One of the things we did this year that we really enjoyed was to join a local history club. I owe a special thank you to a local Mom who was motivated and initiated this among our group of friends. Living in the South and studying a lot of civil war history for this year's CC curriculum, it was a perfect fit. We had many field trip opportunities that blended both our local North Carolina history with our CC studies of the Civil War period. I was very thankful that we did it and it gave us an additional chance to see friends and share in another educational experience together each month.
What is a Local History Club?A local history club is a group of families that join together and decide to participate as a named group in an organization sponsored club, focused around historical themes or events. You don't necessarily have to be part of an organization to have a history club though, but many are. There are some added benefits if you join an history club organization. You can find your local one if it's available, and read what those may be. The focus of local history clubs is often to better understand the state in which the children live. However, history can be studied in context to larger reaching concepts, but still have local venues such as the Civil War which tie together both. Some history clubs are not focused on the state, it depends on the organization and where you live. The NC Junior Historian Club is our State's history club organization and it's purpose is to better acquaint NC children with their state's history. It's a great way for homeschooling families' to study history together informally at a younger age before it's a required subject. It's a great way to prime them for later studies of history.
Where Do You Find One?
I did a quick google search and there are history clubs like this around the country. If you live in North Carolina, then you can go to the NC Museum of History webpage to find information for starting a Junior Historian Club yourself. Many local history museums have something similar. If yours doesn't have one, then perhaps you can pioneer getting your museum to start one! There is also a National History Club which can be found at http://www.nationalhistoryclub.org. This is geared toward older students and it's affiliated with the History Channel. You really don't need to belong to a specific history club organization if none are available. You can always just get together with friends and plan out a school year of field trips, history related books to read, projects or explore together however you wish, and enrich your studies.
What You Can Do TogetherHere are some suggested activities for a history club to explore together:
- Field Trips - to local historical destinations that enrich your child's knowledge of the place in which they live, or the time period or events you are studying.
- History related projects - there are a ton of ideas on Pinterest!
- Local Government Trips - If you contact your Representative, then you can set up a personal tour for your group of your local government buildings and usually meet some Representatives as well. If there is an Open Session going on, then you can participate and even have your names noted for the record in history that day! How cool is that!
- Compete in Contests and attend Conferences if your local history club has them.
- History in a Box - Check with your local museum or history club and see if you can check out a History in a Box series to do with your group.
- Historical Dress Up and Play - Reenact various time periods in history together - it can be filmed. Select reading material and then after reading it, have the kids reenact it. You can make a small production out of it as well or film it.
- Documentary- bring history to life and create a documentary on a chosen historical topic.
- Photography/Videography - photo/video journal historical places in your area.
- Keep a History Journal
- Conspiracies and Mysteries Study - Study cases that are shrouded in mystery or conspiracy, such as JFK. Study evidence, construct theories, debate them, show evidential support etc.
These are just a few ideas. There are many more! Be creative and consider the ages and interests of the children involved in your group. Make it memorable, educational and fun!