Looking for ways to teach ancient history in the upcoming homeschool year? Good news! Today I’m sharing some awesome ways to study this fascinating time period with your kids. The best part is these can all work as a supplement to your homeschool curriculum or in lieu of one altogether!
*I received a free World History Project Kit for review;
see my full disclosure statement for additional details.*
Whether you’re looking to teach ancient history as a part of your official homeschool plans or you’re like us and are taking a deep dive for some interest-led learning, you’ll find all three of these ideas to be easy, engaging, and out-of-the-box. Sounds like a great combination, right? 🙂
How to Teach Ancient History Without Curriculum
1. Get reading!
As Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschoolers, living books are the first place we turn when we want to explore a historical era. This allows us to explore other cultures and time periods through someone else’s eyes rather than spend our time focusing on facts, dates, and statistics.
That’s not to say there’s never room for facts, dates, and statistics if you’ve got a kiddo who wants to know them, but living books are sure to teach ancient history in a way that engages minds, hearts, and imaginations.
Now that we know the reason behind choosing living books to teach ancient history, here are some to look for at your local library or favorite bookseller:
- China – All About China by Allison Branscombe, The Dragon of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp, and The Ch’i-lin Purse by Linda Fang
- Egypt – The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne, The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by G.A. Henty, or Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht, Young Scribe by Richard Platt
- Greece – Theras and His Town by Caroline Dale Snedeker, The Trojan War and the Adventures of Odysseus by Padriac Colum, and D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
- Rome – Roman diary: the journal of Iliona of Mytilini by Richard Platt, Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield, or The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare.
The list above certainly doesn’t cover all the wonderful books out there, nor does it cover all ancient cultures, but it’s a great starting place for covering ancient history through the pages of a book.
2. Get cooking!
Food is a truly wonderful way to experience other cultures. That’s also true for other cultures in other points of history. That’s why getting in the kitchen with your kids is such an effective way to teach ancient history.
Better yet, this time in the kitchen will teach ancient history in ways a curriculum never can. Think about it: we don’t often forget tastes and smells. But curriculum? Sometimes it sticks with us, but other times not so much.
For food ideas, simply choose the ancient culture you’re studying and use your favorite search engine or Pinterest to find authentic meal ideas. Then do your best to recreate the meal and dining experience in your home.
3. Get hands-on!
Reading great books and eating authentic meals are both great ways to learn about ancient history without curriculum, but nothing makes a lasting impression quite like hands-on learning!
I’m currently studying ancient Greece with my kiddos and it’s been a great reminder of the value of hands-on learning.
Although everyone in my family loves traditional Greek foods and we’re all captivated by the Greek myths we’re currently reading aloud, it’s the hands-on projects that make my youngest kiddo want to learn more about life in ancient Greece.
Through making a laurel wreath, Trojan horse, and her own Grecian pottery, she’s loving this opportunity to dig in and learn more between projects.
As for learning through these projects, her Grecian vase taught her how ancient Greeks told stories through the pictures placed on their pottery. She also learned the first Olympians didn’t receive medals for their victories by making a laurel wreath and about the Trojan War through her Trojan horse craft.
Teaching Ancient History with Hands-on History Projects
I’d love to tell you I dreamed up these fun projects inspired by ancient cultures, but that’s not the case. Instead, we let Sonlight’s Hands-On History Project Kits do the work for us.
As a not-so fun homeschool mom, these kits have been a lifesaver! They make it so easy to include this hands-on component in our ancient history studies because they’re about as open-and-go as it comes. What’s not to love about that?!?
Here are a few specific things I’m loving about these Hands-On History Kits:
- Each project is individually packaged. That means there’s no time spent sorting supplies within the box.
- The instruction booklet is detailed, but not overwhelming. The project steps are all clearly explained and illustrated.
- The projects included truly inspire kids to learn more. The project instructions include just enough historical background to encourage further investigation.
- Nearly everything is included. I only need to provide the occasional pencil, marker, or similar household item.
You can head to Sonlight to learn more about these awesome kits and buy one for your ancient history studies.
What about you? Do you have tips for teaching ancient history without using curriculum? Share them with us in the comments below!