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The Best History Curriculum Options for Homeschoolers

Choosing curriculum over the years has gotten easier and easier for me. After sixteen years of homeschooling, we’ve pretty much found what we like and what works for our family. Sure, we make changes from time to time, and as a self-proclaimed curriculum junkie it is hard to resist a new curriculum or resource that just hit the market that everyone is raving about.

But if you’re new to homeschooling, or still trying to find the right fit, deciding what to use each year can be stressful and overwhelming. There are so many resources and curriculum on the market these days – enough to make your head spin wondering what is best for your kids.

But what is the best? 

Character Copywork

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to homeschool curriculum.  One family’s absolute favorite curriculum, might be a failure in your home.  What works for one child (even within the same family), might not work for another.

So how do you choose? 

My advice is to do your research, try out the curriculum (many publishers offer free samples or lessons), ask around to see how other people like or didn’t like the curriculum (FB groups are great for this), narrow your choices down to your top three, do even more in-depth research on those three, pray, and then make your decision. Wouldn’t hurt to talk with your spouse either.



And to be honest, you might choose something that doesn’t end up working for your family or your child, and that’s okay!  It’s okay to ditch what’s not working and try something else.  Thankfully, many homeschool companies offer free trials and free samples for you to try out before you buy, so be sure to take advantage of these and use them before you hand over your money. 

This curriculum post is all about history and what I feel are the top 11 history curriculums on the market. As a homeschool mom of 8 for going on 17 years, and also a homeschool curriculum reviewer, I’ve used, tried, researched, and explored a lot of homeschool curriculums.

*We have a list of top math curriculums and science too!

I’m hoping that the time I’ve spent researching and trying curriculum will help your family by saving you some time and energy, and maybe even some money. Since I’ve already done my own research, why not share what I’ve found and what I believe to be the top history options available with others?

Below you’ll find a breakdown of what I feel are the best history curriculums on the homeschool market – I’m calling it the Homeschool Curriculum A-List!

You’ll also find a printable comparison chart of these top history curriculums below. Once you narrow down your search, you can really start digging into your top choices and doing your own research.  To help you with that, just click over to the publishers website, check out the reviews I’ve linked to from some of the top homeschool bloggers, and use these curriculum comparison sheets to take notes.

A note on the prices listed – these are the suggested retail prices and/or the regular prices listed on the publishers’ websites at the time this post was published, but in some cases you may be able to find the curriculum for cheaper through places like Christianbook.com or Rainbow Resource Center or you may even be able to find some good used copies.

Grade level: 1st – 12th

Price:
$60 – $110

Consumable: workbooks are consumable; textbooks are reusable

Prep Time: Low

Teacher Involvement: Low – High; depends on the grade level

*Christian

Notgrass History offers homeschool history curriculum from the elementary grades through the high school level.

Early grades cover American history and geography. Middle grades include a unit study approach to American history with elements of Bible history, literature, language arts, geography, and hands-on projects. At the high school level, Notgrass History students can study government and civics, world history, economics, American history, or world geography.

Each course can be expanded upon by adding in the recommended historical fiction and biography selections, giving you a full course of literature as well.

Homeschool Approach: Traditional, Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, auditory

Format: textbooks, workbooks, audio books available for some courses

Read reviews from My Joy-Filled Life, The Homeschool Scientist, Homeschool with Moxie, My Chocolate Moments, Joy in the Journey

Grade level: K – 12th

Price:
$100, plus more if you add in optional supplements

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Moderate

Teacher Involvement: Moderate

*Christian

The Mystery of History is a chronological, creation-based homeschool world history curriculum. It consists of four books covering ancient times and biblical history, Egypt, Greece, and Rome in the first book, and The Middle Ages in the second book. The final two books cover the Renaissance, explorers, scientists, and the American Revolution through The Vietnam War and modern times. Ideal for families homeschooling multiple ages and grade levels, The Mystery of History also offers a Companion Guide with pre-tests, lesson ideas, and extension activities for all ages.

