Look at the Birds of the Air - both side




Which History?

Choosing what History we're going to teach is a morally significant choice. We live in a country with a colonial past and a growing demand for a much wider collection of histories to be shared.

My aim for our History curriculum was to balance a truthful, ethical, global curriculum with one that was:

  1. feasible to teach

  2. engaging for my young kids

  3. not impossible for me to prepare in the time I have

Before I share our curriculum, I want to share a podcast called Dear Dope White Mum. It's a long, semi-spontaneous conversation among five Mums from Dope Black Mums and really drives home the importance of teaching Black British History to children.

As the kids get older, we've attempted to get a more global and diverse perspective by reviewing the same historic events and time periods through the lens of curriculums aimed at children of other ethnicities, by historians of different ethnicities. Personally, I've learnt of huge gaps in my own knowledge that I didn't know existed. It's also fun to compare which bits of history each curriculum omits, augments and changes. 

From age 5-ish onwards we start by using our base curriculum, Story of the World, Susan Wise Bauer. It's a curriculum written by a white, American, home-educating Mum who wanted a global perspective. It's coverage is pretty impressive. You'll get all your basic, classic History for kids including The Songhai Empire, Korean Wars, Henry VIII, Suez Canal, East India Company, Caesar, Gilgamesh etc. We fit our other resources around this framework.

So, here's our curriculum!:

Using Story of the World:

Volume I

Story of the World, Vol. I with supplementary materials for Early Human History, Ancient African, Indian and South American empires, British myths, trips and further reading

Volume II

Story of the World, Vol. II with supplementary materials for Early African and Indian empires, the early slave trade including African resistance and the Maroons, British folk History, trips and further reading

Volume III

Story of the World, Vol. III with supplementary materials for Black History and Colonial History, British folklore, extra reading and ideas.

Volume IV

Story of the World, Vol. IV with supplementary materials for Black British History, Colonial and Post-Colonial History, British History, extra reading and ideas.

Laying a Foundation

What I do with the kids before they are ready for Story of the World

Black History Resources

My favourite Black History books and trips all in one place


Activities to help kids remember History!


Laying a Foundation

Age 0-5, or 0 until comfortably reading and can understand the idea of a day, week, month, year and many years.

  • Lots of trips! Talk about the places we're going to and

their History.

  • From age 2, start looking through the book A Street

Through Time, Anne Millard. It's a book showing huge,

beautiful scenes of the same river through lots of

different periods of British History, from Stone Age to

now. When you're out and about, you can slot new

historical information into the scene from the book.

E.g. 'this was built during the "First Farmers" bit!'

  • Make timelines of artwork (we collect art postcards) and slot historical information into the right place in the art timeline.

  • Get the magnetic kings and queens set from English Heritage and put it on the fridge. We can now refer to time periods we encounter by which King or Queen was ruling in England at the time.

  • In Chinese we talk about time periods differently, by Chinese Dynasty such as "Qing Dynasty" rather than "Victorian" or "Tudor". The kids start to appreciate that time is represented differently by different people groups. The also get a sense that a Chinese dynasty lasts significantly longer than a British historic period, and most known British history fits into what are considered to be the last handful of Chinese dynasties.

  • Do continent map puzzles and start to introduce some of the different histories of each continent. We often accompany this by music, dance and food from that place. Getting a good idea of where countries are early gives a really good perspective on why different countries are attacking each other, able to trade or vulnerable. We've found Montessori map puzzles really useful for reinforcing where places are in each continent. Standard Montessori map puzzles are extortionately expensive but there are lots of second hand and imitation versions.

From Age 5, or when they can comfortably read, write and appreciate that 100 years is a lot longer than 1 year or 1 day, we start using the The Story of the World curriculum.


Starting Story of the World


VOLUME 1: The Story of the World

Early Humans to the Last Roman Emperor

We start using our "pizza base" curriculum, The Story of the World, Susan Wise Bauer. This is your standard History textbook, written by an American, liberal-minded white American home-educating Mum in 2001. The beauty of this curriculum is that it is written in such a way that lots of classic history sticks in your head.

Don't skimp on getting the whole set of textbook, activity book and CD. The story book is good, but the Activity Book is what makes my eldest love it and remember each historical period. Playing the CD in the car really helps the kids recall long-term what they've learnt and in which order (it's loosely chronological). Each chapter gets a picture to colour, a map to add details and a choice of hands-on activities such as cooking, role play, crafts etc., comprehension questions, review cards and so on. It's superbly designed to make the information stick. I let the children choose which craft activity.


Activity Book


Supplementing Missing History:

The range of this book is pretty impressive. You'll get tiny snapshots of most continents on Earth and deep-dives into the Empires that are most familiar to us.

Here is what I add to Volume 1 to fill in some of its more major gaps:

(Most of these books we will use again in later volumes!) 

Human Pre-History

  • The Story of the World, Chapter 1 is 'The First Nomads'. Clearly they are not the first nomads. They are nomads at the point in history where some of the early farmers start to appear.

