History Story Books
Homeschool Review Crew
We love history in our home. Not just in our homeschool, but in our everyday reading material as well. That’s why we were so excited to be offered some history story books from Carole P. Roman to review as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. We received three titles in the mail to read and love. Our package contained If You Were Me and Lived In. . .The American West: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Viking Europe: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, and If You Were Me and Lived In. . . Ancient China: The Han Dynasty- An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time.
If you can’t tell, there is a bit of a theme throughout these three books. We have three different places and periods of history to read and visit. A big factor for us in choosing books is to hold them up against the standards of Charlotte Mason. Are these books teaching us? Or are they merely telling us something made up and entertaining us? I feel that these history story books are what we would call “living books” and help to teach history as well as culture.
How to Use History Story Books
For us we like to read the books for pleasure first. Something in the book will normally stick out as interesting or exciting and garner their attention. That’s when mom takes over. We then delve deeper into whatever that is. What caught their interest? Why do they love a certain time period or practice or custom or culture? Take their interest and make it into a learning experience.
The If You Were Me and Lived In series from Carole P. Roman definitely fits the history story books theme as they are full of information about the cultures and time periods. They give you information that just a history book might not. And of course, it’s not dry reading but fun and interactive. These books work best for ages 4-9. They’re a longer reading book but not so long as to be a history book. Each book contains a glossary in the back to help with any words that might not be familiar. The drawings in the book are amazing and I love the attention to fashion detail. I’m a bit of a fashion of old times lover so I took particular interest in those.
This book is 76 pages long. We were able to read this aloud in less than an hour. I did read this aloud to my children as I have a few who cannot read on their own yet. But, I also have some big kids that stole these books as soon as they were out of the package and read them through quickly. Viking Europe is a time period we chose because my children love all things Medieval. Boats and swords and vikings oh my! It’s the stuff of little boys dreams! My boys are 10, 9, and 9, well and a 15 month old as well but he’s more into tractors and trucks right now.
Now that we talked about what my boys expected, this book does cover the typical sea faring Viking but also talks about how they made villages and farmed as well. Plus the class system that the Viking Norse people had in place during and around 870 AD. I loved learning about the clothing of the period while my children were more interested in what they ate and of course those ships! The distinction of not only owning two shirts but wearing two shirts at one time. Oh my. We’re quite far from that today.
My boys were the first to pick up this Viking book and took particular glee in telling my almost teenage daughters all the not so fun things that would have been their daily tasks. Oh and the whole married at the age of 15 business to help prosper the father. Not sure we’re going to be adopting that tradition anytime soon! I did appreciate that the Vikings respected their women and that a wife could divorce her husband for abuse or cruelty.
Let’s visit the American West! 54 pages long and full of wonderful information this book is going to keep your little cowboys and cowgirls entertained. In this book we’re focusing on the mass immigration of 1843 to points out west. Particularly this book has children being around 12 years old and moving to Willamette Valley, Oregon from Ohio. Because we reenact the Civil war which was merely twenty years past this date we do know a lot about the clothing and customs of the time. However, I’ve never even been to Oregon so reading about the land and lifestyle out there is informative. Oh and to travel by wagon! We have had the pleasure of riding in a covered wagon but only for a mile or so. I can’t imagine travelling that way for miles upon miles all day long.
The jumping off point for all the wagons travelling west was Independence, Missouri. This is literally within two hours of us and we’ve been there multiple times for just visiting friends and also doing reenactments. It’s a great way of making the history story books just a little more real for us. Of course, my girls did take offense to the sister being called whiny and getting to ride in the wagon. They assured me that they would have walked and are not whiny.
A large shock was had by all at the amount of acreage that one couple was granted. Our main characters family was granted 640 free acres. That’s a lot of land. We live on a farm that is 63 acres and think it’s a good sized amount of land. I cannot imagine having 640 acres to explore and build on. My boys of course are now making their own little “house” in our timber using the instructions given in this book plus some more details that we found through our research.
The book that we were sent as a surprise is about Ancient China. We haven’t spent a lot of time studying the ancient civilizations except for Egypt so this was mostly new information to us. This history story book is 76 pages long and full of all kinds of interesting information. The time frame is 150 AD. Some fun facts we learned were about the Silk Road and how the silk trade made a whole new class of people within the merchants due to silk being such a commodity. The Han dynasty lasted four hundred years making it one of the longest lasting dynasties. It was also a very important dynasty for Ancient China. Because of the progress and government being formed it is often called the Golden Age of Ancient China. Paper and porcelain both came from this era.
Because this book focuses on the children of a doctor they are fairly well to do. It then delves a bit into the other ranks of class and how they would live as well. Other take aways are fun things like chicken being the staple dish. My girls found it interesting that colors had such significance and that they would have been married in a red dress versus white. The lay out of the house is very unique and I for one can’t say that I would enjoy it.
Make sure you go to the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog and check out all the history story books reviews. There is a vast range of books that were reviewed so I’m sure you can find at least one or two that you’d like to learn more about and check out. You can also find Carole P. Roman on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and good reads.