Homeschool Approach: Eclectic, Traditional

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, auditory, kinesthetic

Format: books, audiobooks (optional), activities

Read reviews from – Janelle Knutson, Just a Simple Home, Nicki Truesdell, Cornerstone Confessions, Table Life Blog

Grade level: 1st – 8th

Price: $20-$55 for individual volumes and activity books

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Low to Moderate depending on if you incorporate activities

Teacher Involvement:
Moderate

Story of the World takes a classical approach to homeschooling history. This four-volume series is designed to be used for early grades as a read aloud and then later for older students, to be read independently. Most families opt to use the Story of the World books as a spine and branch out from there with the supporting literature and activities suggested in the activity book that corresponds with the volume. The activity books include narration, supplemental book lists, maps, comprehension questions and activities for parents to incorporate into the lessons.

Homeschool Approach: Classical, Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: auditory, kinesthetic

Format: books, audiobooks (optional), activities

Read reviews from – The Simple Homeschooler, Sheena Loves Sunsets, Learning Mama, Research Parent, Marvelously Set Apart

Grade level: 3rd – 8th

Price: $30-$35; you can purchase al a carte projects for less

Consumable: Reusable (digital)

Prep Time: Moderate – High

Teacher Involvement: Moderate – High

*Christian

Home School in the Woods Project Passport and Time Travelers history curriculum is geared for 3rd through 8th grade and provides a hands-on approach to history. Individual Project Passport unit studies cover Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and The Renaissance. Students embark on a journey through time with 25 stops (lessons) within each study. Units are designed to take between 5 to 10 weeks to complete and include 50 projects along the way culminating in a scrapbook or series of lapbooks illustrating what they’ve learned. Project Passport unit studies can be purchased individually or in a bundle.

Time Travelers takes students on a journey through United States history, again with 25 lessons per time period designed to be taught over the course of 5 to 10 weeks. Covering colonial times, the American Revolution, the early 19th century, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution to the Great Depression, and World War II, they’re an excellent hands-on approach to homeschool history for kinesthetic learners.

Homeschool Approach: Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, kinesthetic

Format: lapbooks, hands-on activities

Read reviews from – The Moments at Home, The Delight Directed Homeschooler, My Joy-Filled Life, Living Well + Learning Well, Content with Simple

Grade level: K – 12th

Price: starting at $30 for just the teacher guide; literature packs start at $165

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Low

Teacher Involvement: Low – Moderate (depending on grade level)

*Christian

Beautiful Feet is a literature-based homeschool history curriculum that uses a Charlotte Mason approach to learning history through a variety of lenses. Literature packs are broken down by levels to include primary, intermediate, junior high, and high school, using living books, allowing students to explore the world through a Christian worldview.

Younger students receive lessons in character building, geography, and early American history. Students in intermediate levels and above are introduced to topics like science and geography through literature as well as ancient and medieval history and classical music. Government, economics, and the U.S. and world history round out the upper-level curriculum package offerings.

Homeschool Approach: Charlotte Mason, Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, auditory

Format: living books

Read reviews from – A Touch of Homeschooling, Juice Box Homeschool, Line Upon Learning, Little Learner and Mom, The WOLFe Pack

Grade level: 7th – 12th

Price: $189 for a year subscription

Consumable: Yes, you have access for one year, but notes & activities can be printed and used with multiple children

Prep Time: Low

Teacher Involvement: Low

*Christian

Bright Light Academy presents an engaging, self-paced U.S. history course. Taught by a U.S. Navy veteran and historian, this video-based online course offers a captivating exploration of U.S. history from a Biblical worldview.

Students have access to pre-recorded video lessons, supplemented by guided notes, activities, and optional auto-graded quizzes. Purchase just one subscription for the entire family to use. Your students will be immersed in a journey through the triumphs, challenges, and significant moments that have shaped the United States. Discover the joy of learning and deepen your understanding of U.S. history with Bright Light Academy.  *More courses in the works!

