I was asked to share what schoolbooks I use to teach my children. Rather than share what they happen to be using right now, I thought I’d share my top picks for each subject. Everything I share was either used by my mother homeschooling my sister and I, or used by my children.
I was just recently able to get the whole set of history books from Nothing New Press. They are story based history books that weave Biblical history right alongside world history. For example, as you are learning about the Greeks, you will also be learning about the Maccabees. I love that! My children are very comfortable with history presented in a story style, as you’ll see from some of the other books I list. But, frankly, what child wouldn’t prefer to hear a story about real people facing real challenges, over lists of facts and dates?
These books were originally written by Helen Guerber in the late 1800’s, and were edited and adapted by Christine Miller. You can find them here: www.nothingnewpress.com
If you have been considering Homeschooling Torah, I think you will be pleased to know that they use the Nothing New Press history books as their base for history. It’s just another great reason to use them if you are looking for a full curriculum that is Torah based.
You can find out more about Homeschooling Torah through my affiliate link here: www.homeschoolingtorah.com
Diana Waring was very popular when I was in high school. She had history tapes to listen to, and they were fascinating. I still remember her talking about the first generations of man, like Tubal Cain. She declared enthusiastically that instead of cavemen slowly figuring things out and getting smarter, “God made man totally ready to go!” If you are looking for an audio medium to keep your kids’ interest, I highly recommend Diana Waring. I remember listening to her “What in the World” series.
You can find lots of materials from Diana Waring here: www.christianbook.com
I am all for getting as close to the history as possible. It stands to reason that the farther back a book was written, the closer it is to the history it is telling. To use our Maccabee example again, I would read the books of Maccabees rather than someone 10 years ago writing about the Maccabees. That’s where Heritage history comes in. They have collected a vast amount of history books from ages past. There are non-fiction straight up history books, but they also have some delightful story history books. We particularly enjoyed their young reader’s collection, which had adorable stories about twins from various countries. These books come on a CD, in PDF as well as ereader formats.
You can find all of the Heritage History CD collections here: www.heritage-history.com
When used carefully, the television can be an asset to your child’s education. I have used PBS to supplement history as well as science. Be careful of their evolutionary bent, but I find this can easily be overcome by watching the show with my children, and discussing it. I have taught my children very thoroughly about creation, etc., so they spot error quite quickly. I just want you to be mindful of that. I find that history documentaries cannot be matched for their photos, video footage, and little known stories. Travel shows can be particularly good.
This book is an excellent way to give your child a sweeping view of history. In 90 chapters, they will travel from the beginning of time to about a century ago. We often tend to study certain parts of history intensively, and that’s a good thing. But it is also valuable to see the big picture. The chapters are short and aimed at young curious children. It’s an excellent choice for a read aloud, or a confident elementary student.
You can find V. Hillyer’s book at amazon. (affiliate link)
No matter what history books you choose, it’s good to have a way to get feedback from your child. This can be done orally, by the child telling you about what they just learned. Children may also enjoy drawing a picture of what they learned. I have put together some simple notebooking pages to give your child a space to write about what they read, as well as think about how the event or character compares to Torah principles. It also includes a simple way to systematically cover commands and write about how to obey them.
You can find my history notebooking pages here: www.torahfamilyliving.com
Never overlook the book that should be the foundation of all we do. The Bible is full of history from cover to cover. Do your best to include Bible reading and Bible study in each school day. This will give your children a good understanding of YHVH’s work in the dealings of men. As they read in their history books, it will be easier to see His hand. To paraphrase Robin Sampson, author of Heart of Wisdom, “If nothing else is taught, always make sure the day includes time in the Bible.” Wise words indeed.
These are my top picks, and will cover history from little ones all the way up. What history books do you recommend?
To help you discuss history lessons with your children, and make connections with Torah principles, I have put together a printable. You can get it when you sign up below.