DK: Everything I Need To Know For School, KS1. includes the book "Early People". This goes from hominims 7 million years ago to Egyptian Mummies 5,000 years ago. This book is one of a bundle of 30 which we use a lot, you can sometimes get for £15. The original, extended version of this book is Early People, DK (Eye Wonder). It goes further into early towns and agriculture.

  • The History of India for Children, Vol. 1 covers prehistory using India as a base for discussion. Daughter found exciting.

The Ancient African Kingdoms of Ta-Seti (Nubia), Kush and Ethiopia, plus seeing Egypt as part of Africa

  • Black History Matters, Robin Walker, pp. 4-18 (up to the end of the section 'Ghana'covers:

    • Why Black History matters including Stephen Lawrence, Trayvon Martin and the importance of History.
    • The Kingdom of Ta-Seti, which predates Egypt by 200-300 years, the World's first discovered dynasty. World's oldest writing. Dating disagreements.
    • Ancient Egypt. 'The North African Invasions' section includes evidence on why Ancient Egypt (Kemet) can be seen as African rather than Arabic. Evidence is based on Arabian historians commenting on social hierarchies of race when they arrived and the dates of major migrations after the fall of the Egyptian Empire. 
    • The Kingdom of Kush, which absorbed Nubia
    • Ancient Ethiopia
    • Ghana (very brief)​​

Some ideas for discussion - comparison questions Black History Matters and Story of the World:

  • 1. What ethnicity does each History see Egypt as? [BHM sees Egypt as African and calls it 'Kemet', a word used by many historians placing Egypt in Africa. He acknowledges the political aims of his work at the start of the book. SotW doesn't state the ethnicity of Egypt but the implication is that she considers Egypt as Arabic. Why? After it tells us how the Nubians were conquered by Egypt and ruled by them for 700 years, it describes how, within the Egyptian system, some Nubians climbed the Egyptian hierarchy like Queen Tiye. It completes this section about successful Nubians by saying "When we read about the Egyptians, we are also reading about the greatness of Africa", i.e. Egypt itself is not the greatness of Africa.]

    • Which do you think is true? Why? Feel free to do some of your own research! Make a note of the ethnicity of the Historian and the date of research as you look.

    • Why do you think people care so much about this issue?

    • Do you think some History has been suppressed for a reason? Why?

    • Do you think Black people might be treated differently now or have been treated differently in the past if it was widely accepted that these ancient empires existed?

    • Do you think you should or shouldn't declare political intentions at the beginning of a book? Declare ethnic background? [For comparison, in Sociology this is standard practice].

  • 2. Which non-Egyptian African Empires are included? [BHM includes The Nubian Kingdom Ta-Seti, The Kingdom of Kush which absorbed Ta-Seti, and Ancient Ethiopia. SotW includes includes Nubia but doesn't specify that it was an empire, only that it had riches to sell. Ta-Seti is a major omission because it is an empire predating Egypt.]

    • Which Kingdoms would you include?Why?

  • If you have a History timeline book, see which kingdoms are included. What dates are they? If the history is split into regions, does Egypt come under 'Africa' or 'The Middle East'? Can you work out where the book came from or who the author was?​​

  • For more confident budding historians, try ​If You Want to Learn Early African History, START HERE, Robin Walker, a layman adult's guide to Early African history. Pp. 25-36 (end of first paragraph) are relevant for Volume I. 

From later in the same book, pp. 69-70 we get a quote about the importance of knowing whether there were civilizations pre-slavery:

". . . migrants could only find sanctuary away from the slave raiders in the caves, the hills and so on. Consequently the culture of these migrants degenerated to the level of cave culture or hill culture. When Europeans colonised Africa over a hundred years ago, they found a lot of people living as naked savages and they were able to use that to justify why they colonised Africa. They claimed to be bringing civilisation. However naked savages haven't always been naked savages. They only became naked savages once mass enslavement began and their culture degenerated because of it."

  • Just after we were looking at this, my daughter picked up Babar the Elephant to read to her brother. Babar's Mum is killed by colonial hunters. He goes to find the killers, ends up in Paris and is befriended by an old Parisian lady who gives him clothes and generally civilizes him. He then goes back to his country and becomes King, fighting off a rival group of rhinos and building a civilized settlement. Babar's life is greatly improved by becoming French. It was a really good way to show how someone could claim they were "helping" a poor thing from Africa if they didn't know they already had ancient and recent literate empires.

  • African Empires, Dan Lyndon. I haven't been able to get hold of this yet, but I have others in the series (6 books) and have high expectations of this one.

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, is stronger on Volume 2 and 3 material. If you are going to use it for Volume 1 as well, the relevant chapters are 1, 5 and 6.

  • Not yet released on the formal market but with very promising reviews: In Africa with Avi and Kumbi, by Mum and Professor of History from South Africa Nomalanga Mkhize covers Africa from Ancient times to Independence.

