Recently in our homeschool, we finished up our unit study of historic explorers. We had such a great time studying and learning about these explorers and their journeys, so I wanted to share all about the fun we had with you.
Hopefully, you will be inspired by some of these ideas and you can use them in your own homeschool.
Exploring the Explorers
I have been using multiple curriculum options this year for our history lessons. I like to mix up what we use depending on what we are learning about.
Usually, I start our lessons out using All American History volume 1 (with the Illuminations lesson plans) for the base of our lessons. Then I use lapbooks and other fun activities and crafts to supplement with.
The rest of todays post will detail how we chose to explore the explorers in our homeschool this year.
Early Explorers Lapbook
The girls and I love to work on lapbooks that are full of color and fun to assemble booklets with each lesson. That’s why we love our lapbooks from A Journey through Learning.
I have shared with you before about how we use these lapbooks often in our homeschool. They are so fantastic and work as both a supplement to whatever curriculum you are currently using, or even as a stand-alone lesson on its own. The lessons are very thorough and my girls learn so much from each lapbook we complete.
For this unit of study, we chose to use the “Early Explorers” lapbook. Each week we would study one or two explorers out of our textbook, and then complete the matching booklets in our lapbook.
I love having these completed lapbooks as a keepsake for each topic we study because then I can use them in our homeschool portfolios at the end of the year.
The girls like to go through some of the lapbooks we’ve completed in the past, even just for fun. This helps me know they are really absorbing everything they’ve learned, even after we’ve completed the study.
Historical Fiction Books
We also enjoyed reading a few of the recommended historical fiction books. These books were fictional stories with portions of true historical information mixed into the story.
Some of these books I read aloud to the girls as part of our morning gathering, and then discussed afterward together. Others were read independently and accompanied by study guide questions that they turned in for grading afterward.
Some of the books we read for this unit of our study included:
- Under Drake’s Flag by G.A. Henty
- Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus? by Jean Fritz
- Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling
- Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling
- Almost Home: A Story Based on the Life of the Mayflower’s Mary Chilton by Wendy Lawton
Every once in a while, the girls worked on a craft project that involved exploring in some way. One day, Moe built a replica “Santa Maria” using Legos. This project would also have been really fun to make using twigs or popsicle sticks.
This project would also have been really fun to make using twigs or popsicle sticks.
We also created our own country with a flag to represent it. This flag came in handy when we went on our family treasure hunt, which I’ll talk more about soon. While they created their flag, I set out to create a map for the big exploration.
Basically, I pulled up a google map of our neighborhood and printed it onto a piece of tan construction paper (if I could do it again, I would try an old brown paper bag instead). Then, I chose a spot where I knew we would be able to find some find some fun “treasures”, and marked the spot with an “X”.
To give our treasure map a more authentic feel, I crumpled and uncrumpled the map multiple times so make it look more dated. Finally, I chose a spot where I knew we would be able to find some find some fun “treasures”, and marked the spot with an “X”.
Here are a few more explorer craft ideas I found on Pinterest:
- Mixed Media Columbus Day Craft by I Heart Crafty Things
- Free Printable Explorer Journal by Fleece Fun
- Viking Shield (Upcycled History Craft) by Relentlessly Fun Deceptively Educational
Treasure Hunts and Exploring “New” Places
Our family loves to go geocaching, so I chose a location that I knew was a good geocaching spot with fun trinkets to collect (I found the cache myself first and then marked that location on our map).
To reward the girls for a job well done, we decided to go on a family treasure hunt, explorer style! We packed up our compass and DIY treasure maps then set out on our exploration! When we discovered our treasure, we erected our flag in the newly discovered location in the name of Roberts Academy.
Unfortunately, my phone died during our exploration, so I do not have photo’s to share from our adventure (I’m kicking myself for this). We had a great time exploring together and it was the perfect activity to top off the unit!
Have you studied the explorers in your homeschool yet? If so, what kind of activities or books did you use in your lessons?
Comment below to share your own adventures with us.
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