History is a BIG topic for my daughter, she really loves learning about all the different periods and the characters that lived in them. So we end up doing a LOT of history which means we always end up with a huge pile of history related books and I am constantly getting her new books. So this is our “starting set” but I know we will be adding a lot more over the coming year
So far we have the first two Collins History Student books (I have already written a review about them because we have already gotten quite far with the medieval book). My idea is to use the books as a guide, really a way of making sure we are not leaving any gaps as I am already positive she will end up writing a History exam.
But we also want to let her continue with her own projects. Her own projects often “jump around” in different time periods, they are projects that she starts based on something she finds interesting. Starting points for these projects can be a Historical Fiction books she reads, a documentary we have watched, a place we have visited or sometimes something that she and I have been learning about together. So for us History resources tend to include 4 main areas – Non-Fictional Books (and she likes to read multiple books about the same topic to get different perspective), Historical Fiction (which we find brings a topic to life), documentaries and visits.
Looking at The Collins Books their first Student book covers Anglo-Saxon England, the Battle of Hastings and then Medieval England. We have already covered the Anglo-Saxon period and the Battle of Hastings in quite a lot of detail (although we do still have a trip linked to the Battle of Hastings that we want to do). So we will be starting with Medieval England and then go onto Tudor England, which is part of their second student book.
But the Tudors is one of the areas that my daughter finds fascinating so she actually already knows quite a bit and is constantly looking for new books on this topic. She is particularly fascinated with Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I and I have no doubt that she will be learning about both these queens on her own, without much prompting from me. I do already have the Spanish Armada Topic pack for her (from Oaka Books) and I will probably add the Elizabeth I topic pack as well. For us these topic packs work well because they are summaries of what she has read. And they are also good examples of how to summarize the facts (she has a tendency to get lost in all the detail that she loves so I actually REALLY like to have a good summary for her). She also really likes the Learning maps that they include in the Topic Packs (if you have not heard of a topic pack have a look at this link on the Battle of Hastings one).
And then I am guessing we are probably going to spend some time on the Stuarts. We have watched a few documentaries that talked about the Scottish royal families and she is starting to get really interested in these characters so I think that is probably going to come through more this coming year.
An extra newish topic for us but one that both the kids are talking more and more about is the First World War. We recently watched a brilliant documentary on it which sparked lots of questions. So I have started gathering some books on the topic and am looking out for new documentaries (With History documentaries we always preview them first as some can be just a bit too gruesome or explicit but I have found some brilliant ones so I think it is worth the effort searching for them). I am predicting that World War 1 will be more a general topic that we cover slowly over time – more like a background topic but I want to encourage all the questions that have started coming and I know she already finds the fact that Queen Victoria’s grandchildren where scattered throughout Europe and on different sides of the war fascinating. So that is something we will explore further. But how exactly this topic unfolds I am leaving it for the kids to direct. We will also tie it in with a few trips this year.
Book wise I am determined to keep up our huge success of reading Historical Fiction books going (I just need to find more). Over this past year we have read a LOT of historical fiction and I have seen that they really bring the History to life. If you find a good one – the kids get lost in the story and they end up learning about everyday life without even realizing it. So it might sound a bit strange but Historical Fiction is now something I consider a good History resource.
Also the BIG CAT readers that we have been using this year have really worked well. Yes I know they were created as readers and yes the History ones we have been using are written for Key Stage 2 ages but they have been such brilliant books and always cover important facts that I am going to keep using them (I already have one for WWI – The Battle of Passchendaele).
I like these books because although I am trying hard to make sure my oldest has the material to keep challenging her interest in History I do also have her younger brother to think about and these books are perfect for me to read with both of them. He gets the right amount of information that enables him to join in with our conversations on the topic and she gets a good solid starting point for her more detailed reading. So I liked to make sure we have at least one of these on hand for our different topics.
Website wise – I feel I must mention the Teachit History site. I have set up a free membership on the site (free membership means you can download their PDF docs) and over the past 2 months I have already downloaded a number of different items. It is a sister site of Teachitprimary (which is how I found it) and their downloads look very similar but just have more detail. So far a VERY useful site for us.
This year I am also getting us a English Heritage membership. We recently went out to the Isle of Wight and visited Osborne House. It was a great day out and my daughter loved being able to visit a place she has read so much about so I would like to do more of that this year.
As I said at the start – History is a BIG one for us so we do tend to cover quite a lot.
Here are the Books that I mention above (affiliate links)
Admin Bit – some of the resources mentioned have been given to us (after I requested them) and some have been bought by me. The Story of the First World War for children was given to us by Carlton Books and the Battle of Passchendaele was given to us by Collins. The Spanish Armada topic pack was given to us earlier this year by Oaka Books.
I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use.