Ancient Indian History

  • The History of India for Children, Vol. 1. Chapters 1-9 correspond with Story of the World, Vol. 1. I love this 2-part series!

The History of India for Children, Vol. 1 is written by BBC India Mastermind Celebrity Archana Garodia Gupta and Shruti Garodia. It's dense but fun and kinda cool. You'll get familiar territory such as the Harappan Civilization, Buddha, Persians, Medes, Greeks, Aryans and the Mauryan Empire; but there's plenty that's completely new. Rome is fairly irrelevant, data is much more scientific and the emphasis is wildly different. Fun and achievable activities for each chapter.

I recommend waiting until you've finished Volume 1 before attempting this because the skills you learn in Volume 1 enable you to tackle chapters that are 22 pages rather than 2 pages long. 

The Norte Chico of Peru

  • Before Chapter 5, we do an internet project on the Norte Chico of Peru, especially the City of Caral. This is mentioned in History Year By Year, DK.

Early Chinese Dynasties

  • Chapters 10 and 32, we use All About China as our English language book to supplement Chinese history. It has a useful 8-page chronology of the Chinese Dynasties. 


Early British History plus Legends

  • Britannia: Great Stories From British History is a barn-storming compendium of all the most juicy stories British people believed really were factual History for centuries. Each story includes a little box with more accurate historical context. The most relevant stories for Volume1 are:

  1. The Tin Islands (Story of the World ch. 15)

  2. "I Came, I Saw, I Conquered" (Story of the World ch. 35)

  3. Boudicca the Firebrand (Story of the World ch. 40)

  4. Running Towards Paradise (Story of the World ch. 39)

  5. The Hallelujah Victory (Story of the World ch. 40)

Key questions when looking at conflicting histories:

  1. What does this Historian think is most important for children to know?

  2. Are there any topics from The Story of the World that are ignored altogether? And vice versa?

  3. Do these histories agree on what happened in each period? Spot the difference!

One of the main aims is to see that a whole country, region or diaspora might have a different "standard" history that is completely different to my own. I can't cover everything, but the repetition of the same historical period from different angles provides historical depth, humility and empathy. It also makes that period harder to forget!

The end of this section (Volume 1) is how far I've got with my eldest child, my guinea pig.

Supplementary Resources

Indian History Curriculum
British Folk History
Major Rivers. Useful for early civilizations
Celtic Folk Tales
110-page Early African History for Parents
Brief Black History Overview
African Empires (Book 1 of 6, Black History)
Chronological, image-rich guide
30-book set. Includes Early Humans and Ancient Romans. Only get if you'll use the other books too.
The Odyssey Re-telling, eldest could enjoy aged 6
Early Black History lesson plans for 11-14 year olds
Easy, clear Ancient Egyptian book
Simple introduction to the Celts
Includes Chinese Dynasty Summary, plus many China-themed activities
Mythological Worlds from 12 cultures including Inc. Egyptian, Yoruba, Greek, Polynesian, Celtic etc.
Look what happened to The Selfless Hare of the Jakarta Tales when she reached China!

Top 10 Child-Friendly Sites to Visit

Volume 1: Early Human History to the Fall of the Roman Empire

Some ideas! Your local area will probably have lots of hidden gems too!

Britain has loads of Roman and Iron Age sites, many of which are looked after by English Heritage or National Trust. Even our local council offices have a small display of Roman finds from an archaeological excavation of a nearby car park!

The British Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, The Bristol Museum, The Oriental Museum (Durham) and the Pitts Rivers Museum are examples of British museums packed with ancient artefacts pillaged from across the globe. The British Museum has important articles from every one of the time periods mentioned in The Story of the World. It is currently refusing to engage in formal requests to return important artefacts from Senegal, The Ivory Coast and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

From a child-friendly-exhibit perspective, my favourite of the above museums is The Bristol Museum.


Cheddar Gorge and Caves


Historically significant caves where The Cheddar Man was found, the UK's oldest complete human skeleton. DNA suggests he most likely had black skin with blue eyes. The UK's biggest gorge, caves with stalactites, incredible scenery, vista tower and Museum of Prehistory.


The Roman Baths


Great half-day out. Preserved Roman bathing complex with water systems, heating systems and pools still visible. Costumed re-enactors, museum walk-throughs from different people's perspectives. Walk there through central Bath for additional history.


Hadrian's Wall, Housetead Fort

Northumberland National Park

Stone remains of a Roman fort along Hadrian's wall, including the toilet block. Includes a museum with collection of Roman artefacts. The view from the fort, put there to give a good vantage point, provides an impressive view.


Fishbourne Roman Palace 

Chichester, Sussex

Britain's largest residential Roman building discovered to date. Much of the floor including the mosaics and heating systems are in tact along with enough evidence to help recreate the gardens. Includes museum and some recreated scenes.


Butser Ancient Farm


Site of experimental archaeology - where people build houses in slightly different ways and see what works so they can guess how people of the past might have done it. Open air museum of Prehistoric, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon houses. 


