Teaching high school gets expensive quickly between textbooks, science supplies, and activities. It helps to look for free teaching resources to supplement or even to create, say, an entire history course for our high school students.
Here are ten resources, you can use to create an amazing, free, personalized history course for your high school teenager.
This post is sponsored by the ARDA.
Free Teaching Resources for American History
The ARDA stands for Association of Religion Data Archives. On their Teaching Tools Page you’ll find a multitude of options to augment your American history course. These include a section on Investigate Your World which is designed to teach research skills. There are quick stats from many major surveys in the country, historical timelines, instructional data sets, an ARDA YouTube channel, and more!
USHistory.org offers an American History textbook for high school. This textbook is easy to read and includes a few excerpts from primary documents such as Jamestown. On the right-hand side of the page are links for further research. These links are perfect as a starting point for rabbit trails.
American history in my house includes American government. It’s simply easier to study the American government as we cover it’s development through history. This textbook, also by USHistory.org, is useful to cover the finer details of government than the history textbooks offer.
The American Yawp is a free online, collaborative textbook that’s actually aimed at the collegiate level. Each chapter is longer than the American History textbook by USHistory.org. It also includes recommended reading at the end.
Crash Course US History is a series of Youtube video lectures where John Green teaches the history of the United States in 47 episodes. If you’re looking for a non-textbook option or to supplement with videos, these episodes are definitely worth checking out.
The Library of Congress includes a page about using primary documents. This page is aimed at teachers and gives great advice for using primary documents in history lessons.
The Library of Congress also includes a page of primary source documents to use in the classroom, or homeschool for that matter. The list is alphabetical by theme rather than document. If you’re looking for a document that’s not listed on this page, use the search. The Library of Congress is a treasure trove of information.
Project Gutenburg offers older books that are no longer copyrighted. There are many biographies of famous men, and documents such as the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. The site is huge, so it helps if you know who or what you’re looking to read.
Have Fun With History offers videos and activities to make history come alive for your high school student. They also have people and event timelines, games, challenges, and quizzes to make history entertaining.
Watch, Know, Learn is a free educational video site. It’s organized to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for videos on the Colonial era, the Revolution, or 9-11, they have these and more.
Religion Data Archive
The ARDA is a free resource through funding from the Lilly Endowment and the John Templeton Foundation. After starting as a data archive used by researches, they expanded their reach to make quality data on religion easily accessible to anyone. This makes it an amazing free teaching resource for homeschoolers.
The ARDA’s Teaching Tools Page includes resources such as the interactive Historical Timeline:
Students can explore various important events and people throughout the centuries of American religious history. The timeline is fully interactive, so students can view by different categories (people, events) or change the view type. Within each entry, there are pictures, explanatory text, and additional source links allowing students to continue their investigation. We also offer historical timelines of important Catholic and Baptist events and people. We will continue adding new timelines in the future.
Our religion dictionary contains hundreds of entries and is fully cross-referenced. Students investigating world religions, for example, could search for Islam and then follow the links to other entries in the dictionary explaining the five pillars of Islam, or the two main branches.
And even ARDA Lesson Plans:
The ARDA Lesson Plans integrate content from the ARDA and other sources into teachable units. Each lesson has specific learning objectives, relevant readings from which to choose, learning activities to utilize, and assessment tools to gauge student learning on the topic. Lesson plans contain links to the ARDA learning resources to make it easy for homeschool teachers to use the ARDA.
You’ll find all of these free teaching resources and more at the ARDA’s Teaching Tools Page. Head on over, bookmark, and browse the site. I was impressed by the wealth of information at my fingertips.