When we began our homeschool history investigation of WWII, I realised it was a HUGE subject - we dabbled in it for months!! Here is my homeschooling guide to the subject.
We began by reading 'When hitler stole pink rabbit' by Judith Kerr. This was a lovely, gentle introduction to the concept of war and what it means for the people involved. But there are lots of other books you could substitute - see my Home School Book List. We also found the Robert Opie Scrapbook gave us a real feel for the times - read my review.
Because we don't do 'formal' work, we decided to make a display table about the war, and collected or made some items to show. You could just as easily make a display board. We started off with some posters - the Story of World War II
coloring book was really useful for this.
We started our homeschooling unit studies into WWII by taking a look at the major events in the War and making a timeline. Do you know what they are? Here's a clue!
1939 The start - Germany invade Poland on 1st September. Britain and France declare war on Germany on 3rd September.
1940 Germany invade and defeat Paris.
Germany begins bombing of London - the Blitz .
Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Britain.
Forces evacuated from Dunkirk.
1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbour and the US enters the war.
1942 Battle of Midway - American victory in the Pacific.
1943 Stalingrad surrender - Germany's first major defeat.
1944 D-day invasion of Normandy.
1945 Automic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrenders.
There are quite a few video clips and radio recordings available for WWII. Some good places to search are :
History.com. This link will take you to a D-Day film (after the adverts). Use the search button to find other WWII videos.
BBC History. Audio clips library. We used this quite a lot to listen to the 'sounds' of the war.
After covering an over-view of the War, we talked about the soldiers, and bravery. We then made some medals which we diplayed.
Time for some fun in our homeschooling unit studies! A look at technology.
Codes We discussed how technology had improved because of the war - and how codes and code breaking were an important factor. We had a go at learning morse code.
Airplanes - Because air raids were so frequent in the UK, people learned to recognise the type of airplane flying overhead just by the engine noise. Find some model planes and add them to your display table. A useful coloring book was Airplanes of the Second World War
Radio Most people would get their information about the war from the radio. We listened to some radio broadcasts (link above). This would be a great time to make a radio program - or even to make a radio itself.
Spies - We delved into the world of spies by making invisible ink and putting together a survival kit.
More Homeschooling Unit Studies Ideas for World War II
You could add a map to your display and mark the major countries involved. We also added famous people to our map including ;
President Franklin Roosevelt
General Dwight Eisenhower
Genreral George Patton
Charles De Gaulle
We then began to look at the war from a HomeFront point of view. Here is a homeschooling guide -
Rationing - we looked at what was rationed and spent a day on rations for our cooking project. You will find this site useful to find out more about rationing.
Evacuees - in the UK, many children were evacuated from London to the country because of the Blitz. The BBC have some example evacuee letters. Several of the books on my Home School Book List are on this subject.
The Blitz - London came under constant attack from air raids. During this time everyone was issued with gas masks to wear. We made mask-boxes and the children were instructed to carry them at all times. I then set of an air-raid siren at intervals during the day and they had to hurry to the air-raid shelter (the kitchen table!!). There is a siren on the audio clips link near the top of the page.
Day to Day Life We enjoyed finding out about life in general during this period. One of the things we looked at was the type of toys children would play with at this time. The most successful (and fun) was a simple button toy! We made a video to show you how to make one.
We also played a board game called RISK (a war game)
Home School Success
Of course, no study about World War II would be complete without looking at remembrance and peace. We visited a war memorial for a field trip.
We finished our homeschooling unit studies by making paper peace cranes to add to our display table. You can read about Sadako Sasaki and how she made 100 peace cranes. If you would like to make your own you will find instructions here.
I hope you enjoy my homeschooling unit studies on World War II - I would love to hear how you got on. If you have a comment, idea or resource to add to this page please contact me.
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