Castell Henlys


Iron Age village reconstructed on top of real Iron Age village site. A ring of houses which you can enter. Best to go on event days.


Maiden Castle

Dorchester, Dorset

One of the largest and most complex Iron Age hill forts in Europe. 1st century BC. The size of 50 football pitches. Lots of climbing and running!


Stone Henge


Can be crowded. A famous, impressive array of stones that line up with the Sun's annual path. Has roundhouses, although not always open. Exhibition on site. Bus shuttle to stones. Expensive without English Heritage membership.


Carn Euny, Ancient Village

Penzance, Cornwall

Stone remains of a large Iron Age village and fogou, an underground drystone complex. Reached by a mile walk along a pretty woodland path from a small car park. Chysauster is a similar site, also nearby in Penzance.


Uffington Castle

Uffington, Oxfordshire

Large Iron Age hill fort, white horse carved into the hill, "Dragon Hill" associated with St. George.

VOLUME 2: The Story of the World

Fall of Rome to Death of Elizabeth I 1603

We are currently in the middle of this book with my 8 and 5 year old, so this is a work in progress!

Below are the three main textbooks for Volume 2. I recommend getting all three. The textbook gives the content. The activity book really helps our kids remember what they've learnt and look forward to learning. When we play the audiobook in the car on long trips it helps our kids recall what they've forgotten, cement the approximate chronology of what they've learnt and the younger kids learn by osmosis too.




Activity Book

Supplementing Missing History:

Here is what I plan to tuck into Volume 2. Obviously we can't cover everything, but we've done out best to broaden our horizons. Book links included at the bottom:


  • Not included in The Story of the World because it is so "violent". Given the gruesome nature of most historically significant events, seems a strange argument to me. Watch this space for materials!

Ancient African Empires

  • Black History Matters p.13-27 (brief descriptions)

  • African Empires, Dan Lyndon. Part of a 6-part series on Black History.

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, Lesson 2 to Lesson 10. Aimed 11-14 years. These are lesson plans rather than pretty books to read together.

Early Trans-Atlantic Slavery

  • Black History Matters p.28-33

  • Africa and the Slave Trade, Dan Lyndon

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, Lesson 11.

African Resistance to Trans-Atlantic Slavery

  • Resistance and Abolition, p. 10-13, 20-21

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, Lesson 12.

Sir Francis Drake and the Maroons

  • The Maroons were slaves who escaped, claimed their freedom and successfully fought of Western attack. There were many Maroon communities throughout the Trans-Atlantic period and beyond.​

Jamaican Maroons helped Sir Francis Drake to fight off the Spanish. Queen Elizabeth I presented Sir Francis Drake with a medallion to commemorate the alliance. Britain then captured Jamaica in 1655. The Maroons in Jamaica of the Blue Mountains resisted long into the 1700s. Their settlement, "Nanny Town", was names after a particularly successful, female leader, Nanny. Resistance and Abolition, p. 20-21

Indian History

  • The History of India for Children, Volume I, chapter 10 to the end.​

  • The History of India for Children, Volume II, chapters 1 and 2.

    • Akbar and Elizabeth I comparison p. 40

Early British History plus Legends

  • Britannia: Great Stories From British History p. 32-165. Famous stories as traditionally told from British History, complete with more historically accurate context.


  • Note the place names across the World with British, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese names. Discuss how those names came about.

Key questions when looking at conflicting histories:

  1. What does this Historian think is most important for children to know?

  2. Are there any topics from The Story of the World that are ignored altogether? And vice versa?

  3. Do these histories agree on what happened in each period? Spot the difference!

Volume II Supplementary Resources

Mythological Worlds from 12 cultures including Inc. Aztec, Yoruba, Norse, Hindu etc.
Black History Series, Book 1 of 6
British Folk History
Indian History Curriculum Vol. 1
Early Black History lesson plans for 11-14 year olds
Includes 8-Page Chinese Dynasty Guide
History, recipes, crafts
Indian History Curriculum Vol. 2
Brief Black History Overview
Black History Series, Book 2 of 6
Black History Series, Book 3 of 6
Chronological, image-rich guide
30-book set. Includes Vikings and Castles/Knights. Only get if you'll use the other books too.
Viking Beliefs
Early African History, Rapid Guide for Parents
Quentin Blake illustrated Sinbad the Sailor!
History, recipes, crafts

Child-Friendly History Trips, Volume 2!

For non-British History of this period, The British Museum has a staggering array of artefacts including the World's largest collection of Benin Bronzes, African treasures from the 9th century and items from throughout its colonies. Other similar museums include Bristol Museum and the Ashmolean Museum. The British Museum is currently refusing the engage with the formal requests of the Ivory Coast, Senegal and the DRC to bring back the treasures to their homelands.


