YEAR 2 (1)
For British History, the text usually recommended is ‘Our Island Story’ by HE Marshall. This book is well written but does present some difficulties for the Catholic parent as it is written very much from the perspective of the great British (protestant) Empire. There is a very good analysis of the book over at Mater Amabilis, here. If you read this, and are aware of the dangers and ready to correct the perspective, this could still be a good text to use. The Mater Amabilis History schedule for this age group covers British History from the Roman Conquest to the end of the 19th century, and there are further recommendations for history books within the Mater Amabilis schedule.
Alternatively, you could use the Usborne History of Britain series, all available second hand for a few pounds. This is what we’ve tended to use, as it covers Roman Britain, Anglo Saxons and Vikings, The Middle Ages, Tudors and Stuarts, The Victorians, The First World War and the Second World War. These books are also available in one volume, The Usborne History of Britain, though I find it easier to have the separate books as I might have children working on a different era at the same time.
The Kingfisher British History series is very nice too: here’s an example ‘The Georgians‘. One oddity with this series is that the volume ‘Early Britain’ covers a very long period: 500,000 BC to 1154 AD! It is nice to have a bit more than usual on Celtic Britain, which is often rather skimmed over in books which start at the Roman invasion.
A similar series is the Young Oxford History of Britain and Ireland series. Again, this is available in one volume or in separate volumes. I would say it has a bit more detail than the Usborne books so might be useful for 9+ if you want more information (be warned: the first book in the series covers pre-history and features pictures of ‘ape-men’ etc. but it’s worth getting over this for the sake of the rest of the series!). If you could find them, there are some lovely sets of books aimed at this age range which cover famous people in history. One such series is the Ladybird Adventures from History 561.
You often find these very cheaply online. For a more narrative approach (i.e. with imagined conversations), and one which emphasises the Christian figures of the past, you might like R.J.Unstead’s ‘People in History’ series (available as one volume or four separate books). I think most children would be happy to just sit and read these in a quite corner!
For visually attractive books you can’t really beat the Dorling Kindersely Eyewitness range: here’s an example you can look inside, ‘Viking’. We use these for tracing pictures and generally getting a feel for what the people and artefacts of the era looked like.
For Ancient Greece and Rome there is sadly something of a gap in the Usborne provision. They offer a very simplistic series, Usborne Beginners’ (e.g. Romans) which are OK for prep level but really don’t provide enough information for a 7-8 year old. On the other hand, they produce the ‘Illustrated World History ‘series ( ‘Greeks’ and ‘Romans’). These are very good books, packing in a lot of information but are really too detailed for this age group. So, I am looking for an alternative: I haven’t used these yet, but this new series from Ladybird is aimed at the 7-9 age group and looks promising: Ancient Greeks and Romans. In fact, this Ladybird series covers the whole of British history which might be useful if you prefer it to the Usborne approach.
YEAR 2 (3)
History – ages 6 to 8
Introduction to British History, Our Island Story
People in History, book of centuries. Work through British Kings and Queens, Saints and interesting events in order.
Lap books, Saint from periods in history, lives of famous people.
Use unit studies for added interest or to cover interesting time periods and topics.
Use unit studies to incorporate and integrate subjects regularly. It is ok to take a break from the set courses to enjoy immersion in a topic that we find interesting. Unit studies should incorporate independent research, outings to relevant museums or activities, discussion, sharing of ideas, critical thinking and logic, passing on new found knowledge to others in varying formats (retelling, plays, art work, project books, lap books, computer designed newsletters)
Ideas for unit studies:
A local famous person