This year we just happened to be studying Christopher Columbus leading right up to Christopher Columbus Day! How very helpful for this homeschooling mama. 🙂 I thought I’d share our literature-based Christopher Columbus unit study with you with a slew of fantastic resources and activities to try yourself. You don’t have to wait until the holiday comes around again – it’s a great study any time of year!
For our history studies, we use Beautiful Feet Books as a spine, enjoying the wonderful story books and study guide to lead us through as we explore each person and event. Our Christopher Columbus unit study was based on the Early American History Primary Study Guide and the book Columbus by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire. I love how the study guide brings up great, thoughtful questions about the events around Columbus’ voyage that are honest while being appropriate for that age level (K-3).
Living Books Christopher Columbus Unit Study
With D’allaire’s book as our launching point, we dove into the fascinating history with beautiful illustrations, fun discussion questions, copywork, and more. After reading a portion the kids narrated back to me what we read. They also did some coloring from the Beautiful Feet Books printable pack as I read, and my third grader did some copywork of scripture and facts in his journal, where he also pasted his coloring pages.
Then we decided to spend a little longer on Columbus and checked out more books, mostly using our copy of TruthQuest American History for Young Students Volume 1 for resource recommendations. Here are some great resources and ideas that you can use to put together your own Christopher Columbus Unit Study!
Reading & Narration
We had a great time looking up books. I ventured into some other texts to see what they might have to offer for this and future history studies, but mostly we stuck with living books and fun resources.
- Columbus by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire – Beautiful illustrations with an engaging style and available facts that go beyond the typical children’s books
- The Value of Curiosity: The Story of Christopher Columbus – We enjoyed this cute, older book that studied the virtue of curiosity while reviewing the historical events.
- In 1492 by Jean Marzollo – Tells the story using the familiar rhyme, great for younger kids
- Follow the dream : the story of Christopher Columbus by Peter Sis – Simple text for younger kids but beautiful and detailed illustrations that the olders loved
- The Light and the Glory for Children by Peter Sis – A good overview history text that’s great as a read aloud or for a child 3rd grade and up to read and report on
Writing & Copywork
- Write a fictional story from the point of view of one of Columbus’ ship mates, incorporaing facts and quotes from the reading
- Use Columbus notebooking pages to explore the Columbus readings above
- Copy quotes from the books, from Columbus’ journals, or scripture
- I love this writing assignment idea from Adventures in Mommydom – help Columbus convince King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to fund the journey
- Use these free Columbus Day writing prompts from Free Homeschool Deals
Fun Learning Activities
- Create a timeline of Columbus’ life, illustrating and labeling major events from the story
- Print a simple map and have the kids mark locations from the book: Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, etc.
- Make a compass and study the magnetism of the Earth from Homeschool Creations
- Create Columbus’ ships with paper, straws, foil, or whatever the kids want to try and have a race or sink/float contest
- Calculate the size of the three ships Columbus led from Adventures in Mommydom
- Do a Bible study on perseverance and discuss how Columbus exercised that trait
- Do a Bible study on pride and greed and discuss Columbus’ struggle with those sins
- Create a mixed media ship craft from I Heart Crafty Things
- Make the classic hand print Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria
More Resources to Consider
- Drive Thru History: American History Series – Fun history DVD series for kids! We all enjoyed the Columbus episode.
- YWAM Heroes of History Christopher Columbus Biography (we’ll have this and will read it next year!)
- Draw Write Now Christopher Columbus – a great way to incorporate art and copywork for young kids
- The free Christopher Columbus pack here or here
- More Columbus notebooking pages from In All You Do
- Columbus printables and ideas for middle and high schoolers from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschooling Plus
- More fun Columbus activities and resources from Embark on the Journey
Looking for Living Books History Curriculum?
We have been enjoying Beautiful Feet Books so much. I love the living books approach and the fun and engaging way it teaches my kids. They ask to do history now and I love teaching it because it’s interesting and SIMPLE to teach! Find out more here.