History Story Books {Homeschool Review Crew}

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.


Carole P Roman Blog

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.


Books by Carole P Roman

Viking Europe

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.  


Books by Carole P Roman

American West

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.


Books by Carole P Roman

Ancient China

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.

Learn More

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


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Ancient Egypt {Homeschool Review Crew}

Ancient Egypt

Homeschool Review Crew

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
Have you ever studied Ancient Egypt in your homeschool?  We actually are there in one of our history courses this year so I was very excited to see that The Cat of Bubastes was the newest release and Crew Review from Heirloom Audio Productions!  I of course applied gushing about how we’d love this one.  And I was so excited when we got it!!

We had already read the book as part of our study of ancient Egypt so receiving the audio drama of The Cat of Bubastes was a treat for us!  I have always found ancient Egypt fun and exciting.  Believe it or not, I had never read The Cat of Bubastes though.  It wasn’t until I became a mother and a homeschool mom that I found out about the works of G A Henty.  I also came into contact with Heirloom Audio Productions as a homeschool mom and that makes me very happy!  We’ve been blessed to review many of their works as members of the Homeschool Review Crew.


Ancient Egypt {Homeschool Review Crew}


Each time we receive an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions we also receive access to a ton of other great resources through their Study Guide.  This time we received:

  • access to a downloadable 47 page study guide
  • mp3 version of the soundtrack
  • colorful illustrated ebook of the G A Henty classic
  • printable copy of the inspirational verse featured
  • cast poster in printable form
  • access to the behind the scenes documentary(am I the only one who loves these??)
  • Live the Adventure Letter E-newsletter access

More of What We Love

The CD itself is a 2 disc set.  With all the extras we received it’s very easy to plan and make this a full unit study to help homeschoolers learn about ancient Egypt and a spiritual lesson too.  This audio drama focuses on perseverance, responsibility, and God’s providence.  

The cast for The Cat of Bubastes features Brian Blessed, Anthony Daniels, Sylvester McCoy, and John Rhys-Davies.  Am I the only one that hears the voice of John Rhys-Davies and immediately can see his face as being a bad guy in some movie?  Maybe?  He’s really good at that role and his voice is wonderful.  I love listening to him.


Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

One of the things that I love about the study guides that Heirloom Audio Production gives us access to with their audio dramas is that it includes historical and biblical content.  They give me a starting point for helping my children dig deeper into the lessons that they can learn from the story. Let’s face it, I don’t have the time to find all that information on my own.  And I certainly don’t have the time to make a study guide of my own with ten kids and a farm/house to run!  I’m forever grateful to the people who do have the time and allow us to use their knowledge and expertise.

Interested in learning more about The Cat of Bubastes and Ancient Egypt?  Check out their facebook, twitter, google +, and instagram!  Also head on over to the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog page and find all the reviews linked up to read and enjoy!


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Ancient History the Charlotte Mason Way {TOS Crew Review}

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a great fan of Charlotte Mason and her teaching methods.  When I got offered a chance to review something from Brookdale House I knew that I wanted to.  You see, I reviewed the Writing Through Ancient History, Level 2 Cursive.  This is truly learning Ancient History the Charlotte Mason Way and I couldn’t be happier!  Well, I will be happier once we get the entire series!!


 Brookdale House Review

With this curriculum, my kids are learning proper cursive handwriting as well as important lessons in ancient history.  I’ve never been a fan of copywork that just has them copy the same word over and over and over.  It’s boring.  It’s dull.  They’re not learning anything really.  Oh yes, they learn how to spell that word and how to form the letters, but that’s it.  They’re not getting any real lessons out of it.  This is why I love the Charlotte Mason way of learning.  You eliminate the “twaddle” and the stuff that doesn’t encourage learning or improve the mind.

While they’re learning about the proper way to form cursive letters, they’re also learning ancient history the Charlotte Mason way.  It doesn’t seem like they’re memorizing rote facts to them.  It doesn’t seem like they’re really learning at all!  But they are!  They’re memorizing passages of history that will stick with them through the years.

I received an e-book of the Writing Through Ancient History, Level 2 Cursive.  The online cost for this is $22.95.  You can also purchase a print copy of the book if you’d rather.  Level 2 is for Grades 3-5.  Level 1 covers grades 1-3.  I chose level 2 because I have two children in 4th grade who are working on their cursive handwriting.  I would now like to go back and get all the Level 1 and 2’s from all the different levels of history!  My two younger children who are in preschool and kindergarten(ages 5 and 4) obviously aren’t quite ready for these, but my older six could all use them.


Ancient History the Charlotte Mason Way 

The e-book came as a 384 page PDF download.  It’s broken up into an introduction section and then subsequent chapters.  There are four chapters and each chapter has a different type of reading passage.  Chapter 1- short stories, Chapter 2- extracts from primary sources, Chapter 3- poetry, and Chapter 4- folk or cultural tales.  There are also Bible passages interspersed that you can use as well.  There are some ancient mythology stories in here so you may want to skip those if you don’t approve.  I personally love mythology and will want to teach that to my children but from a Biblical perspective.

Another choice besides which era of history you’d like to do is whether you want cursive or manuscript.  I chose cursive simply because that is the type of penmanship my two in 4th grade are using.  I wanted to give them more practice writing and READING cursive.  You see, not many curriculums or books even these days use cursive and it can be difficult to find copywork that is cursive unless you make it yourself.  Which, though I have done, it’s time-consuming and as a busy working mom of 9 children I don’t have the time!!

That is why we are in love with Brookdale House and their Writing Through History series.  We started with the Ancient History because I love to take things along a timeline.  The next era that we would then do is medieval, early modern, and modern.  I’m already excited to see what those entail as I love history!  You can see some sample pages from each book HERE!


 Brookdale House Review

To get a bit more in-depth, this course allows them to read historical selections, understand and be able to verbalize that back, write down a short summary of that, and then read a short model that they then copy down three times.  At first it may take your child longer to read and comprehend what they’ve read if they are not used to reading historical type narrations.  

After browsing their site, I’ve also found the Bible Memorization made easy that we’d like to try out as well.  It looks like an easy way to help your children hide God’s word in their hearts for many years to come.  

So our final opinions are that we love this.  My kids were a bit not in love at first because I hadn’t made them narrate back or summarize very many things.  This is great practice for them and I think they are really learning how to analyze and break apart works now.  The copy work is good as well as it’s not just childlike phrases or words strung together.  As the parent I heartily approve and as the students they are beginning to love it!!  We recommend it and encourage you to give it a try.   Ancient history the Charlotte Mason way has definitely been a hit in our homeschool!

If you’re interested in what we reviewed or something else from Brookdale House, make sure to check out all the other reviews on the main TOS Crew Blog.  We were given several different choices of what we could review so I’m sure you’ll find something at your child’s level.  You can also find Brookdale House on facebook, pinterest, twitter, and google +


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