Long Melford, Suffolk

Home of "living History". Best on event days when many families come to re-enact. When we went, we made clay beads for the kiln, kneaded dough, wrote with authentic quill and ink, picked a "tussy mussy" of herbs from the garden, ate heritage apples, played a hurdy-gurdy, sang medieval music, attempted basket-weaving, did Tudor-style sums in the school room and more.


Tintagel Castle

Tintagel, Cornwall

Breath-taking island castle (13th century) accessed by new bridge. Tintagel Beach, Merlin's cave, early medieval settlement (5th century onwards). The castle of the Legend of King Arthur.


Cambridge Shakespeare Festival


Watch outdoor Shakespeare performances in the grounds of Cambridge University gardens during the annual Summer Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. Bring a picnic, cushions and enjoy! Alternatively, watch performances at the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare died 1616.


Arundel Castle

Arundel, West Sussex

Sir Francis Drake's ship that circumnavigated the World. You can lie in the officer's bed. Does group educational sleepovers!


Jorvik Viking Centre


A bit like a theme-park ride where you get carted around a mock-up of Viking York. Smells included. York was a Viking multicultural hub so they've recently broadened the languages you hear to Old English, Old Norse and Ancient Arabic. Second section lets you look at artefacts.


Hampton Court

East Molesey, Surrey

Built in 1515, housed many royals, a favourite residence of Henry VIII. Great, hands-on kitchens, maze, several days worth of exploration.

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West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village 

West Stow, Suffolk

Eight Anglo-Saxon houses in a village, experimenting with designs to see which ones are most likely. Museum, grounds and live animals. Re-enactments. Check dates to see when you can enter the houses.

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Farmland Museum & Denny Abbey

Waterbeach, Cambridge

Medieval Abbey with children's guides. The same site includes a 1940's farmworker's cottage and village shop, Nun's refectory, Fenman's hut and lots of other hands-on exhibits.


Portchester Castle


UK's best preserved "Saxon Shore" fort. Large, impressive, sits on the sea. Additionally, in the 18th century, it held French PoWs including 2,000 recently freed African-Caribbean PoWs who had fought for the French. The terms of surrender insisted they were transported as prisoners of war, not slaves. There is an exhibition on this subject.



The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland

Central to the story of Christianity in the UK. Priory, castle, beaches, tide-dependant access along a causeway, village. Famously attacked by Vikings.


The Golden Hinde


Sir Francis Drake's ship that circumnavigated the World. You can lie in the officer's bed. Does educational group sleepovers!


Weald and Downland Museum


1,000 years of history to be explored open-air. They've taken buildings from a range of periods, moved them to the site, furnished them and allowed us inside. Over 40 outdoor exhibits with demonstrations of industries.


VOLUME 3: The Story of the World

From 1600-1850

Below are the three main textbooks for Volume 3. As before, I recommend getting all three. The textbook gives the content. The activity book really helps our kids remember what they've learnt and look forward to learning. When we play the audiobook in the car on long trips it helps our kids recall what they've forgotten and cement the approximate chronology of what they've learnt. The younger kids learn by osmosis too.



Activity Book

Supplementing Missing History:

Here is what I plan to tuck into Volume 3. It mostly uses the same materials I've used for the previous 2 volumes. Obviously we can't cover everything, but we've done our best to broaden the horizons of The Story of the World. Book links included at the bottom:

Trans-Atlantic Slavery 1600-1850

  • Black History Matters p.28-33

  • Africa and the Slave Trade, Dan Lyndon

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, Lesson 11-15.

  • Further reading: Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe becomes briefly enslaved by Moors, escapes on a Portuguese ship, joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa but is then shipwrecked. Crusoe and Friday kill most of the natives. At the end, he protects his newly inherited wealth from a family estate in Brazil by going overland.

  • The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, one of the first widely read slave accounts with strong impact on the abolitionist movement. Many contemporary sources exist trying to discredit the work. Contains graphic torture and rape. 

This period of history is particularly gruesome and emotional. Read resources before showing your child.

African Resistance to Trans-Atlantic Slavery 1600-1850

  • Resistance and Abolition, Dan Lyndon, p. 8-29. (This book is a personal favourite).

  • Black History Matters p. 36-37.

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, Lesson 12.

White Abolitionists, including the Key Role of Women

  • Resistance and Abolition, Dan Lyndon, p. 24-25, 30-37.

Black Personalities in Britain and Atlantic Age Black Literature and Science

  • 19 Lessons in Black History, Robin Walker, Lesson 16, 18.

