Before Columbus and Christopher Columbus Homeschool Resources

Before Columbus and Christopher Columbus Homeschool Resources

American History years prehistory-1492 (excluding Native American History, which I hope to cover elsewhere)

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Sonlight Selection: 

American History Easy Make and Learn Books:

  • In Interactive 3D Maps, the following projects apply: 
    • The First People Arrive in America Map; (shows the path people took when crossing the Bering Straight, along with some of the animals along the trail
    • Vikings Discover America Map; shows the map of the Viking Journey with sod huts to represent the final landing place
    • Columbus Lands in America; shows the map Columbus took across the ocean, 

Arts and Crafts: 

Books: Asterisks indicate my personal favorites

Note: I have given each book a category for age that I think they will most appeal to.  Many of these books will appeal to multiple age groups, so feel free to adjust as needed.

Thousands of years ago 

  • The Discovery of the Americas; starts with the land bridge in Siberia/Alaska, the oldest date mentioned in 20,000 years ago, and goes through the many possible discoveries of America before and after Columbus. Longer picture book. Level 6.3. Older Students


  • Brendan the Navigator fun look at the life of an Irish saint who may have discovered America long before Columbus or the Vikings, Jean Fritz, level 810 Lexile. Younger and Middle Students. 



  • Around the World in a Hundred Years Nonfiction look at navigators and explorers from Prince Henry the Navigator to Magellan.  Also includes Bartholomew Diaz, Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, John Cabot, Amerigo Vespucci, Juan Ponce de Leon, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa. By Jean Fritz, Level 6.8. Middle to Older Students. 
  • Explor-a-Maze, Solve mazes while learning about different world explorers. Middle Students.


  • *The Poet King of Tezcoco Longer picture book for older children about a Mexican king. Level 6.5 Middle to Older Students. 

Younger Students: (I think these will appeal to students under age 8)

Younger to Middle Students: (I think these will appeal to children from 5-12)

Middle Students: (I think these will appeal most to children from 8-12)

  • *1492 Year of Columbus A shorter version of the book The World of Columbus and Sons, by the same author, Genevieve Foster, this book is better suited to middle students. It looks at the famous people and places around the world in 1492, as well as a biography of Columbus. Middle students.
  • Who Was Christopher Columbus (Who Was series) Nonfiction easy to read biography. Level 4.2. Middle Students.
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Sail with Christopher Columbus Medium, Graphic Novel or comic style, Nonfiction, has some info about ways one could become injured or die, level 4.4. Middle students.

Middle to Older Students

  • Encounter, A look at Columbus from the viewpoint of the Native Americans he encountered. Note: Some images might scare young children.  Picture book. Level 4.2. Middle to Older Students. 
  • *If You Were There in 1492 Long, for older children, content information about life across Europe in 1492, including some discussion of how the Spanish treated the Moors, Jews, and the Spanish Inquisition, but not too detailed, level 6.3. Middle to Older Students. 
  • *Where do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Colombus? Long, Nonfiction, Jean Fritz, makes a great read-aloud or reader, level 5.8. Middle to Older Students. 

Older Students

  • *Admiral and the Deck Boy Long, Historical Fiction, Reader/Read-Aoud, similar to Pedro’s Journal, but longer and more storyline, but the child is named Carlos instead of Pedro. Older Students. 
  • Christopher Columbus: Across the Ocean Sea by the same author as many of Sonlight’s missionary stories. Older Students. 
  • *The World of Columbus and Sons Measured by the lifetime of Columbus and his sons, this book spans 1451-1539. With Columbus as the central figure of this narrative, readers will also learn the fascinating stories of Prince Henry the Navigator, Ivan III of Russia, Gutenberg, Queen Isabella, Leonardo da Vinci, Mohammed II, the African ruler Nomi Mansa, Martin Luther, Erasmus, Albrecht Dürer, Copernicus, Michaelangelo, and many others. Readers will learn of the religious, cultural, and scientific changes that ushered in a new age of exploration and discovery. Older students.

Coloring Pages: 


Lapbooks/Notebooking Pages/Worksheets: 

Movies (Longer than 30 minutes) (Also see Videos)

Museums/Field Trips (including virtual): 




Videos (1-30 minutes): 

Rent Christopher Columbus: An Animated Classic for $3.99 from Amazon video (full 1 hour 32 minutes). It also looks to be free here.

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