Homeschool Co-op Class: Historical Characters


My kids and I really enjoy the homeschool co-op we participate in each semester. 

Last semester I taught elementary U.S. Geography for our co-op.  You can read about how I structured that class here

This semester I'm teaching a junior-high class called Historical Characters. This class is a combination of History, Creative Writing and Speech. I don't know if any "curriculum" or structure exists for such a class as this, so I've just created what will work for our purposes. 

I decided that we would cover 2 historical time periods in our 12 weeks of class. For the first half of the semester, I chose Bible times. For the second half, I chose the Civil War era. 

For each time period, we spent 1-2 class periods studying the history of the time, comparing and contrasting our modern-day culture with the time we were studying. Then each student chose one real-life character from that time period that they wanted to portray. They studied that character in-depth and then wrote a 5-minute first-person speech. The goal is to balance historically accurate information with personal elements of emotion, to make their character "come to life."

To introduce the class, I started the very first day by presenting a 5-minute speech as the World War II character Corrie Ten Boom. This gave the students an example of what we would be doing for the semester. 

This week the students presented their Bible character speeches and did wonderfully. We heard from Miriam, Sarah, David and King Nebuchaddnezzar. Two students were absent and will present next time.     

Then we move on to the Civil War era, which should be interesting as there are numerous points of view to consider (President Lincoln, Grant, Lee, a slave, a slave owner, a Southerner who is a slave sympathizer, an active abolitionist, a Northerner who supports states-rights and doesn't see slavery as the main issue, etc).

On the final day of class, we will have a costume party and "be" any historical character we'd like.  

One of the unseen benefits of a homeschool co-op is having the opportunity to teach something like this - such a fun idea that I could run with - giving not only the students the freedom to be creative, but me as well.  


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