Homeschool History Ideas

Charlotte Mason Homeschool History and the Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum & Homeschool History

Charlotte Mason’s homeschool history and the The Australian Curriculum’s content is quite different in its application and Content.

A New Definition For History

The Australian Curriculum’s history content is really an  Australian Social Studies course for the first four years and no chronological history is taught at all. Their “history studies” are spent  working out what is past and present, what is old and new, and learning snippets of about where they were born, special celebrations and stories about their families and other families.

To understand what you are required to teach in homeschool history you first need to understand the requirements of the Australian Curriculum. All states and territories follow the Australian curriculum however some states have written their own adaptation syllabus. So the information you see here applies to all states and territories.

In the primary years history is a sub-strand of the Australian Curriculum’s Humanities and Social Science subject which also includes geography and civics and citizenship. In high school it becomes a subject on its own.

In the primary years, Approximately 6 -10% of school hours are allocated to Humanities and Social Science which works out to be around 1.5 – 2.5 hours per week.

In schools, this subject is often rotated throughout the school years between the sub strands of history and geography, or taught in blocks – a year of history or a year of geography. Civics is included from Year Three.

The Australian History Curriculum divides the topic of history into:

  • historical understanding and knowledge
  • historical skills.

A Charlotte Mason History Curriculum

  • She taught history chronologically using museums, narrative stories, timelines, a Book of Centuries
  • She encouraged us to get children to connect with the stories of the past by helping them understand the people and the times, using biographies.
  • She wanted children to get personally involved with the stories of history using historical fiction.
  • She didn’t want history from textbooks (or Wikipedia) so she encouraged us to use living book history spines (a good overview of history told in a narrative way) to teach history.
  • She wanted history to be understood as a sequence of events rather than hodge-podge of random events.
  • Social studies was taught in the midst of the people of history.

Combining Charlotte Mason History & Australian Curriculum

So now we have a dilemma how can we marry these two different approaches so that we can meet the requirement to follow the Australian Curriculum (or NSW NESA syllabus) and still teach history the CM way. I believe a practical solution is to run a chronological history strand concurrently with the Australian Curriculum. This may sound like extra work but it isn’t really. Since the first four years of schooling don’t really teach any history there is no overlap and we can use these years to get through some good fun history that the children will enjoy while still meeting the historical skills and content desired by the Australian Curriculum.

Chronological World Homeschool History

I suggest that while you meet the requirements of the Australian curriculum you also add world history to your homeschool history lessons, as this is never done in the current Australian National Curriculum.

You can use historical readers and record them as part of your English, Science and Geography subjects depending on what historical book you are using.

If you have a few children who homeschool, you will probably find it best to slot your new child into the homeschool history that matches the others so you don’t have too much reading aloud. You can still teach the Australian Curriculum but teach chronological history as well. More on group teaching here.

At My Homeschool we have included World History into our primary curriculum.

My Homeschool Primary Years History Studies

We include lap books, time lines and a Book of Centuries.

  • Social Studies:  Kindergarten – Year 1
  • Ancient History: Year 2
  • Early Middle Ages: Year 3
  • Late Middle Ages and Early Australian History: Year 4
  • Australian and Modern History : Year 5 and 6

For High School

The basic cycle that I find covers history chronologically and also incorporates all of the Australia Curriculum is as follows:

My Homeschool only provides high school homeschool history for Year 7 and 8.

  • Ancient History includes Ancient China – Year 7
  • Medieval History includes history of the Mongols and Japan– Year 8
  • Late Middle Ages/Early Modern History – Year 9
  • Modern History – Year 10

Australian Curriculum Homeschool History Primary

Australian History Foundation To Year 3

The early school years the Australian Curriculum history studies are really Australian Social Studies only. Lessons include family histories, celebrations, flags and emblems and significant people in Australia’s history.

Australian History Year 4 to Year 6

From Year Four (Stage 2 in NSW) the Australian Curriculum splits Australian history into three time periods to be studied over three years.

  • Year 4: First Contacts Before 1800 – they begin to get some chronological history and that begins with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s history.
  • Year 5 and 6: Colonies and Federation:  then follow the history of Australia from 1800 to modern times.

Australian History Book Lists

Australian Picture Booklists

These books are great to study in the primary years. You can use them as a part of your English, art and sometimes science lessons as well.

Australian Fiction & History Books

Read these books to help your child get a feel for events of the time. Learning the facts clothed in a story will help your child to remember. And the enjoyment factor is also much higher!

Homeschool History Lesson Ideas For Primary.

A key component of the Charlotte Mason writing lessons is using living books. Here are some Australian books we used for narrations and notebooks instead of textbooks. We also used some lap books and Charlotte Mason inspired literature studies in the early years.

Make a Family Tree

In Kindy and Year 1, history lessons are meant to focus on the child and their place in the world. Doing a family tree is a great way to do this.

Wombat Stew Literature Study

This would have to be one of my most popular posts. We use many of literature based books as a part of our history and social studies  in Kindergarten and Year 1 courses at My Homeschool.

Mary McKillop Lapbook

This is another great way to study the life of a great Australian. This is also used as a part of our Year 2 My Homeschool Curriculum.

River Murray Mary

Here is an example of the type of book you would use as a historical fiction for Australia. We recommend this book for Year 5 or Year 6.

