Best history home schooling resources

Best history home schooling resources
Don't be overwhelmed by the number of wonderful home education materials available to you as a parent – we've picked our favourite history-at-home resources to inspire young historians (and teach us parents a few new facts about the past, too!).
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Best for eyewitness accounts of history

Find out about real-life spies, Home Front heroes and heroines and more with Adventures in History, a series of new videos from Imperial War Museums (IWM). Presented by family favourite CBBC presenter Ben Shires, the videos will introduce a different theme inspired by the national curriculum every week, offering ingenious, surprising and moving perspectives on history that children would not normally hear in the classroom. 

You'll then need to get hands-on and put your learning to the test with Family Mission fun challenges, games and activities inspired by the IWM stories and collections.

Where and when:
From Wednesday 8 April, a new Adventures in History video will be uploaded on IWM’s YouTube channel and the IWM website every Wednesday at 2pm. Families will have the opportunity to get their questions answered by an IWM expert from 2pm – 3pm, by leaving questions in the comments section, or on Facebook and Twitter. Every Friday at 11am, a ‘Family Mission briefing’ will be shared on IWM’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

Best for world history

 
Explore objects selected from museums in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and learn about the history of the whole world using the teaching resources linked to each one. From prehistory to the present day, Africa to Oceania, find out what Teaching history with 100 objects can tell us about human civilisations and cultures.

Best for history explorers

Keep young historians exploring the past without stepping outside your front door with Historic Royal Palaces' games, videos and animations for home schooling.

They'll need to step into the shoes of a Tudor servant and plan a feast for a hungry Henry VIII (but be careful not to be unmasked as an imposter!), reorder some historical events in a Story Shufffle game, explore a millenium of history at the Tower of London in a podcast series and investigate Tudor times with a modern-day reporter... all in the name of historical accuracy!

Best for documenting current events

Future historians will study the beginning of our century and write essays and books about the coronavirus pandemic. Might your child's My 2020 Covid-19 Time Capsule record become a primary source for their research? Encourage them to fill it in today and look back at their work in ten years. What will they remember of the strange times we are all living through in 2020?

Best for asking a historian questions

Whether you're interested in Romans or Victorians, witchcraft or clothing and jewellery, [email protected] gives children and families access to a period expert with the opportunity to ask questions (like what do historians actually do?). Read up on the subject before you take part in a live Skype call or catch up on recordings of previous sessions.

Best for history downloads and activities

Download and print some historical figres activity sheets, wordsearches and timelines for fun at home. If you discover History Heroes you hadn't heard about before, do some research and find out more about them! TheSchoolRun's History Homework Gnome section is a great place to start for information about artists, scientists, explorers and leaders like Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Anning, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Anne Frank, Queen Elizabeth II and lots more!

Best for royal and religious history

Stage a royal coronation at home, make up a secret sign language and learn to navigate around an ancient place of worship – just three of the new A to Z online educational activities for primary children from Westminster Abbey. Led by the Abbey’s Livingstone the Lion cartoon character, the downloadable worksheets start with A for Abbey, B for Benedictine and C for Coronations. 

The Abbey is also running Facebook Live sessions for families, starting with ‘Kings, Queens and Coronations’ on Friday 17th April.

Best for (historical) cartoon capers

 
Liberty's Kids: Est. 1776 is an animated historical fiction television series in which two teenage reporters cover the events of the Revolutionary War for Ben Franklin’s newspaper, The Philadelphia Gazette. Listen out for celebrity voices such as Sylvester Stallone (as Paul Revere), Billy Crystal (as John Adams), Annette Bening (as Abigail Adams), Arnold Schwarzenegger (as Baron von Steuben), Liam Neeson (as John Paul Jones) and Whoopi Goldberg (as Deborah Sampson) and find out more about key events in US history, from the Boston Tea Party to the Constitutional Convention. Free to watch on YouTube.

Best for interactive history lessons

Hidden under the streets of Liverpool, a top-secret WWII underground bunker has been active again in the last few weeks, offering live history lessons for primary-school children from Western Approaches HQ. Find out about life in the UK during the war and learn more about rations, wartime food, evacuees and wartime entertainment – as well as completing some coding and Morse code activities!

Where and when: 
The hugely popular lessons are launched on Wednesdays at 1pm, with activities to complete at home (make your own ration book, understand code ciphers, create identity cards and more).

 

Best for a virtual museum visit

You'll find activity and information PDFs, zoomable images and short films about all the KS1 and KS2 history curriculum topics on the Ashmolean Museum's Learning Resources website. Watch a film about mummification, find out more about Ancient Greek pots, read Latin inscriptions, learn to read, write and say Chinese numbers, understand Stone Age technology, listen to Old English and see Guy Fawkes' lantern – all without setting a foot outside your front door!

Best for Tudor activities

Whatever crafty materials you have to hand – paper, LEGO, wool or crayons – immerse yourself in Tudor life and artefacts with the The Mary Rose's brilliant Things to Make and Do activities. Put together a purser's chest for your chocolate stash, a pop-up Mary Rose (with crew finger puppets!) or a building-block Henry VIII, then try your hand at diving with your own Cartesian Diver, making a holoprism or knitting your own Tudor mini-hat.

There are 16th century-themed colouring activitiess, wordsearches and activities, too.

Best for interactive history games

Test your knowledge with some online quizzes, write your name in Egyptian hieroglyphs, explore Ancient Greece and take a ride in a chariot, have a go at making a mummy and more – there are loads of historical games, aligned with the KS2 history curriculum, to try on the Children's University of Manchester History website.

Best for hands-on historical learning

Recreate some of the British Museum's best family learning experiences at home with resources adapted from their fantastic Early morning explorers events. For an ancient Greek-themed few hours you could start with some Nereid colouring sheets, make your own Under the sea sensory bin, try the Parthenon challenge and Metope puzzle sheet, set up an Odysseus sensory storytelling session and finish by building your own (small-scale) Trojan Horse.

Best for history crafts and historical how-tos

Explore the past on the English Heritage History at Home site, with crafts and history-themed videos and ideas for things to make and do, whether it’s learning making your own Roman mosaic, finding out about medieval heraldry, sculpting a clay dragon or forging a cardboard sword and shield to defend your castle (or home) with. 

English Heritage will also be broadcasting a free five-part weekly history lesson series hosted by CBBC presenter Ben Shires. The topics covered will track the history National Curriculum, from Prehistory to the Second World War, and share information about some of the country’s most iconic sites, including Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle.

Best for learning to consult primary sources

 
The National Archives' Time Travel TV brings the archives to your armchair! Each session introduces a treasure from the collection to families, with exciting follow-up activities for viewers to complete, including a detective-based enquiry exploring other documents and a themed craft to make.

Best history activities resource library

A treasure trove of archaeology and social history activities to help educate and entertain, inspired by the collections across Colchester and Ipswich Museums. Museum From Home offers step-by-step instructions to help you make your own castle, construct a Roman shield, helmet or sword, recreate a work of art, explore life as an evacuee, work out the answers to some Anglo Saxon riddles and loads more!