Social Studies Resource Sheet
By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
Dear America/My Name is America/ My America- historical fiction - Your library will have a TON of these books. You can read them in any order or in historical order. They are historical fiction for children told from the perspective of children.
Childhood of Famous Americans – explore the childhoods of famous people and gain insight into what started them on their path. Where will your path lead?
Choosing Your Way Through America’s Past – This collection of stories lets you explore history as an active player. The story will come to a decision point and you choose. Then turn to the right page to continue the story based on your choice. With my kids, we had to read these over and over, each time choosing a different outcome until we had uncovered all of the possibilities. More in this format are Choosing Your Way Through Medieval Times and Choosing Your Way Through Ancient Times. I found these books through Rainbow Resources.
Oh Yikes! History’s Grossest & Wackiest Moments – With 2 boys, these types of books were always a hit. Anything gross or wacky got their attention. But there were also really informative.
Outrageous Women of the American Frontier – Learn about the women who bucked the system and their station in life to make the world a different place. There are more books in this series, so also check out Outrageous Women of the Renaissance, Middle Ages, Ancient Times and Civil War Times.
Lives of the Presidents – a back stage view of the presidencies. You can also find Lives of the Extraordinary Women.
What Ever Happened to Justice? – An inside scoop on our legal system. How it started and where it went from there. Fun to discuss as a family or in a group of homeschoolers.
What Ever Happened to Penny Candy? – An inside scoop on our economic system.
Me on the Map- a nice book for young students to begin geography exploration.
Little House on the Prairie series of books – A great into to the early history of the Midwest. And reading them can be a wonderful prelude to a summer trip to Walnut Grove or any of the historic sites.
Team of Rivals – a good read for your high school student. Get a deep understanding of the Lincoln presidency and that time in our history.
Dummies Books are available for American History, World History and Geography. I prefer them to the dryer format of a traditional text.
The History of US – Joy Hakim’s series covering American History.
Schoolhouse Rock- Youtube has this great classic, and you can watch How a Bill Becomes a Law, the Boston Tea Party, The Electoral College and the episode about the Preamble to the constitution.
Eye Witness Videos – Nicely done, just like their book series. You can find any number of social studies topics like Ancient Greece, Medieval Days, or Frontier Times.
Travel Videos – like Rick Steve’s series, can be a great way to learn about modern cultures around the world. Add to your virtual trip by making a meal with traditional recipes of the land you’re studying.
Little House on the Prairie – the TV show. The prairie will come alive with episodes about the frontier and the time of the settlers.
The Waltons – the TV show. The great depression will feel more real as you watch through the eyes of the Walton family.
Supplemental Options for Social Studies
Dover Coloring books – Dover has a wonderful offering of topics and these are quite detailed coloring books (you’ll need colored pencils, not crayons). You can find titles like Native Americans, American Landmarks, Life in Ancient Egypt, Great Inventors & Inventions and more!
Top Secret Adventures – a subscription workbook series that come in the mail. Each packet explores a different country with activities and maps to delve into. A subscription makes a nice gift (from grandparents or aunts/uncles?) for a birthday or Christmas.
Which Way USA – another subscription from Highlights, each packet explores a different state.
National Geographic for Kids – Magazine subscription or check out their website, and videos.
Archeology’s DIG magazine for kids – Another fun one to find in the mailbox each month with lots to explore. Or check and see if your library has a subscription!
A Fun Idea – Take a map of the USA and put it on your dining room or kitchen table, then cover with a clear table cloth, shower curtain or a couple yards of clear plastic from the craft store. When you have lunch, encourage the kids to find a mountain range or body of water near their plate or cup. What states are covered by their plates? Have them change places every few days and explore a new region. When you have completely roamed the US, switch to a World map. When my sons began preparing for driving, we put a Metro area map on the table and talked about the highways and smaller roads that make up the main arteries of traffic through the area. We just never had the wall space for maps, and the table turned out to be much more handy.