  • Civil Rights and Equality, Dan Lyndon, p. 10-11 (part 4 of 6 books, mostly used in Story of the World, Vol. 4)

India: The Mughal Empire and Indian Colonial History

  • The History of India for Children, Volume II, chapters 3-9.​

Histories of the Indigenous Peoples of North, Central and South America

  • A Kid's Guide to Native American History

  • A Kid's Guide to Latino History


  • All About China

British Histories

  • Britannia, 100 Great Stories from British History

Key questions when looking at conflicting histories:

  1. What does this Historian think is most important for children to know?

  2. Are there any topics from The Story of the World that are ignored altogether? And vice versa?

  3. Do these histories agree on what happened in each period? Spot the difference!

Supplementary Resources

Indian History Curriculum Vol. 2
Black History Series, Book 3 of 6 (if you only get one Black History book for this period, I recommend this one)
Brief Black History Overview
Black History Series, Book 1 of 6
British Folk History
Black History Series, Book 2 of 6
Black History Series, Book 4 of 6
Chronological, image-rich guide
Latino History plus activities
Native American History plus activities
Black History Lesson Plans
Early African History, Rapid Guide for Parents
Includes 8-Page Chinese Dynasty Guide
The Children of the New Forest, pub. 1847
Contains 8-page History
Gulliver's Travels pub. 1726
Pilgrim's Progress, pub. 1684

My Top 10 History Trips, Volume 3!

For non-British History, The British Museum, Bristol Museum and The Ashmolean Museum have huge collections of treasures pillaged from around the empire.


SS Great Britain


Climb under and get inside the SS Great Britain, even climb the rigging! You can attempt to squeeze into the beds, mop the floors, put on costumes in the museums, and see mock-ups of Brunel's working spaces. One of the most impressive museums we've seen.


Thackray Medical Museum


A family favourite. You start by picking a character and following them through a mock-up of 1842 slum streets. You then get their money and attempt to cure them and see if they survive. Lots of historical and scientific hands-on exhibitions, e.g. walk through the digestive system. Fantastic way to spend 3 hours.


Portchester Castle


Britain's best-kept Saxon castle. In 1796 it held French PoWs, over 2,000 of which were Black or mixed-race. The French had recently ended slavery on St. Lucia, 1793. They surrendered to the English 1796. The terms of surrender meant the Black captives were PoWs, not slaves. 


International Slavery Museum


Britain's biggest slavery museum. Trans-Atlantic slavery, modern slavery, its consequences, racism and a space to reflect.


Buckler's Hard

New Forest, Hampshire

Open-air museum, see inside buildings of a Georgian ship-building village. Built in the 18th century as a quay for trading with St Vincent and St Lucia, its ships never reached the islands as the French took over. The village then switched to building warships, including 3 of the most famous used by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Museum focuses not on the West Indies but on Trafalgar. Child-friendly, interactive. River cruises, beautiful New Forest scenery.

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HMS Victory


Explore on board the HMS Victory, as made famous for its role in the Battle of Trafalgar.

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Usborne House

Isle of Wight

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's holiday house. Private beach which can be accessed by on-site bus. Swiss Cottage, the children's playhouse, with the kids' vegetable gardens and personal wheelbarrows. Vast house, gardens and grounds. Several days' worth of exploration.

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No. 1 Royal Crescent


No. 1 Royal Crescent is a fully furnished Regency-style museum inside No. 1 of the actual Royal Crescent. If you're in the area, the Roman Baths are well worth a visit. The walk through the centre of town, past various pump rooms and spas, makes this museum even better.


Bolsover Castle

Bolsover, Derbyshire

Play castle built over a real castle. Watch horses doing traditional cavalier dancing in the indoor Riding House. Hands-on history activities. Strong links to slave trade money.

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St Fagans 


St Fagans National Museum of History has over 40 buildings of living History. Experience a strict classroom, working bakery, chapel, ironmongers, houses etc. from a a range of time periods.

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Audley End

Saffron Walden, Essex

Vast house, service wing, stables with horses, gardens, grounds, vegetable gardens and huge greenhouse-like buildings to grow grapes. Check times for service wing living history. A Highlight is the recreated nursery.


Brighton Pavilion


A place to see the influence of India and China on the rich, including items made by Chinese craftsmen for George IV. Gallery dedicated to Indian soldiers fighting for the British during WWI whose hospital wing was in Brighton Pavilion. House including show kitchens, large grounds. Not far from Brighton Beach.




Activity Book

VOLUME 4: The Story of the World

From 1850-Present

Below are the three main textbooks for Volume 4! No, it's not really until "the present", it's until the fall of the USSR, but we can plug the gap. I couldn't find all the links for the revised edition.

Supplementing Volume IV:

This period of History is so jam-packed with material relevant to our lives it would be impossible to cover everything! Story of the World 4 already has an impressive reach, covering the Boxer Rebellion, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Suez Crisis, the Holocaust, continuing Korean conflict and lots more. As this is an American curriculum, from WWII onwards British History gets largely dropped, so we have to fill in standard British History as well as the usual gaps. Here are a few strands: 

British History post-WWII

  • Britain Since the War (Usborne History of Britain)

  • Britannia, 100 Great Stories from British History, p. 230-end

Black History

  • Civil Rights and Equality, Dan Lyndon

  • Community and Identity, Dan Lyndon

  • Black British History: Black Influence on British Culture (1948-2016), Robin Walker, 32 lessons with source work aimed at 11-14 year old

  • Why I'm No Longer Talking to Black People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge (don't be put off, she clearly spends a lot of her time patiently teaching Black History and anti-racism to white people). History section p. 1-56. For more confident readers.

