Learning American History Through Movies & Free Timeline

Learning American History Through Movies & Free Timeline

Movie Homeschooling

I could not find a chronological list of movies of American History so I made the one below. Join our Homeschool with Movies Facebook Group for more movie suggestions.

First I created a timeline from 1630 to 2000 into 12 eras and listed the most important people and events.  (You can download a 8.5×11 printable version below. ) Then I found period movies for each time period listed below (I will continue to add to this list).

Download this Timeline at the Bottom of this Post

NOTE: The timeline is copyrighted. Please use for personal use only. You may share link here but do not post on your blog or Facebook except to link. Thank you. If this list or the printable timeline is helpful to you, please pass it on via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or your blog.

Then we made a timeline on a white board 


I used sticky notes  to record people and events as we watched movies (the timeline is not just for movies but to record any American events we learned about during reading or other subjects). This really helped put events in chronological order when we watch science documentaries or series like  “How the States Got Their Shapes” which bounce around in time periods.

Where or How to Get the Movies

Try searching your TV for shows to record on TV. Most the movies below are available through Amazon used. Most can be watched online free through Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix.

AMAZON PRIME NOTE: If you have Amazon Prime and click on an Amazon Prime Movie with a price listed you just need to log in to see the movie free.

Are Movies a Lazy Way to Teach?


Is Movie Homeschooling, homeschooling? Don’t fee guilty using movies to teach. We are hardwired for stories. Jesus used stories to teach. You don’t get brownie points for teaching with dry boring textbooks. Use a movie as a jump off place for further research. When your children start asking things like “Is that why J. P. Morgan worked with Edison?” you know they are learning, thinking and remembering.

American History Overview

  • America: The Story of Us
  • History Classics: The States (See my post 50 States in 50 Days)
  • 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America
  • The History Channel Presents The Presidents 
  • How the States Got Their Shapes
  • Ken Burns – American Lives (Thomas Jefferson / Lewis & Clark / Frank Lloyd Wright / Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B Anthony / Mark Twain / Horatio’s Drive / Unforgivable Blackness)
  • War Letters – Stories of Courage, Longing and Sacrifice (from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam to the Persian Gulf War)
  • Free w Amazon Prime


    1630-1763 Colonial Period

    1763-1783 Revolutionary America

    1783-1815 Young Republic

    1815-1860 Westward Expansion


    1830-1876 Civil War and Reconstruction

    1871-1914 Industrial Revolution

    1880-1920 Political Reform

    1914-1933 WWI / Prosperity/ Depression

    1933-1945 New Deal / WWII

    1945-1960 Post War/ Civil Rights

    1960-1980 Vietnam Era

    1980-2000 End of the Century

    2000 - Today

    Download Free American History Timeline

    robinsampson

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