One of the most enjoyable ways to learn history is through living books. Living books bring a depth and richness into history studies.
An Australian History spine is a living book that weaves the whole of Australia’s story into a rich tapestry, it is an overview that covers the core of Australia’s history. A spine is like a historical washing line a place to hang your pegs of knowledge.
Once you have chosen your spine read it aloud if possible to your children. Engage the children with the narratives and don’t read too much in one sitting. Have them begging for more.
Here are some booklist suggestions.
Have your children narrate what they read. That is, tell back in their words, what they have heard you read (or they read). Narrations help the child and parent understand what is being comprehended. With the younger children this may be orally or with older children (from around 10 years old) it can be written. This is an acquired art. One I have not perfected, but I’m working on it.
Unit studies weave a web of connections and don’t always fall into neatly packaged subjects. Often topics overlap at times, or lead towards another subject. This is all part of the learning journey.
Our Australian Book Traveller teaches Australian history, art, science and geography using living picture books.
You can also focus on a particular topic and make a history lesson from that. It could be Prime Ministers of Australia , The Australian Flag, or Australian cooking (Pavlova, Anzac Biscuits, Damper and Bush Tucker).
Saint Mary MacKillop Lapbook is a hands-on activity, written with passion, that can be used to teach children in a fun and interesting way about the life of Australia’s first canonised saint in the Catholic church.
Studying architecture can reveal different aspects of Australian history. Here are some starting points.
Australian art reveals what life was like in the times gone by.
Songs of the people in Australia's history.
Grandma and Grandpa and any other old people who can tell you about times way back when. A Family History is also an excellent tool. Trace back your ancestors and see where they fit in history. If you don’t have an Australian history tree this might not work so well for this topic but it is a worthwhile lasting memento that will span the generations. Our own family tree traced us back to the convicts.
An Australian notebook is an excellent way to record history. Children make their very own history book. We use notebooking for many subjects. We even have a set of Australian History Notebooking Pages to help get you started.A Book of Centuries (a Charlotte Mason idea) is a notebook to record the whole of history. In this a student records brief facts, narrations, maps and sketches about the events of history as they occurred. You can use this in conjunction with an Australian History Notebook just recording major events. This method is also very helpful for the student to see where Australia fits in with world history.
Visit local, state and national places. I visited a small museum in Morpeth NSW and we got to have hands on practice with a very old telephone exchange. The Canberra War Memorial is outstanding. The state galleries in Melbourne and Sydney have many Australian artists.
Don’t forget to take your notebook!
These movies have adult themes and would be for older children. I suggest preview before you let the kids watch them.