5 Creative Ways to Use American History Activity Books

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Disclosure: I received some of these activity books from Dover Publications & I was compensated for my time to write this post.

I am all about using resources in my homeschool.

We can accomplish quite a lot without a textbook if we have great resources.

It turns out that those resources don’t have to be complicated.

Sometimes the simpler, the better.

I love it when I can get a lot of mileage out of just a few key items.

Especially when it’s creative mileage.

Incorporating American History Activity Books into Your Homeschool

Do you have favorite resources? Some of our favorites are from Dover Publications. Here are some creative ways we use these activity books.

  • Compliment travel & field trips– Lots of homeschoolers like to travel. I’m not going to lie. Our family is really bad at it. We’re pretty much the worst, but we do end up with some winning moments. When we’re headed for a history destination, we love to prepare ahead of time and enjoy trivia on the journey.

We’ve been taking frequent trips to the nation’s capital for appointments for our chronically ill senior. We regularly round the monuments. Activity books helps to give students a little background knowledge without having to dive in to a whole unit.

Plus, they have the added bonus of making the passing travel time enjoyable.

  • Provide content for notebooking– Anyone who’s been reading a while will know that I am all about plain notebook paper. But, even notebook paper needs accessories like pictures of maps, presidents, landmarks, and the fashions of the time or other prominent people.

Notebooking could mean mapping, timelines, and a who’s who in American History. A resource with coloring pages provides materials to enhance your finished product.

Use them for source material for travel notebooks.

For those field trips and historical destinations.

  • Use as a review– Do you remember back in your classroom days when the teacher would say it’s time to review and pull out puzzles and games? Yeah. This is like that a lot.

Reviews could be at the end of a unit or the end of the year. It could come before a big test or a little quiz.

Or as you prepare for a field trip to areas of interest. We prefer to take field trips on our own. My philosophy is that you can either have a fantastic field trip or a lame play date. The two are mutually exclusive so save the play for a different day!

And use activity books to review what you saw. They can add a great dimension to a student’s narration.

  • Find project ideas– These resources aren’t just for notebooking. You can go three dimensional with pop up characters, paper dolls, and cardstock buildings.

I have a student who loves to work with paper. He will build elaborate castles and other buildings out of paper by following the instructions in the activity book and going one step at a time.

All from a simple activity book resource.

Special Projects Using American History Activity Books

Since 8th grade, our daughter, Rebecca has been studying historical fashion as an integral part of her history courses.

For every time period she studies, she creates a historical fashion piece based on research she has done into what people wore, how they made it, and what materials they used.

She makes the sketches for the design using pictures and descriptions found in many sources, including American History Activity Books. In fact, she used them in order to choose a design for a Civil War Ball gown.

Once the sketches are made, she drafts the patterns to make the garment.

Then it’s time for construction.

Rebecca has made many historical gowns both for dolls and for herself. This gown was actually and up-cycle from the original gown which was made with a plain bodice and simple cap sleeves.

She studied the details for a fancier gown and made the sketches to add the changes.

All based on styles pictured in the fashion books that doubled as activity books.

This dress includes:

  • two petticoats
  • a hoop skirt
  • many layers of lace
  • sleeves which include ribbons entwined in the lace- the longer fanciful section added to the original cap sleeve
  • additions to the plain bodice
  • a pull up in the skirt with a lace flower
  • an antique brooch that was in her great, great aunt’s collection
  • hand crocheted gloves from her own pattern modification

Although the dress was made with an eye for fashionable detail, it is not entirely made of authentic materials. The sequened bodice was an indulgence of the 21st century, but it adds a lot of interest and…fun!

This dress has been to three Civil War balls- once as the original and twice in its current form. We’ve even made union uniforms to match for a grand occasion at the annual ball.

Pro Tip– Rebecca earns a credit each year in Sewing & Design which has been a part of her high school curriculum. She also gains credit for these projects as part of her history courses.


American History Activity Book Giveaway

Great news! 10 winners will receive all 8 of the books pictured just above. US & Canada residents are eligible for this giveaway.

Dover Publications American History Books

If you’d like to purchase some of your favorite Dover titles, you can use the discount code WHBO for 25% off through June 30, 2017.

Simple Resources Can Make a Big Impact

Remember when I mentioned getting a lot of mileage out of a few simple items?

Rebecca has been finding fashion design inspiration from American History activity books as a middle and high school history student.

Her passion, talent, and skill in this area has led to her pursuit of design school.

Activity books have not been her sole source of information and inspiration, but they have been helpful many times.

Does it get better than that?

How could you use a simple resource in your homeschool?

















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