Indian History

  • The History of India, Garodia Gupta and Garodia, chapters 10 to the end​

Histories of the Indigenous Peoples of North, Central and South America

  • A Kid's Guide to Native American History

  • A Kid's Guide to Latino History

How Geography impacts History

  • Prisoners of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps. Fascinating and insightful, a bit sketchy on Africa.

Great Reading Books!

  • The Little Princess, the hero who brings magic to the girls is a Sepoy, an Indian. Full of East India comment.

  • The Secret Garden, plot hinges around how damaged the white children of the British empire become when they are not brought up by parents who love them but exclusively by Indian servants who obey their every whim and do everything for them. Two spoilt brats of the Empire get shown a bit of Yorkshire tough love.

  • The Railway Children, railways!

  • The Adventures of Hucklebury Finn, read this first yourself before deciding how to approach all the racial stereotypes and the almost once-a-page use of the word "nigga" or "injun". A pro-abolitionist's fictional account of the barbaric racial realities of the Antebellum South.

  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank, Holocaust.

  • The Chosen, Chaim Potok, Jewish teenagers in New York grappling with news of the Holocaust and tensions within the community over Zionism. Action begins in 1944 and ends 1949 at the end of the Arab-Israeli War, and follows a Liberal Jewish family and Hasidic Jewish family. Fun to read, everyone appears to possess Hermione-like super-human intellect and uses their knowledge to spar with one another.

  • Black Beauty, book which inspired better treatment for horses.

  • Anne of Green Gables (Canada). My daughter spoke like Anne about the World around her for many months after reading this.

  • I Am Malala, Teen Edition 

  • No-one is Too Small to Make a Difference, Greta Thunberg

  • Wangari Maathai, The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees, Frank Prevot, picture book, but I include it here because it's really pretty, has a good History at the back and was briefly my daughter's favourite book.

  • Boy and Going Solo, Roald Dahl

  • Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (contains teen sex, rape, torture). A graphic novel and film giving an incredible insight into 1970-1980s Iran and racial prejudice in Austria.

  • Goodnight Mister Tom, includes evacuees, British Jews.

  • To Kill a Mocking Bird (flag white saviorism, spelling sic. as the term originates from the USA)

  • Small Island, Andrea Levy (contains sex scenes). A White couple from the UK and Windrush generation Black couple whose lives intertwine.

Supplementary Resources











Indian History Curriculum Vol. 2
Black History Series, Book 4 of 6
Black History Series, Book 6 of 6
Black British History 1948-2016 in 32 lessons
British Folk History
Native American History plus activities
A Little Princess
The Adventures of Hucklebury Finn
Anne of Green Gables
Post-War Britain
P. 1-56 has good History section. For older readers inc. adults!
Chronological, image-rich guide
Latino History plus activities
Includes 8-page Chinese Dynasty Guide
Contains 8-page History
The Secret Garden
The Railway Children
The Chosen,
Chaim Potok
The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
I Am Malala (Teen Edition)
Greta Thunberg speeches and writings
Black Beauty
Good Night Mister Tom
Boy and Going Solo, Roald Dahl
Persepolis (Part 1), Marjane Satrapi
To Kill a Mocking Bird
Small Island, Andrea Levy (older readers)

12 Ideas For History Trips, Volume 4!

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Blists Hill Victorian Town

Telford, Shropshire

Outdoor museum with over 40 authentic shops, cottages, etc. to explore. Swap your money for pounds, shillings and pence. Watch demonstrations of molten iron, eat Victorian fish and chips, sweets and freshly baked bread, see inside cottages, see remedies in the pharmacy.


Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

Second largest carnival in the World! Claudia Jones began the festival in 1959 (then "A Caribbean Carnival") as a response to widespread violent racial attacks.


Bletchley Park

Milton Keynes

Bletchley Park, the site of the WWII codebreakers including the World's first electronic computer, Colossus. The basis of GCHQ and key to Allied victory. Museum includes recreated scenes and interiors and lots of hands-on exhibits. 

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Down House, where Darwin lived

Downe, Kent

House with interior decorated as if Darwin were still working there. Gardens, glass house, laboratory, sandwalk, beekeeper's display and exhibitions. Try on clothes in the bedroom.


The Eden Project


A great day out. Mostly looking at plant biology, ecology and biomes. I've included it because each biome has traditional human houses within their corresponding biomes. The dwellings are mostly based on recent, pre-Western examples of traditional houses.


Chiltern Open Air Museum


Open air museum with large range of buildings and living exhibits, from an Iron Age house which you can enter to an Amersham shelter, Dig for Victory garden and 20th century cottage. Farm animals, stables and candle-making. Woodlands and orienteering. See events for re-enactments.

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Black Country Living Museum


24 acres of period shops and houses to explore. Historic characters, live demonstrations, ride a vintage bus, play old street games, Edwardian school lesson, work the colliery, see inside cottages etc.

