Here’s my very elaborate plan (tongue firmly planted in cheek!) for teaching American History with the Littles (meaning Sean and Becky).
1) Get all of our picture/easy reading/read alouds appropriate for their age group. Put them all together, more or less in chronological order, on a couple of shelves in the study. When it comes time for a new read aloud, go to study shelves and pick one out.
2) Each month have a theme for crafts: August – Explorers/pirates, September-Native Americans, October -Halloween/All Saints, November – pilgrims, December – colonial Christmas crafts, January-more colonial crafts, February – pioneers, etc (haven’t planned it all the way through). Corps of Rediscovery has a lot of cool kits.
3) Have a family movie night once a week and watch lots of movies based in American History.
4) Go on lots of fieltrips: August – Outer Banks – Lost Colony of Roanoke/Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown, September – local Native American stuff, October – Mom and Dad go away for weekend?, November – Philadelphia, December – Old Town or Mt. Vernon. (Other fieldtrips I wanted to do this year but didn’t get to them: Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg; Frontier Life museum of Virginia). Also for spring – Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg and other Civil War Battlefields, panning for gold in Goldvein Va., tour the Capitol and National Archives, etc.
5) Picture study of American painters; study American music such as Stephen Foster, folk music, Negro Spirituals, patriotic songs, Ragtime music, Gershwin, musicals, Copeland, jazz
Of course this isn’t just for the littles. Most of it will spill over into the older kids study too. But they are going to also be doing pretty scheduled reading and writing in American History.