September 26, 2012

Our History Units and Books

I recently received an email from Maria (a blog friend) about my ancient history units--the structure and timing and whatnot.  I thought I would write a response on here in case it benefits anyone else.  Warning: information overload to follow.

In putting together Ancient History by geographical areas, I had to make sure there was information for the areas I wanted to study and also that I would have time to cover the most significant (to general world history) areas.  After I got started I decided that trying to do science and history at the same time didn't work for me so I switched to a 4 week history 4 week science model.  Here's how it looks on paper:  Remember I switched to the 4 week plan AFTER I already started.

April 23-May 11: Mesopotamia (3 weeks, twice a week--or approx. 6 hours)

May 14-May 25: Bible Lands - or Middle East (2 weeks or 4 hours)

May 28-June 8: Persian Empire (2 weeks or 4 hours)

July 16-Aug. 10: Egypt (5 weeks or 10 hours--my children LOVE studying Egypt and there is so much information that spending extra time is fun and justified)

Sept. 10-Oct. 19: Greece (lots of weeks but not really because I have been so busy that we haven't done anything for Greece yet except read a few books.  Because of that, I added on two extra weeks for Greece to catch up.  I think you need 5 weeks or 10 hours to really cover Greece well and set things up for Rome.)

Nov. 26-Dec. 21: Britain/Scandinavia  (4 weeks or 8 hours.  You could cover this area in a much shorter amount of time but there are quite a few fun books at the library and there is Thor, not to mention some really great battles with Rome--therefore, I added two extra weeks because I knew my 7 year old son would want to spend more time on it.)

Feb. 4-March 1: Rome (4 weeks or 8 hours.  Yes, you could spend WAY more time here, but I just don't think Rome is as interesting as some other places so I decided 4 weeks was enough for us.)

We are taking off a month whenever baby arrives--either the end of Feb or beginning of March.

April 29-May 3: India (1 week or 2 hours)

May 6-10: North America (1 week or 2 hours)

May 13-17: Japan (1 week or 2 hours)

May 20-24: China (1 week or 2 hours)

I realize that the hours we spent on these areas are rather arbitrary but I did allot time in part due to the materials available for each area.

To recap, I broke up the world in this way:

Bible Lands/Middle East
North America

I already posted the books I used for Mesopotamia, Bible Lands/Middle East, Persia, and Egypt.  For those interested I'll post the book list I have for the rest of the areas but promise, pretty please, to remember that this is my un-kid-tested list.  When I post books on this blog it is AFTER I've used them and gauged my children's reaction.  I'll post again after each unit with the list of books my children liked the most.  The books come from either Davis or Weber County libraries.

Souhami, Jessica.  Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India.

Alexander, Lloyd.  The Iron Ring.  (The book is based loosely on Indian mythology.)

Clements, Gillian.  Building History: Indus Valley City.

Ali, Daud and Fiona MacDonald, Lorna Oakes, and Philip Steele.  The Illustrated History Encyclopedia: Great Civilizations of the East.  This book covers Mesopotamia, Ancient India, The Chinese Empire, and Ancient Japan.

North America:
Quigley, Mary.  Excavating the Past: Mesa Verde

National Geographic: Ancient Pueblo: Archeology Unlocks the Secrets of America's Past.

Scholl, Elizabeth.  How'd They Do That in the Mayan Civilization?

Harris, Nathaniel.  National Geographic Investigates: Ancient Maya

Noble, William.  How'd They Do That in the Aztec Empire?

Millard, Anne.  Pyramids.

Galvin, Irene Flum.  The Ancient Maya.

Dahl, Roald.  The Mildenhall Treasure.

Macaulay, David.  City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction.

Windrow, Martin.  The Roman Legionary.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  Ancient Rome and Pompeii.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  Vacation Under the Volcano.

Macdonald, Fiona.  How to be a Roman Soldier.

Roberts, Paul C.  Ancient Rome.

Biesty, Stephen.  Rome: In Spectacular Cross-Section.

Murrel, Deborah.  The Best Book of Ancient Rome.

James, Simon.  Ancient Rome.

Morley, Jacqueline.  Inside Story: A Roman Villa.

Rutland, Jonathan.  See Inside a Roman Town.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  Pompeii: Lost and Found.

DiPrimio, Pete.  How'd They Do That in Ancient Rome?

Ballard, Robert D.  The Lost Wreck of the Isis.

Sutcliff, Rosemary.  Frontier Wolf.  I haven't read this yet.

