March is national Women in History month, a time to take a break from your normal history or social studies routine and actively focus on women’s history. Instituted in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, Women’s History Month seeks to shine the light on the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history. Why? Because, as President Raegan put it, “Women have been making these contributions since this continent was explored and settled and America won its independence. Women continue to strengthen the family and enrich our lives with intellectual gifts, creative talents, and an indomitable spirit—in business, government, volunteer activities, religious life, education, health, the military, sports, the arts, and many other areas.” So, make it a point this month to focus on these contributions with these seven great ways to celebrate women in history.
Women in History Lesson Ideas
- Focus on biographies. First, make a list of all of the things your learners are interested in, like sports, architecture, music, and even video games! Then take a trip to the library or scour the internet for biographies on women who have made large contributions to these areas of interest.
- Look into working women. If you have students who are currently working (and in high school and may be less apt to want to study women in history) why not complete a unit on women in the workplace? Studying this can be especially meaningful to girls as they seek to carve out space for themselves in the current working climate. This unit from Time will give you a great start as you dive into how women in history have impacted our economy.
- Work it into your current unit. Celebrating women in history doesn’t have to be a separate unit or feel disjointed from your current learning! Work in women in history by studying the women who contributed to; lived during and excelled in the period you’re currently studying. If you’re reading about Rome, study the roles of women in the home, marketplace, and of course Cleopatra!
- Find current role models. Recently, young women like Malala Yousafzai and Bethany Hamilton, have made amazing contributions to the world through sharing their stories, helping others, and overcoming great obstacles. What a wonderful way to teach resiliency to our young girls and boys! Complete this unit study on Malala or watch Soul Surfer and complete this study guide along with it to get a great picture of how these young women have become role models for many.
- Visit Women in History museum exhibits without leaving your home. Recently many museums have created fabulous online exhibits showcasing the talents and influences of women in history and current society. Teachinghistory.org has cataloged many of these online exhibits into a one-stop shop of rich historical study. There are even quizzes for those who want to add this to their portfolio or record keeping! Study topics of women in history from Pocahontas to Marie Curie to women’s suffrage.
- Discover the congressional contributions of women in history. The role of women in politics has been a hard fought battle rife with challenges and successes! Budding politicians will love to explore the struggles and successes of women in Congress using this primary source article from Google Arts and Culture. Make sure to analyze the primary sources alongside your student to help him, or she understands and appreciates the value of first-hand historical analysis!
- STEM successes for science lovers. Let’s face it; STEM is all the rage (and for a good reason!). We need more women in math and science fields. (Note: if you didn’t see Hidden Figures be sure to rent it when it comes out. Amazing!) Inspire your scientists by traveling through time to study the amazing discoveries and innovations of women in the laboratory and science world using one of these lessons from sciencenetlinks.com.
Studying women in history is such a valuable and important practice for us to get into as homeschooling parents. If we want our daughters to appreciate their value, and our sons to value the contributions of women, we need to teach and celebrate them! Using one of these seven great ways to celebrate women in history in your homeschool day is a great start!
How do you plan to celebrate women in history? Tell us in a comment below!