curriculum (it is excellent!), but did you know that they have a couple of history courses available as well? They currently offer US History and World History. Both are incredibly thorough (par for the course at Khan) and include source documents, texts, videos, demonstrations, and more.
Middle School World Studies & Ancient Civilizations
This site offers two complete textbooks as well as LOTS of supplemental books and resources, all free and available to download immediately. A description from the site: Students will trace the development of human society from its origin through the Renaissance Era. Students will explore patterns of change in continuity by focusing on the expansion of and the decline of civilizations, patterns of geography, and development of political, economic, and societal systems.
This site is AHmazing! Suitable for upper middle through high school, this site includes just about anything you could possibly desire to teach US History. Looking to teach a specific era - this site has you covered. Or maybe you have a topic, such as political cartoons, that you’d like to insert into another curriculum - this site has you covered. Looking for primary sources - check! Historical music? Check! Lesson plans? Check!
Seriously, this site is fabulous, but it can be overwhelming. If you’re looking for a complete US History curriculum for middle or high school, then check out the complete lesson plans in PDF format, written by Tom Ladenburg, a high school history teacher from 1958-2005. The units available at this website are the products of his 47-year teaching career.
U Read Thru History
U Read Thru History is a little different than most curriculums because it covers American history for half a year and World history for the other half. It is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum that uses some great living books. Discussion questions, essay topics, crafts, and other activities are also included.
Georgia Virtual Learning
I have used many of GA virtual Learning’s courses over the years with my older kiddos. They offer some amazing resources completely free of charge! Each module includes all of the text, handouts, tests, quizzes, videos, interactive elements, and project materials that you need to provide your student with a thorough course in US History or World History. You can even choose to provide an AP US History or AP World History course experience (check with your state’s laws concerning AP credit).
History Curriculum Supplements & Extras
World Digital Library
If source documents are important to you (they should be), then you are going to LOVE this site! From their About page: The WDL makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy cultural treasures and significant historical documents on one site, in a variety of ways. Content on the WDL includes books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, journals, prints and photographs, sound recordings, and films. WDL items can be browsed by place, time, topic, type of item, language, and contributing institution. The search feature can be used to search all of the metadata and descriptions and the full text of printed books on the site.
While Mission US isn’t a complete history program, it is a fabulous way to learn about certain aspects of history.
Per the site’s description:
“Developed for use in middle and high school classrooms, Mission US engages students in the study of transformational moments in American history. Each mission consists of an interactive game and a set of curriculum materials that are aligned to national standards and feature document-based activities. The game immerses players in rich, historical settings and then empowers them to make choices that illuminate how ordinary people experienced the past.”
They currently have the following available:
- “For Crown or Colony?” puts players in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. They encounter both Patriots and Loyalists, and when rising tensions result in the Boston Massacre, they must choose where their loyalties lie.
- In “Flight to Freedom,” players take on the role of Lucy, a 14-year-old enslaved in Kentucky. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio, they discover that life in the “free” North is dangerous and difficult. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act threatens all African Americans in the North and brings new urgency to the anti-slavery movement.
- In “A Cheyenne Odyssey,” players become Little Fox, a Northern Cheyenne boy whose life is changed by the encroachment of white settlers, railroads, and U.S. military expeditions. As buffalo diminish and the U.S. expands westward, players experience the Cheyenne's persistence through conflict and national transformation.
- In “City of Immigrants,” players navigate New York’s Lower East Side as Lena, a young Jewish immigrant from Russia. Trying to save money to bring her parents to America, she works long hours in a factory for little money and gets caught up in the growing labor movement.
- In “Up from the Dust,” players take on the roles of twins Frank and Ginny Dunn, whose family wheat farm is devastated by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. As they experience the hardships of the 1930s, players learn about Americans’ strategies for survival – as individuals, communities, and a nation.
Each mission has it’s own educator guide which “provides a wealth of resources and activities for both teachers and students, including primary source documents that show the broader social, political, and economic context of events and perspectives featured in the game.”
My kids aren’t quite old enough for these interactive games yet, but you can bet I’m keeping these on the back burner until they are!
Eyewitness to History
Described as “your ringside seat to history - from the Ancient World to the present. History through the eyes of those who lived it,” this site includes an enormous amount of information, and can be overwhelming if you’re not careful! Thankfully, it is organized by time period to make things a little easier to find. But don’t just take my word for it, check out the index for yourself! I really enjoy this site and have referred to it many, many times over the years.
Crash Course World History
I'm listing this as a supplemental resource, though it could easily be used as a complete world history course, especially if these fill-in-the-blank worksheets are used with it. We have always used these videos as a supplement to whatever curriculum we happen to be using at the time. We will choose a video that covers the time period we're studying and watch it to get another "quick" review of the topics and ideas.
Description from the site: Teachinghistory.org is designed to help K–12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom. You'll find lesson plans, teaching guides, and other supplemental materials for elementary through high school.
An amazing resource for elementary-aged children learning US History. This site is full of neat little tidbits of information that aren't typically covered in a history course. Lots to discover here!
As part of this wonderful series, several bloggers have teamed up to bring you this AMAZING giveaway!
If chosen, you'll receive one of three $100 gift cards from the place of your choice!
- Rainbow Resource
- Hobby Lobby
- Christian Books
But hurry! The giveaway only lasts until June 19th!
The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond to claim their prize or else another winner will be chosen. By entering this giveaway you will be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers. Read the terms and conditions for more details.
More FREE Resources
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Know of a great free history curriculum not mentioned? I'd LOVE to know about it!
Please share in the comments!
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