Stefoff, Rebecca.  The Ancient Mediterranean.

Green, Jen.  Ancient Celts: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of the Celts' Past.

Climo, Shirley.  Stolen Thunder: A Norse Myth.

Martell, Hazel Mary.  Myths and Civilizations of the Celts.

Martell, Hazel Mary.  What Do We Know About the Celts?

Colum, Padraic.  The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths.

Shofner, Shawndra.  Stonehenge.

Lunge-Larsen, Lise.  The Adventures of Thor: The Thunder God.

Harrison, Michael.  The Doom of the Gods.

Muller, Robin.  The Nightwood.  This is a shorter version of one of my very favorite books ever, The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope.  Miriam will be reading Pope's version.  Sigh.  I love it when my kids read my favorites!

Yolen, Jane.  Sister Bear: A Norse Tale.  This is a shorter version of Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow that Miriam saw sitting on my pile of books and is currently reading.  It was okay--definitely not George's best, but not bad either.

Sutcliff, Rosemary. The High Deeds of Finn Mac Cool.  I haven't read this one yet.

Gaiman, Neil.  Odd and the Frost Giants.  I haven't read this one yet either.

Keary, A.  The Heroes of Asgard.  Really long--I'm going to have it around for Miriam to thumb through.

Fisher, Leonard Everett.  Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  Favorite Norse Myths.

Hinds, Kathryn.  Barbarians! Ancient Celts.  

Place, Robin.  The Celts.

Green, Roger Lancelyn.  Myths of the Norsemen.  I own this book so I don't know if it is available at the library.

Tannen, Mary.  The Wizard Children of Finn.  I haven't read this yet.

Arnold, Caroline.  Stone Age Farmers Beside the Sea: Scotland's Prehistoric Village of Skara Brae.

Hague, Kathleen and Michael Hague.  The Man Who Kept House and East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Curren, Polly.  Folk Tales of Scandinavia.  

Japan/Other Asian Spots
Richardson, Hazel.  Life in Ancient Japan.

James, Alison J. The Drums of Noto Hanto

Sierra, Judy.  The Dancing Pig.  Set in Bali.

Ali, Daud.  The Illustrated History Encyclopedia: Great Civilizations of the East. 

Cotterell, Arthur.  Eyewitness: Ancient China.

Beshore, George.  Science in Ancient China.

Friedman, Mel.  Ancient China: A True Book.

Michaelson, Carol ed.  The Nature Company Discoveries Library: Ancient China.

Alexander, Lloyd.  The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen.  Set in the Tang Dynasty.

O'Connor, Jane.  The Emperor's Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China.

Terzi, Marinella.  The World Heritage: The Chinese Empire.

Ali, Daud.  The Illustrated History Encyclopedia: Great Civilizations of the East.

Other Random Ancient History Books that Looked Interesting
Woods, Michael.  Ancient Warfare: From Clubs to Catapults.

Atkinson, Mary.  Pills and Potions: A History of Remedies.

I hope some of that was helpful to someone!!


  1. Andrea, dude. You don't have Africa on there at all. Ruff. Also, you should read 1491 before you decide to spend only 2 hours on North America--and what the heck happened to South America?? That's where all the cool Inca and Mayan stuff is. But I really could care less about Asian history so feel free to briefly cover that. (My own arbitrary interests.) And you MUST add this book to your China list: Adventures of the Treasure Fleet: China Discovers the World. (I haven't actually read it, but I looked up a kid's book with a 5 star rating on Amazon about an explorer I remembered reading about in the National Geographic just FOR YOU. Don't you feel special. Cowen will love it.) Oh, and I found this as well. Sounds fascinating. Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354. And you should read a book about the Silk Road and Marco Polo. Okay, well, all of those might actually be considered too recent to be ancient history, but for that matter, all of the Aztec, Inca, and Maya civilizations would be contemporary to those books. Anyway, I'm rambling. I just want your kids' education to be complete (in areas that I like. Hee. Hee.)

  2. I really just like adventurer/explorer stories. Apparently.

  3. Here's one on the Silk Road that I thought looked good. The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History. It talks about the Taklamakan desert ("Its name means 'if you go in, you won't come out'"), how could you not want to go there?

  4. I also wanted to comment that you should consider studing the Byzantine Empire as well. I think it's a interesting especially the different beliefs that led to the split between Catholicism and Greek Orthodox churches. Not that your kids would be interested in that, but the Byzantine Empire itself is interesting.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Thank you so much for posting all of your history lesson plans. They are saving me!