Thursday, October 25, 2007

Homeschool History Books

This year Polly and I are working through Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World, Volume 1 (Ancient Times). We plan to use Bauer's 4 year cycle, as laid out in The Well-Trained Mind, for our girls' History education.

The text book is supposed to be used as a "spine", reading the selections and supplementing with activities (from the appropriately named The Story of the World Activity Book) and other books, movies, etc. that go along with the chapter you read. These are some books about the Ancient World that we have used so far:

Unwrapping the Pharaohs by John Ashton & David Down (Master Books 2006). My dad owns this book and loaned it to us. We now want to buy our own copy. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you are a Christian that believes in literal Creation (we do) you need this book! It has beautiful, glossy full-color photos, detailed maps, entertaining text, and, most important, a timeline that helps reconcile the Bible and archeology. Get this book!

The Atlas of Human History: Cradles of Civilizations by Renzo Rossi & Andrea Due (Simon & Schuster 1996). Lots of maps and artwork. This is not really a book you read but one you look at. We found this at our library.

The Egyptian Worldby Margaret Oliphant (Warwick Press 1989). Lots of maps, diagrams, and a well written text. We found this at our library.

The Ancient World of the Bible by Malcolm Day (Penguin Books 1994). Lots of maps, diagrams, pictures, and an entertaining text. Warning: some of the text is not necessarily correct. For example the very first section tells us that Adam and Eve were not allowed to eat of the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I don't know about you but that's not exactly what my Bible says. Still, I was pleased to find this at our public library and it is an informative book. If I ever see it at a thrift store or library sale I'll buy it.

Excavating the Past: Mesopotamia by Jane Shuter (Heinemann 2006). Informative text and some pictures / diagrams. A bit "dry" for not-quite-6-years-old Polly. Another we found at our library.

Eyewitness Ancient Egypt by George Hart (DK 2004). This is one of the extensive DK Eyewitness series. Tons of full color pictures. Almost too much information in one place. Warning: assumes evolution as fact and speaks about "early stone age people". I might buy this at a yard sale but otherwise we'll just get it from our library when we want to look at the pictures!

We've read a few more but I forgot to write down the titles. Polly especially enjoyed a story book called The Egyptian Cinderella. She loves Cinderella stories and I'm trying to read a variety from different cultures to her so she knows that the Disney one isn't the only one.

What are your favorite resources for teaching ancient history?

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