American History for Expat Kids!

American History in a Box Level IIAmerican History in a Box is a standards-based elementary course on major American History themes and concepts. With four levels for different age groups, (grades K/1, 2/3, 4/5, and 6/7) the boxes include historical fiction, non-fiction, games, puzzles, supplies, and an activity book based on the Virginia Standards of Learning and the National Common Core Standards.

This overview provides a framework for future learning for Foreign Service/expatriate children who are not in standard courses offered to students living in the U.S. More information about the boxes here.

The course is intended to be fun, easy, and student-directed as many students will complete the box while attending school or during summer.

American History in a Box is reimbursable for some  families posted abroad with the U.S. government. Email us for more information and a reimbursement approval request form for your Financial Management Officer.

Resources to use with your “American History in a Box”

Short Movies about History

U.S. History: Crash Course These short videos that take you through the major time periods in American History. This is a great way to start any history lesson. Let your child watch the video for background, then read the book in your box on that topic. Finally, complete the activity for that time period in your activity book.

Watch Know Learn You will find a variety of short videos about every topic in American history. After reading about a concept, explore this site for more information!

Video Series

This is America, Charlie Brown This series covers most major events in our history and is great fun to watch!

 Liberty’s Kids This video does a great job of teaching children about Colonial America. Then, visit for games and activities to reinforce that learning!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? This fun video series helps children learn about geography and major sights around the world. Use the atlas in your history box to pinpoint where she is!

Primary Documents  The Library of Congress shares many important documents in our history. Explore their website and check out their book lists for adults and children!

American History Music                                                                                                                  Songs for Teaching You will find many wonderful songs from all time periods in history with this website. After learning about a time period, check out some of the songs that were being sung, played, or composed!

Schoolhouse Rock Many parents will remember these catchy songs including “This is a Bill,” and “Mother Necessity!”

American History Crafts                                                                                                                         A Book in Time: Search for crafts by time period. After completing your activity for the time period you are studying, see if you can find a fun craft to do with your family!

Sharing Your Home Culture with your Expat Kids

If you are living outside of your home country, you might struggle to share holidays, stories, and the history of your country with your children. We often don’t realize how much of our culture is shared through media, daily interactions, and local attractions! If you can’t visit a museum, go to a parade, or see tributes to historical figures on the magazine rack, how do you share this information with your kids?

1.) Buy books. Think about stories you want to share with your children and have them in the house. Pull them out to read together or allow your child to read or look at the pictures whenever they like.

2.) Celebrate every holiday you can think of and make up a few new ones! take a minutes to read the “I have a Dream” speech on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or to draw a picture of Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria on Columbus Day. Having an understanding of the concept will allow your child to color in the details later.

3.) Talk about history! When you stumble into history and culture in your new country, compare it to your home country. Is there a monument to World War II? Talk about how the war affected the U.S. Is there an interesting flag flying near your home? Share the story of Betsy Ross.

4.) Share the story of your family as related to your home country. Talk about ancestors that fought in wars, overcame challenges, and participated in noteworthy events. Show how you are connected to your country and why it matters.

5.) Make the most of visits home. Visit landmarks, museums, and historical sites. You can try to cram it all in during the time you are actually in your home country!

Looking for Books to help? We suggest these options:

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Ten Questions for Kids on the Move

Moving with kids this summer? Heading to a new home, a new city, or even a new country? When faced with the chaos of a move, many times it is hard to remember to slow down, talk, share, and really listen. These questions can help you really figure out how your child is dealing with your move. It might be helpful for adults to answer these questions as well!

1.) WhScreen Shot 2014-05-02 at 9.55.32 PMat five words describe how you feel about our move?

2.) Who will you miss the most and why? How would you like to keep in touch with this person?

3.) What was your favorite place to visit here and why?

4.) What would you like to do first at our new home?

5.) What can you teach others about how to deal with a move?

6.) What is the best/worst thing about moving to a new home?

7.) Of all the things that you are learning with this move, which will be most useful when you grow up?

8.) What do you think life will be like in our new home?

9.) What would you change about our move, if you could?

10.) What one thing can we do at our new home to make you feel most comfortable there?

What questions would you add?

Good luck with those transitions!