For Parents

Your child is working on a History Day project for school and you probably have a lot of questions. History Day, while challenging. can be just as enjoyable for parents as it is for students. The Maryland History Day team is here to help.

The Maryland History Day competition process is comprised of three to four levels: classroom, school, district, and state. In addition, there is a national competition where winners at the state level compete. Questions regarding the classroom and school level should be directed to the teacher. If you have questions about the district competition, you can ask one of our many district coordinators. Questions about the state and national competition should be sent to the Maryland History Day team.

If your child’s school does not participate in History Day, please contact us for information about how to participate. Are you a homeschool parent? We are here to help you get started and provide you with the necessary resources.

“My children have learned a vast array of skills by participating in National History Day. Not only are they learning research skills, but also a layered knowledge of topics…The impact this annual competition has made on my two kids is seemingly immeasurable, as the emotional strength and confidence found from a job well done cannot be calculated.” – Queen Anne’s County History Day parent Robin DeMaso

What is the role of parents?

  • Provide encouragement to your student in their process.
  • Review our Entering the Contest page with students to make sure they are familiar with all the requirements. Make sure you read the rule book. If you have questions, please contact Maryland History Day staff!
  • Bring your student to research days, to local historical societies and libraries, and to interviews.
  • Take a look at sample projects from previous competitions.
  • Consult with your child’s teacher to become familiar with the project schedule and deadlines. Deadlines for the state competition can be found on the Maryland History Day homepage.
  • Extra help can be found on the Entering the Contest page; this includes worksheets on how to develop a thesis, category-specific guides, as well as other helpful links.
  • Provide transportation to History Day competitions.
  • You can assist with the operation of dangerous equipment, such as power tools, but only students are responsible for the design, construction, and presentation of projects.
  • Parents can also help with transporting exhibits and props. But remember only students are allowed to set up the exhibits and props and operate documentary and website equipment.
  • You can also help prepare your student for competition judging with practice questions for the interview. Unlike traditional classroom assignments, the competition judges will spend most of the time reviewing the projects with the students and asking a few questions. Students are not expected to do a full presentation. Most interviews will last five to ten minutes.

“I believe the experience was invaluable. The most positive impact that Maryland History Day had on my child was being able to have the opportunity to choose a topic that she was interested in and to be able to present that information in a format that allowed her to learn new skills. I also feel that some of the judges asked insightful questions. The ability to answer questions on the spot allowed all the students to gain experience in public speaking. Overall, the whole experience enabled students to participate in an activity that allowed them to explore a somewhat different set of skills than what is normally offered in the day to day routine at school.” – Maryland History Day parent

Introduction to History Day for Homeschooling Parents

This recorded webinar for homeschooling parents shares basic information about the History Day program, a step-by-step breakdown of the project, and resources to help guide students along in the process. For more information or for help accessing the links mentioned, contact Lia Atanat at latanat@mdhumanities.org.

  • “My students became more competent researchers, and took ownership of their work. They had total free reign to choose their topic, direct their research, and create their final project.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Teacher
  • “[The students] learned a variety of ways to present their material and they could focus on what they wanted to learn about. The students had a choice in their learning. It was about their learning NOT what someone else felt they need to learn.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
  • “[My son] became a real expert in his topic and, he says, developed a life-long love of history, especially the history of music. I cannot thank you enough for this rare and incredible opportunity.”

    Andrea LeWinter, parent of Maryland History Day participant
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “History Day inspired me to become deeply invested in historical topics which I never thought I’d enjoy. It is an amazing experience that has the ability to make learning fun for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in.”

    Addie Skillman, National History Day Gold Winner
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day student
  • “The excitement of the research was wonderful for my students’ academic progress. They now feel capable of doing any research paper that may be assigned in college!”

    Maryland History Day 2019 Teacher
  • “My students went deeper with primary and secondary sources than ever before. They used critical thinking skills and applied the transfer goals and essential questions on a deeper level than they could have in class. It challenged them to think deeper and defend their findings.”

    Maryland History Day 2019 Teacher
  • I’ve loved judging! It’s exciting to see the passion the middle schoolers have put in their projects. I hope that my critiques have helped strive for excellence throughout their lives.

    Dee Krasnansky, Maryland History Day Judge
  • “The researching and communicating skills have made me a more confident person in all academic endeavors. These are skills that will last me a lifetime.”

    ​Maryland History Day student participant
  • “The students are now far more prepared for the high level of scholarship and achievement that will be expected of them in future years. MHD also elevated many other skills too. These include public speaking, the use of technology, learning to collaborate.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
  • “History Day has taught men how to interpret and effective use primary sources in my writing to create and support claims. Now I am much more likely to explore databases, go to libraries, and explore further external sources for credible and effective sources.”

    Maryland History Day 2019 Student
  • “I think the continual process of improving her research and presentation through the various levels of competition has been incredibly valuable. It has caused her to dig deeper in her research and build upon and refine her work and presentation.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “The thing that had the most impact were the skills that I got from this project. I developed better hunting skills in terms of looking for reliable sources and I also learned to work hard and not procrastinate to achieve something great.”

    Maryland History Day student participant
  • “Maryland History Day challenged my daughter to go deeper, deeper in research analysis and presentation. It took her to a whole new level academically.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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