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The Postal Museum


The Mail Rail used to carry post underground, under the streets of London. Someone cool turned this into a ride, museum, postal exhibit and post-related play centre. The highlight is a claustrophobic ride through the original tunnels. Train roof is just above adult head height. Not disability-proof. 


Churchill War Rooms


Houses the Cabinet War Rooms, the underground complex that served as the government command centre during WWII, and a museum dedicated to Winston Churchill's life.


Ryedale Folk Museum

North York Moors National Park

Large open air museum with buildings from the Iron Age to the 20th Century. Go inside fully furnished buildings, dress up and feel what's inside.


HMS Belfast


Explore all 9 decks of the HMS Belfast, used during WWII and the Korean War. Sit in the captain's chair. The picture left is taken from the Sick Bay.


East Anglia Transport Museum

Lowestoft, Suffolk

Really cute volunteer-run museum. Unlimited rides on the vintage trams and trains, dress up, see inside caravans of different periods, exhibits.

10 Activities to Stick Historical Stuff in the Brain!

1. Music

  • Listen to recordings/YouTube music from the region or period
  • After listening, make up your own version of a song
  • See a concert, festival or performance with relevant music
  • If you play an instrument, play a piece from that time or place
  • Make simple version of relevant musical instruments 

2. Dress Up!

  • Dress up as a favourite historical character from the period, or in traditional costume of the period
  • Make clothes from the period

3. Food

  • Cook food from the period. Occasionally we go all-out and attempt breakfast, lunch and dinner! Make a fire if you need to!
  • Order take-out or eat at a restaurant of that region
  • Try ingredients of the period, e.g. dates
  • Eat using appropriate eating methods, e.g. chopsticks, eating while reclining, ritual pre-meal washing, eating with fingers etc.
  • Go through a supermarket and find the relevant foods. Which countries do they come from?
  • Set up a food stall, eating establishment or sweet shop typical of the time. Make paper copies of that period's currency and sell the food to your friends!
  • Grow heritage seeds, or grow and eat fruits and vegetables of the period

4. Go on a Trip

  • Go to a local museum, historic site, exhibition centre, the region you're studying, a relevant event or play, etc.
  • Outdoor role play! Go to a suitable venue and pretend to be the historical figures you are studying. Attempt to solve their problems or act out their life events
  • Archaeological field trip. Especially good for fossils and in fields are ploughing (check fertiliser used)

5. Make a Replica

  • Make a miniature replica of studied buildings, engineering, etc. out of Lego, salt dough (cheap and fun), modelling clay, clay, playdough, etc.
  • Make relevant clothes, weapons, armour, jewellery, out of available materials, e.g. old cardboard boxes, foil, loo roll tubes, paper
  • Make large relevant structures outside from sheets, cardboard, branches, wood
  • Make and play a game of that period! Some games you might have access to already-made.
  • With permission, make rubbings of historic artefacts.
  • Make rubbings of plants relevant to the period

6. Draw or Paint a Scene

  • Use paint, pencils, water colours, oil pastels, acrylics, crayons, rubbings etc. to paint pictures of the topic. 
  • Go to historic buildings and paint them outside. Watercolours and water pencils work well for this.
  • Make giant floor art - maps, scenes, murals etc. of relevant topics

7. Make timelines

  • Make a wall-length or floor-length timeline using cut out pictures or text. Useful objects: art postcards, models of buildings, clothing items, written events, pictures of key people. Have dates clearly written along the timeline
  • Draw a timeline poster

8. Put on a Play

  • Write a play of a famous historical event. Type it up as a playscript.
  • Dress up and make scenery
  • Puppet show - hand puppets, shadow puppets, finger puppets etc. Fun to make. To make a shadow puppet show - 9 pieces of A4 paper stuck in a 3x3 cuboid with a lamp shining from behind it, stuck between 2 chairs. Cloth hangs below the paper to block the view. Make cardboard shapes stuck on lollipop sticks or straws. Sit behind the chairs and move the puppets in front of the lamp but behind the screen.

9. Creative Writing

  • Write a diary in the style of a person from that period or historic character
  • Create a menu of the period
  • Write in the style of a source you've read
  • Write a newspaper article about the historic event or arguing from a historic figure's perspective
  • Write a coded message
  • Write a song relevant to the period
  • Do an computer project on the topic using the internet for information

10. Map Work!

  • Design your own map​​ of the data 
  • Plot the key events or routes on an existing map
  • Colour code a map by what happened in each region
  • Colour in a relevant map
  • Make a treasure map! Scrunch it up and dye it in tea, roll it up and secure with a ribbon!
  • Find the regions on a globe, atlas or political map. Trace border with fingers, find neighbouring areas. Are there rivers, mountains, plains or seas that might make life easy or difficult?
  • Compare period maps with modern maps of the region. How are they different and why? Do the older maps make stuff up? Do they leave sections blank? Are there any surprises?