Narration Example - Margaret Catchpole

Here is a narration example from one of my daughters.

Australian History Illustrated

Our Sunburnt Country is exclusive to Homeschooling Downunder.  It covers Australian history from Aboriginal life prior to first contacts with Europeans to modern times. Used in Year 5 My Homeschool.

High School Homeschool History – Stage 4 (Year 7 – 8 )

Only a brief overview is expected (10% of the teaching time) and then three in-depth studies are required over the each year.

  • Over 2 year there is a focus on Ancient history and then Ancient to Modern World.
  • 50 hours per year (approximately 1.25 hours per week) has been allocated to this subject.
  • Only 10% of the time has been allocated to giving a broad overview of the curriculum and then six in-depth studies are required.
  • If you desire to do more hours focusing on this subject choose historical subject matter for your English assignments.

Please note there is no specific coverage of British history or Jewish History in this Australian curriculum.

Year 7 – Ancient History

1. Ancient World

– this begins with the origins of man. The National curriculum content comes from the evolutionary assumption of origins of man and the Africa theory. It also covers archaeology and fossils. In our family we still teach archaeology and inform our kids of the other theories out their about the origins of man but we use a Biblical world view and the Bible as the historical base for teaching the origins of man.

See Our Ancient History Booklist

2. Mediterranean World

– This includes the civilizations of Greece, Rome and Egypt. You are only expected to teach one of these civilizations in-depth. When you study Ancient Rome you can also incorporate that into the study of the origins of Christianity and Jewish history. This is also the perfect time to teach Bible/Jewish history although not required by the National Curriculum. We have already taught this topic extensively in the primary years. Egypt and Greece naturally fall into Biblical world history as well.

See our Ancient Rome and Greece Booklist

3. Asian World

You can choose India or Chinese Ancient History This includes the history of China including Confucius and the Emperors around 2000BC to the Song Dynasty 1200AD.

See our Asian History Booklist

Year 8 – Middle Ages

You will cover from the fall of the Roman Empire around 4th Century to 17th Century. From the three focus topics below areas you are supposed to pick one from each group to do an in depth study. Links are booklist suggestions.

1. Western and Islamic Worlds

(a) The Vikings

(b) Italian Renaissance

(c) Medieval Europe – this is the only place that British history is suggested for study it could also include the Crusades

(d) Byzantine and Ottoman Empire – The rise of Islam.

2. The Asia – Pacific World

(a) Angkor/Khmer Empire

(b) Japan and the Shoguns

(c) Polynesian Expansion across the Pacific

3. Expanding Contacts

(a) Mongol Expansion

(b) Spanish Conquest of America

(c) Black Death of Asia, Europe and Africa

High School Homeschool History – Stage 5 (Year 9 – 10 )

If you wish you can continue on with the final books in the Story of The World Series- Modern History. (Don’t forget you can always use the audio books).

Over a two year period (Year 9 – 10) six focus areas are to be chosen. One from each list:

1. Making a Better World – Year 9

2. In-depth Asia or more Australia History – Year 9

3. World War I – 1917 – Year 9

4. World War II – Year 10

5 -6. Rights and Freedoms & The Globalising World – Year 10

Homeschool History Without Textbooks

Use A History Spine

“As I have said elsewhere, the ideas required for the sustenance of children are to be found mainly in books of literary quality; given these the mind does for itself the sorting, arranging, selecting, rejecting, classifying…it seems to be necessary to present ideas with a great deal of padding, as they reach us in a novel or poem or history book written with literary power.” Charlotte Mason

You can begin with a general world history book which is often called a spine. The Story of The World series are popular history spines. You can also get it as an audio, that is the way my family have listened to it.

The Bible – The Ultimate Ancient History Book

Ancient history is an excellent place to begin your study of the history of the world.

Choose a history guide that will take you through ancient history and the Bible Learn about the first men, Babylonians, Egyptians, Jews, Greeks and Roman. You can read through the Bible as your main source of literature and add some historical fiction and creation science materials.

Add Some Historical Fiction

In addition to a history spine I have found that you can add historical fiction from that history period to read aloud. This brings much more life to that period of history. Below is a suggested chronological history cycle which links to booklists on that time period. Don’t feel that you need to read them all. Just start with one from that time to read aloud. It usually took me at least a term to get through one historical novel.

Historical Skills


Worldview is a subject that is first brought up at this age. This is a good place to discuss that history is approached from different ideologies. You might also want to talk about having a Biblical worldview or a Secular worldview. An obvious conflict is between the Biblical worldview of creation and the secular worldview of evolution.

Museum visits will help your child identify things from the past. While covering your chronological history you can have your children draw artifacts from the past. Discuss how we get information from the past.

You might like to make your first history notebooks pictorial with oral narrations that you can transcribe into your children’s notebooks.

You can begin a timeline book or wall chart that the children help create. Later on when they are about ten you could also start a Book of Centuries. (This is a Charlotte Mason idea which has children record history chronologically in one notebook that they use through-out the rest of their school days).


My Homeschool Curriculum

If you are looking for a curriculum that has already worked out all the planning for you then My Homeschool Graded Courses might be for you!

In short, it follows follows state and territory syllabus requirements while using a literature rich approach inspired by Charlotte Mason.