My children have learned more history from their own free reading time than anything we have done together. The memory pegs my kids have from Classical Conversations helps them to get even more out of reading these books.
I want to share a number of our favorite series for history in the elementary years. In no particular order:
The You Wouldn’t Want to Be series has a quirky way to catching my kids’ attention with their silly subtitles (like You Wouldn’t Want to Be Mary Queen of Scots: A Ruler Who Really Lost Her Head). These are amazing, covering topics from Ancient times to U.S. history. I wrote about them a few years ago here where you can see Foundations Cycle match-ups. My kids have re-read these many times over the years. These are the shortest and easiest reading level of books on this list. When we get these at the library, even the librarians comment on the fun titles of the books.
The Interactive History Adventures also cover many time periods. We love to get these at the library also. They are choose-your-path type books except with historical themes. The U.S. history ones are my favorites, but we really enjoy most of them. I included Foundations match ups here. (The one on The Underground Railroad has a path where you pretend to be slave catchers, and we just couldn’t even read that path in the book.)
These graphic novels are always about dangerous and challenging bits of history. The first in the series, One Dead Spy, is about Nathan Hale’s namesake. The World War 1 book, Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood, gives an amazing overview to World War I. My kids are already anticipating the fall release of one about World War II (Raid of No Return).
The Junior Genius Guides include other topics than history, but we love the U.S. Presidents and Maps and Geography for studying history. These books are packed with information but told in a way that grabs kids’ attention. These books are set up like a “school day” with class periods instead of chapters. (The non-history ones we are love are: The Human Body, Outer Space, and Greek Mythology.) If you decide to buy any of these books, this 3-book set is a far better deal than the 3 books individually.
These “Big Fat Notebook” books have packed with wonderful overviews of American History and World History. Any piece of CC memory work can be found in these as well as lots of other history tidbits. I actually think the U.S. History one is going to be an excellent resource for me as a Challenge 1 Director next year. After each section, there are “Check Your Knowledge” quizzes complete with “Check Your Answers” so you don’t have to wonder if they are right. My kids don’t really get the “Everything you need to Ace” each class title for the books in this series since we homeschool and don’t teach to a test, but these are a wonderful resource. (Other books in the series include non-history topics: English Language Arts, Math, and Science. The English one does include topics not covered in the CC Essentials program – like theme, plot, etc.)
Note: These books are secular so they include evolutionary human origins. They are also very current in their publication dates so the U.S. one include the Supreme Court ruling on marriage (in a very matter-of-fact way).
As I made this list, I’m sure I forgot some of my kids’ favorites. What history series do your kids enjoy?
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