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!
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!
I have used Guest Hollow's curriculum throughout the years and have been very pleased with it. You can find 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."
The 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. We used both, though we leaned more with Mystery of History. You can find a full list of books and resources used here. Most are available at your local library.
We didn't use all of the resources that are listed simply because I didn't want to buy all of them. We used only what we could find at the library. Sometimes I had to supplement with other books not listed that covered the topic.
There are two full years of American History available for K through middle school. Neither year relies on a spine and both years have an amazing variety of books, readers, printables, lapbooks, activities, videos and more.
Year one covers pre-1492 through 1869. You can find a complete list of books and materials used here.
Year two covers 1861 through the 1990's. You can find a complete list of books and materials used here. The author has even included materials that can be used for upper grades.
Finally, Guest Hollow has an “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.
Mosaic (no longer available)
Bringing up learners is a free curriculum project written and maintained by a 3rd generation homeschooler. There are currently three offerings: Introduction to World History Part 1: Myths, Maps & Marvels Introduction to Timelines Introduction to World History Part 2: Adventures in the Middle Ages Introduction to World History Part 1: Myths, Maps & Marvels covers 36 weeks of daily history lessons. You can choose one of two spine texts: The Story of the World Vol. 1 or A Little History of the World. You can even choose whether or not you want to cover pre-history and evolution. This is a robust curriculum, offering over 150 printable pages and lessons utilizing a wide variety of engaging books and resources to cover history, geography, literature, world religions, and more. It is ideal for beginning homeschoolers because of its step-by-step, day-by-day layout. Very very little prepwork is required. Introduction to Timelines is part of the Intro to World History Part 1 curriculum, but is also offered as a stand alone supplement. Introduction to World History Part 2 covering the Middle Ages is still under development, but a spreadsheet of topics, resources to use, and the general order of topics is available to download. It is suggested for use by experienced homeschoolers.
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!
Rosegate Harbour offers a more comprehensive list that includes G.A. Henty books as well as other books recommended by Robinson Curriculum.
Now that you have your list, you can start downloading the novels for free.
You can download from Project Gutenberg, where you can get ePub with or without images, Kindle with or without images, and Plain Text formats.
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. There are so many interesting little facts and tidbits to add to my braintank of information few other people care about!
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool
Selected as one of Cathy Duffy's 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum in 2015.
If you’re not careful you can get lost in the wealth of available curriculum at Easy Peasy. 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.”
We are not strictly Charlotte Mason, though I do subscribe to some of her principles and teaching methods. 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.
An Old Fashioned Education
This site is massive and is based largely on books available through public domain that are free to read, print, copy, etc..
You can build your own curriculum in just about any subject by choosing one of the subject links in the left hand menu. You’ll find a huge list of books available for free on each subject.
If you prefer a premade curriculum, well she has you covered there as well. Simply choose the Full Curriculum link and then choose the grade you’d like. You’ll see a list of books used, complete with links to download them, and even a 40 week printable schedule.
We have used many, many books listed on this site. Old books are such a treasure of uplifting stories and high moral value.
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!
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?
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
I discovered this one during my research for this list, so I haven’t used it personally or even looked at it in great detail. I do think that it deserves a mention, however.
This appears to be an ongoing project which the author began in 2012 and continues to update. It 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 include.
I’ll definitely be looking closer into this one! If you find it interesting and end up using it let me know your thoughts!
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).
Know of a great free history curriculum not mentioned? I'd LOVE to know about it!
Please share in the comments!