Homeschool Approach: Traditional, Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, kinesthetic, auditory

Format: video-based, online (pre-recorded), printable activities

Read reviews from – coming soon

Grade level: PreK – 12th

Price: $25-$50

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Low

Teacher Involvement: Low to moderate depending on grade level

*Christian

For simple and straightforward history textbooks for your homeschool, Christian Liberty Press books cover the elementary grades through high school. In the early grades, students are presented with a short historical fiction passage and are expected to answer comprehension questions at the end of the lesson.

Upper-grade levels read more like a public school textbook. The curriculum includes readers with stories that correlate to the lessons; students answer comprehension questions upon completion of the story.

Homeschool Approach: Traditional

Learning style(s) suited for: visual

Format: textbook

Read reviews from – The Legacy of Home, Wander Homeschool

Grade level: PreK – 12th

Price: $300 – $600 for packages with literature books; components also sold separately

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Moderate

Teacher Involvement: Moderate

*Christian

Sonlight homeschool history weaves literature and Bible studies with history. With a range of world history and American history options in the younger grades to a more in-depth world, church, and science history in the later grades, it is an ideal open-and-go history option.  Students read a variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, and biographies. Sonlight works well for families teaching children of multiple age ranges as the lessons are adaptable for multiple children.

Homeschool Approach: Eclectic, Charlotte Mason

Learning style(s) suited for: auditory

Format: living books

Read reviews from – Homeschool of 1, Homeschool Hideout, The Oaxacaborn Blog, Natural Beach Living, The Purposeful Nest

Grade level: 7th – 12th

Price: $120

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Low

Teacher Involvement: Low

*Christian

Dave Raymond’s Compass Classroom homeschool history curriculum combines DVD (digital streaming available) presentations with assigned reading, hands-on projects, and assessments.

Covering ancient history, American and World History, Compass Classroom is an all-encompassing curriculum. It includes historical events and characters as well as literature, religious beliefs, theology, and art. As an extension of the history curriculum, Compass Classroom also provides affordable stand-alone historical dramatization stories that bring history alive for students. The topics in these audio dramatizations allow for engaging rabbit trails and extension activities.

Homeschool Approach: Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, auditory

Format: video-based

Read reviews from – Delightful Learning, As We Walk Along the Road, The Curriculum Choice

Grade level: 3rd – 8th

Price: $70 for physical version of textbook and teacher guide

Consumable: Yes, worksheets are, but there is also a digital option which makes it reusable

Prep Time: Low

Teacher Involvement: Low to Moderate

*Christian

For families seeking an open-and-go homeschool history curriculum, Masterbooks is a great option. Beginning in the early grades, Masterbooks teaches young children about the world around them, their community, and their place in it. From there they expand into learning about American History, and U.S. and World Geography. The middle and upper-grade option, The World’s Story, covers world history and is geared for grades 6 through 8.

MasterBooks is notorious for being a comprehensive curriculum option for busy families. With calendars and assignments laid out at the beginning of each consumable workbook, parents have minimal prep time, short of reading passages to younger students.

Homeschool Approach: Traditional

Learning style(s) suited for: visual

Format: text, worksheets

Read reviews from – Homeschool Curriculum Review, Rabbit Trails Homeschool

Grade level: 6th – 12th

Price: Starts at $90 for Essentials Pack

Consumable: reusable

Prep Time: Moderate

Teacher Involvement: Moderate

*Christian

History Revealed homeschool history curriculum by Diana Waring includes a series of packs covering ancient history, The Bible, The Roman Empire through the 1800s all the way to the Korean War. Each unit includes a student manual, teacher guide, and audio CD set. The chapters are divided into four phases to include an audio selection and a reading portion where students listen to the stories presented and then read articles on their own. In the second phase, students can explore their own rabbit trails and choose a topic based on what they read and heard about. The third phase of the process includes hands-on projects around culture, art, music, science, cooking, and architecture. The final phase of the process in each unit allows students to create a project that pulls in aspects of each of the previous phases.

Creativity is encouraged in this unique homeschool history curriculum that appeals to all types of learners. The units are geared toward middle school through high school age. The program also makes available resources for younger grades. Pre-K through elementary age students can learn right along with their siblings with the help of the activity books for younger children. Families can also delve deeper with supplemental CDs.

