History doesn’t have to come all from textbooks. Field trips in the summer are so much fun and provide the perfect opportunity to study local and state history. If you have small children and nap time is an issue, stay close to home. Many libraries and parks have programs that talk about local history. When I went on a creek hike at a local county park the ranger discussed the habitat of the area and what has been spotted in years past.You see, history doesn’t have to be all about people. It can be about nature and habitats, but it can also be about buildings and events.
You can read the signage that are at parks or along the roadside. Questions to ask your children could include, “What happened here? What was so important that there is a sign at this particular spot?” I have been known to make my husband stop the car and allow me to read the signs to see just what did occur in that area. These signs have led to interesting conversations and many times further investigation when we get home from our excursions.
One of the latest day trips I took was to a town east of us with no particular destination in mind. My dad and I just decided to take off for the day and see what was beyond our usual surroundings. We stopped at a courthouse some miles away and I began reading one of the signs out in the front. I discovered that there was a young man many, many years ago accused of a crime and he was being held in the courthouse before being taken elsewhere. The town was so enraged about the nature of the crime that they stormed the courthouse and shot several holes into the door! If I hadn’t read the sign that was on the square I wouldn’t have gone up the stairs to see the bullet holes for myself. I wouldn’t have even known they were there! Reading that sign and looking at that door made me feel a part of what had happened there instead of thinking it was just another courthouse in a town.
Have you seen the book Kids Love Ohio by Michele Zavatsky? I used this resource with my family and there are so many things to do that it will take you years to visit the places that are in this book! You and your family will have so much fun with the suggestions listed in the book and they are kid-tested too. There is even a day trip section with suggestions for lodging and food. This will save you hours of planning.
So, what if you don’t have the opportunity to go traipsing around. How about some of these ideas that are closer to home?
- When teaching younger students you can print a map of Ohio and place it in a page protector. Give them clay or play dough and allow them to fill it in. You can make several copies and your student can paint it, color it, or decorate however you wish. Older students can label cities, rivers, points of interest, or counties and can color it as well. I would recommend that if students are labeling and coloring that colored pencils be used since they can provide color as well as being able to read what has been labeled. Here is a website that has several types of maps for you to use. Maps of Ohio
- Research your family tree. Who is from Ohio and where were they born? What if none of your family are native Ohioans? Well, you live here now, so what is your history? 🙂 What brought you here?
- Learn about the indigenous animals of Ohio. Where are they found? Look at the area on a map if it isn’t near you.
- Learn about the flowers, plants and trees of Ohio. Go on a nature walk and take a notebook, pencils, and a plastic baggie with you. Collect leaf samples and press them in a nature journal. If you have any ash trees nearby, be sure and get a leaf! It is sad, but the Emerald Ash Borer has been decimating the tree population and it will become rarer to find them in years to come.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood. What buildings are old? Notice the architecture and what style is the house. There is a lot of history when it comes to building styles. For instance, columns on a porch or intricate patterns of Victorian homes. Each of these features has a history behind it.
- Do you have buildings or parks that are named after people? Find out who they were and what contributions they made.
- Go to the Museum Center. I would make this trip several times because there is a lot to see and do. You and your children can walk through a “cave”, investigate rocks and minerals, read about local history, and watch an Omnimax presentation.
- Plan a trip to an art museum. I recently went to the Cincinnati Art Museum and read about Syrian art and architecture, looked at local artists’ works and enjoyed the spectacular cobalt blue chandelier that hangs in the foyer. I only saw the first level in the time I was there. The museum is free and you only have to pay for parking. ($4.00)
I just discovered an online resource for teaching Ohio history from a Christian perspective. There are lessons for children ages 3 through high school. If you are using ABeka textbooks, the notebook that is offered will be a great resource to you. All 50 states are included on the State History from a Christian Perspective website. Click Here
Are you interested in some books about Ohio? Here are titles to investigate:
B is for Buckeye: An Ohio Alphabet by Marcia Schonberg a beautiful picture book with facts about Ohio. This book can be used for a wide range of ages.
Cardinal Numbers: an Ohio Counting Book by Marcia Schonberg Not only is this a book about Ohio, but it is also a math book using pople and places that are specifically about Ohio.
How to Draw Ohio’s Sights and Symbols by Aileen Weintraub I think this would be an excellent resource to have on hand if you are having your student draw.
Ohio: the Buckeye State, by Michael A. Martin This book provides information about our great state.
Ohio Jography: A Fun Run through Our State, Carole Marsh This book has a variety of fun activities with mazes, word searches, as well as topics to research.