This is the first year I have been able to do 2 different studies of History with Beach at one time. Our World History is all by the book, the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. The book includes great internet links and we have found some really fantastic documentaries to go along with our studies.
Our American History is "all" by the book too but a totally different kind- NOVELS.
Now like any other school kid, Beach has been through early American history a dozen times. In fact, I believe our first ever history lesson was in a Jamestown build by wooden blocks and populated by Playmobile.
Each go-around (hopefully) adds in new, more complex information. Which is great, I suppose... but with Beach, because she claims to not like history our studies tend to end before gaining any ground. The furthest we have ever gotten is Westward Expansion. And somehow we did that without going through the Revolutionary and the Civil War.
So obviously there were a few holes in our system. Then we found historical fiction and historical novels. Each book gives a picture window into a specific time and place. Often we find ourselves outside the book talking about events and people creating a broader understanding of the history involved. Yes, there are still holes but as we read more and more the holes are getting filled in.
Last week we finished reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Colonial America/historical fiction).
Beach only had one criticism of the book; she wanted to know more about day to day life in early Colonial America. So I found this little book put out by Scholastic.
It was a little bit below her level of curiosity but there was some interesting information that helped finish off our Colonial Times reading. We might spend some time watching Colonial House (PBS), which also has a great interactive web page.
We have already had some good luck with what I would call bonus points- finding history links to our reading in other places like the poison exhibit at the Natural History Museum and the History Channel's documentary of The Real Story of Halloween.
We started our next book after rejecting 2 very well loved (to other people) award-winning books; Sarah Plain and Tall just couldn't hold either of our attention and I couldn't stand reading The Gathering of Days... I know, boo if you want but there is so much out there to learn! Why waste time on something you don't love? So we picked up the next one in line Lily's Crossing and guess what?! We already love it.
*I still view this as American History. It is always important to gain global context.
After we finish, if Beach is still interested I am considering reading Snow Falling On Cedars and/or *The Diary of Anne Frank.