Homeschool Approach: Eclectic

Learning style(s) suited for: visual, kinesthetic

Format: books; digital options available

Read reviews from – Our Journey Westward, Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Now that you have seen what has made the Homeschool Curricuum A-List, you might be wondering which ones my family has used and which ones I have the most experience with.

The history curriculum we have used the most and the longest is Notgrass. We’ve probably been using it for about 12 years. When we started using it, Notgrass did not have courses for the early elementary grades, so for my oldest kids, we had to find other options (I’ll get to those in a moment). The main reasons I like Notgrass are that it’s a Christian curriculum and it’s very user-friendly. It’s pretty open-and-go; there’s not a lot of prep work needed; kids in about 5th-6th grade can work pretty independently. That’s a big deal when you’re homeschooling a lot of kids. The content is solid and the courses include lots of different activity assignments like map study, timeline, literature, projects, and vocabulary. You can easily pick and choose if you don’t want to do every single thing for every single lesson.

When my oldest two were little and Notgrass wasn’t an option, we used some of Christian Liberty Press’s history books, we tried Mystery of History and Story of the World, read living books, and also used Home School in the Woods a bit.

I really wanted Mystery of History to work for us; I liked that it was Bible-based and could be used with multiple kids in different grade levels, but I always felt that it wasn’t meaty enough and I also didn’t find it very open-and-go. But I still have it on my bookshelf because I just can’t part with it; I really do like the curriculum; it just wasn’t a fit for our family.

I tried Story of the World early on in our homeschool journey and wasn’t a fan. But…. we recently picked it back up again because they offered it at our co-op. So my youngest son did SOTW the last two years at co-op – we did the reading at home and he did the projects and activities at co-op. We both really enjoyed it – we looked forward to our snuggle time on the couch reading and my son got to do a lot of neat projects each week that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. My youngest kids won’t be doing co-op next year, but I plan to use the next two volumes of SOTW as read alouds because now we want to finish it (and I’ll be having my son start using Notgrass).

We have also used Home School in the Woods. They offer such neat courses and resources – they are great as a full course or they are wonderful for when you need a break and to change things up a bit or when you need to add a little something to your current studies (their a la carte projects are great for this). When you are done with a Home School in the Woods study, you have a beautiful portfolio/record of everything that was covered.

So what will we be using in our homeschool next year for history? Let’s see….

  • 11th grader – Notgrass’s Exploring World History
  • 9th grader – Notgrass’s Exploring World Geography
  • 7th graders – Notgrass’s America the Beautiful
  • 5th grader – Notgrass’s Our Star Spangled Story (this course is geared toward grades 1-4, but we are also going to use SOTW as a read aloud, so I don’t want to overwhelm him)
  • 1st grader – Notgrass’s Our Star Spangled Story

 

Which history curriculums have you used?  Which one is your favorite?

Are you in the market for a history curriculum?  What qualities and characteristics are you looking for in a history curriculum?  Do you have any questions about the ones listed above? Leave a comment!

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Even though it feels like summer just started, a new homeschool year will be upon us in no time! Have you started planning and prepping yet? Preparing for a new homeschool year is an exciting time, but it can also create feelings of overwhelm and stress! What curriculum should we use next year? What supplies do we need? And how are we going to pay for it all?

Many homeschoolers live on one income and have to stick to a strict budget that doesn’t always allow for much wiggle room. That’s why I’ve teamed up with a group of amazing homeschool bloggers to make getting ready for your new school year just a little bit easier and hopefully a little less stressful for you. Our hope is that we can bless a few homeschool families (although we wish we could bless many more) and ease a little of that financial burden and help you check some extra things off your homeschool wish list this year.

Three people will win a $250 gift card to either Rainbow Resource Center or Christianbook.com – two great places to shop for homeschool curriculum and resources, with the best prices around!!

To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Now I know this is quite a few entries, but each of these bloggers has generously chipped in their own money to make this giveaway possible, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries.  And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!

Giveaway ends July 21, 2023 at 11:59pm ET.  Must be at least 18 years of age.  Must be a resident of U.S. or Canada to enter.  Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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