History Via the Scenic Route
A modern textbook might mention the Patrick Henry is famous for saying "Give me liberty or give me death," that is, if he hasn't been squeezed out of the text entirely. How much better to hear the whole speech, recited with the passion that sparked the Revolution? Read it to you kids and if they're old enough, have them learn it themselves. We read that the pilgrims suffered during the Mayflower voyage or the plight of soldiers during the Civil War and then go on to the next sentence without any thought. Why not learn to make hardtack biscuits and eat them for every meal one day to see how monotonous it really was?
(Side note: Diana Waring will be offering monthly history lessons for the new SchoolhouseTeachers.com . She just posted on Facebook that April's lessons will be about missionary Betty Greene)
Janet & Geoff Benge BooksThe Benges have two great series: Christian Heroes Then & Now and Heroes of History. Both series follow the same format: the first chapter ends with a cliff hanger that occurs later in the story--Daniel Boone escapes his Indian kidnappers, John Adams is about to be attacked by English ships at sea, David Livingstone is attacked by a lion. Once the reader is hooked, the story goes back to the subjects childhood and he must read several chapters before learning how the problem is resolved. These books make great read-alouds and more than once I heard "Don't stop now" at bedtime.
The Heroes of History all deal with Americans (or those who had a part in exploring or colonizing America before it was a country). They may not all be Christians, but their stories are shared in a Christ honoring way. Current titles are: John Adams, Clara Barton, George Washington Carver, Meriwether Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, William Penn, Harriet Tubman, George Washington, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Daniel Boone, Alan Shepard, Benjamin Franklin, Captain John Smith, Christopher Columbus, Douglas MacArthur, Orville Wright, Ronald Reagan, and Theodore Roosevelt. The newest title is Davy Crockett.
If you choose to make these books the spine of your history studies, YWAM publishers offers separate unit study books that will add geography, creative writing, arts/crafts, and cultural foods to the biographies.
All through the Ages
4-6 Biography Luther the Leader - Virgil Robinson (wonderful children's biography of leader of the Reformation) VP
The VP stands for Veritas Press. The second section of the book has titles listed by Geographical area, then comes a section of Science and Math titles, a History of the Arts, and Great Books of Western Civilization. All in all there are more than 300 pages of recommendations.
I'm please to say I love history now. My son and I have been learning Missouri History through living books this year: The Explorations of Pere Marquette, A Boy for a Man's Job, The Great Turkey Walk, even Laura Ingalls Wilder's travels from De Smet to Mansfield, MO in On the Way Home. Be sure to check out the Blog Cruise for other History Resource suggestions.