Last year I developed a curriculum element for the kids that on the surface may seem simplistic or young for my boys. However, this approach can lend itself to any age because you are choosing the books that it is based on.
We do a lot of reading of historical fiction. We also read biographies and science based history, i.e. stories about the Great earthquakes, or other natural disasters.
I decided last year that for every book we read we would study and draw or label a map for the country or area in the world that was the setting for the book. On one occasion our map inspiration came from a television program we watched together as a family. It inspired a curiosity about the area and so it was studied further and then mapped out.
We took the maps, after they had accumulated, and mounted them on matching background paper and then the kids designed a book. I made up two pages that went with each map on which the kids had to create their own illustration for the book and then answer questions specific to each book. They had to know whether the book was fiction/non-fiction, first person or other. Chelsea made good use of stickers to dress hers up, the boys drew accompanying illustrations on some pages but here is our book list from last year, as it applies to the Map Book.
The Hiding Place - Holland
The Broken Song - Russia
Chariots of Fire - England
Fire in the Hills - Italy
The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds - America- The Wagon Trail
The Earth Dragon Awakes - America - California
Ask Me No Questions - Bangladesh/New York
Anastasia - Russia
Isabel - Spain
(Television Show) - Borneo
Mary Slessor Biography - Calabar, Nigeria
No More Tears - Nigeria
This was fun and the children learned a lot more than they have in the past from working straight from a text book. I am not against text books, I just think that sometimes we get burned out on chronological facts and we need a refreshing break.
This was very effective for us. I loved the discussions that were started from the books we read. I don't think that the kids caught on to the literature lessons they were receiving in the added on pages. They are used to seeing it in the form of lists and labels.
Of course, I have not included everything in this post that went into it but if you are interested you can contact me or draw up a book list of your own and check to see how many are available to you at your Public Library.
Just an idea that you can incorporate into your home school if you so desire.