American History for Ex-pats

American history isn’t usually taught in international elementary schools. It is, however, a future requirement for Americans hoping to attend an American college or university. If your child isn’t learning American history at school, it is easy to fill the gaps with books, games, and activities until your child can take a traditional class.

American History Books for Parents

  • Lies My Teacher Taught Me, Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James Loewen
  • A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present, Howard Zinn
  • A History of the American People, Paul Johnson

American History Books for Kids

  • Children’s Encyclopedia of American History, David C. King
  • The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History, Jennifer Armstrong and Roger Roth
  • A Young People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn

Family Activities

  1. Timeline. Using butcher paper, make a comprehensive timeline of American history. Work together to decide which events are the most important and include them in the timeline. Illustrate together!
  2. History Tour. If possible, take a school holiday and devote it to history. Work together to plan a series of stops at battlefields, museums, and American history sites. If travel isn’t possible, do an online tour and vist museums and places of interest online.
  3. A Day in the Past. Pick a favorite time period and try to spend a day living the way it was then. For instance, if you pick colonial times, try to go without electricity, walk to your activities, and make candles at home. If you choose the sixties, create costumes, dance to music from the time period, and talk about “current” events of the time.
  4. Interview a Grandparent. Learn about major events during the lifetime of a grandparent. Then, ask them what they remember. Come up with a list of 20 questions that directly relate to specific events and record the interview if possible.
  5. American History Movie Night. Make a list of several kid friendly movies that teach about American history and then watch them as a family. Talk about how times have changed since the events depicted in the movies. Try to do this once a month!
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