Home education topic inspiration

Home education life days out

I’m what is called a first choice home educator, having chosen to home educate when my oldest was a baby, neither have been to school. We don’t follow a curriculum as such although we do have the exploring nature with children one which is great for inspiration. 

Instead, we learn about whatever the children are interested in. I say ‘we’ and I really do mean just that, as I learn a great deal from the topics we cover too. We have discovered we learn best by picking a topic. Some prefer to keep it more open, some like to stick to a strict curriculum, but a bit of structure suits us better.

One of our favourite things to do is pick a country and research it. For example, earlier this year we picked Italy. Both were showing an interest in cooking daily and this was a great way of covering different dishes. Amongst other things, they learned how traditional passata is made, cooked bolognese, lasagna and made their own vegan Parmesan. They also learned about Pompeii and volcanos, Florence and the building of the cathedral’s dome. They learned about the statue of David and Michelangelo, the story of Romulus and Remus and about St Valentine and watched some Ferrari’s racing in formula 1. The boys especially enjoyed preparing a Valentines meal, including my oldest writing menus and explaining the three dishes to the guest he invited and making decorations such as candle holders with hearts on. If you break it into subjects, we covered art, history, geography, languages, English, maths, sport, culture and cooking. 

Children home educaton theme idea Italy Child in gallery home education Italy

I put a list together of topics for inspiration because sometimes ‘anything you want’ is too much choice! We can spend anything from a few hours to a couple of months on a topic depending on how much there is to do and the children’s engagement levels. As the Katrina Gutleben quote says “Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he is not interested, it is like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.” This sums up my children! Trying to teach them something they are not interested in is like pulling teeth. So we go through the list together and pick a topic. 

Here is my list. You could use these or use the headings as a template to write your own. Many of these overlap so for example you could cover Rio Carnival whilst learning about Brazil. You could cover the War of the Roses whilst covering England and so on. Or can be separated into smaller topics like cities. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, you can borrow books from the library and watch documentaries online.


When you learn about a country, you can research it’s history and architecture, languages, national sports and celebrations, famous people and their achievements, geographical features, food and music. You can spends weeks on one place if you like! 

Europe -

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Wales 

Asia -

China, India, Japan, Nepal, Mongolia, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand 

Africa -

Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Madagascar, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Tanzania 

North America -

Canada, Mexico, USA 

South America -

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru

Australia and Oceania -

Australia, Fiji, New Zealand

The Arctic



You can research Artists biographies, do copies of their artwork or do your own versions. Get sunflowers and do a Van Gogh, try some cubist portraits. You could also write diary entries and letters from the perspective of the artists or news articles featuring them. Write a story about the travels of a famous painting, the homes and museums it visits. 

  • Vincent Van Gogh 
  • Pablo Picasso 
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Leonardo Da Vinci 
  • Matisse
  • Monet
  • Georgia o’keeffe
  • Grandma Moses
  • Andy Warhol
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Klimt
  • Banksy
  • Kandinsky
  • Manet
  • Cezanne

History Timeline

There are so many fascinating historical periods and events to learn about so I put together a timeline. Again there is so much you can do within each of these. Looking at fashions and make costumes, role playing events, trying out day to day life, writing letters, newspaper reports. 

15000BC-2500BC - Stone Age
5000BC-2330BC - Ancient Sumer
3300BC-1500BC - Indus Valley
1766BC-1046 - Shang Dynasty
3000BC-800BC - Bronze Age
7500BC-30AD - Ancient Egypt
750BC-12BC - Celts
776BC-146BC - Ancient Greece
800BC-43AD - Iron Age
43AD-410AD - Romans
49AD-1066AD - Anglo-Saxons
570AD-75AD - Early Islamic Civilisation
400AD-1500AD - Benin
1195AD-1522AD - Aztecs
793AD-1066AD - Vikings
1066AD-1485AD - Middle Ages
1100BC-1502AD - Ancient Maya
1348AD-1349AD - The Black Death
1455AD-1487AD - The War of the Roses
1485AD-1603AD - Tudors
1492 - America discovered
1603AD-1714AD - Stuart’s
1605AD - Gunpowder plot
1666AD - Great Fire of London
1650AD-1730AD - Golden Age of Piracy
1765AD-1783AD- American Revolution
1789AD-1799AD - The French Revolution
1820AD - Discovery of Antarctica
1837AD - Victoria became Queen
1845AD-1849AD - The Great Famine
1912AD - Titanic sinks
1914AD-1918AD - World War One
1918AD - Women over 30 given the vote
1928AD - Women’s voting age lowered to equal men’s
1939AD-1945AD - World War 2
1968 - Martin Luther King Jr assassinated
1969 - Moon Landing
1990 - Nelson Mandela released from prison
1990-1994 - Apartheid Ended

Geographical Features

The easiest way to engage my children with geography is nature programmes. 

  • Oceans
  • Deserts
  • Rainforests
  • Rivers
  • Stormy weather
  • Coasts
  • Earthquakes
  • Rocks
  • Volcanoes



  • Space
  • Dinosaurs
  • Electricity
  • Human Body
  • Animals classification and groups 
  • How things work
  • Transport
  • The environment

Famous People

I love learning about amazing achievements. This is a bit of a mush mash of people but it covers a wide range of notable people. You can think outside the box with each of these we well so it doesn’t have to simply be reading a biography. For example you could film your own David Attenborough documentary in your garden, learning how to use cameras, write scripts, edit videos as well as learning about animals. You could use Mozart as a topic to learn musical terms or an instrument. 

  • David Attenborough 
  • Rosa Parks
  • Jane Goodall
  • Coco Channel 
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Grace Kelly
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Tim Peake
  • Isabella Bird
  • Walter Raleigh
  • Francis Drake
  • Captain cook
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Tani Grey Thompson
  • Michael Rosen
  • Cleopatra
  • Tutankhamon
  • Emmeline Pankhurst
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Jane Austen
  • Charles Dickens
  • The Bronte’s
  • Roald Dahl


Sport and Culture

If your child has a particular interest in sports or the arts, you can use that enthusiasm to engage them in other useful skills. Get them to write a review of a play or opera. Put a football match on and the sound on mute and get them to do the commentary. Ask them to write a letter to a alien who’s just arrived on earth to explain how to play Tennis. 

  • Football 
  • Formula 1 
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Surfing
  • Ballet
  • Musicals
  • Opera
  • The Olympics
  • Theatre
  • The Beatles/Led Zeppelin/Elvis Presley etc 


You can learn about how different countries celebrate differently and how celebrations have changed over time. Make decorations and food, design costumes. 

  • New Year
  • Chinese New Year
  • Rio Carnival
  • Las Fallas
  • Holi
  • Easter
  • May Day
  • Eid al-Fitr
  • Summer solstice
  • Fourth of July
  • Bastille Day
  • Venice Regatta
  • Rash Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • Mid-Autumn festival 
  • Halloween
  • Dia de Meurtos
  • Diwali
  • Thanksgiving
  • Chanukah
  • Dongji
  • Anzac Day
  • Saint-Nicholas Day
  • Winter Solstice
  • Christmas 



Please do add any further suggestions in the comments. I have a list of free educational resources on another blog post here and a list of 7 simple home learning activities here

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