• book lists,  elementary,  history,  picture books

    Elementary Medieval Times Book List

    At the beginning of the year I decided we would try to do a brief overview of the history of the world this year.

    We started out with ancient history (focusing mainly on Ancient Rome) and now we are in the middle of our study on the medieval times.

    We’ve been enjoying reading about knights and castles and even a bit about the bubonic plague. My kids always love all kind of potty jokes so they were the most tickled to find that some of the “toilets” in castles drained into the moats. (They would probably love a study on the history of toilets.)

    I wanted to share our medieval book list thus far and I’m sure I will either add to this post or create a part two at some point since we are still learning about the time period.

    The Best Elementary Medieval Times Books

    ELEMENTARY MEDIEVAL
    BOOK LIST

    I love the Usborne See Inside books!

    See Inside Castles

    A fantastic new flap book, which takes a humorous yet historically accurate look at life in a Thirteenth Century medieval castle. Inventive embedded flaps on each double-page spread allow children to explore the hidden world of the castle, peeking inside stables, tents, and carriages along the way.

    My kids sure enjoyed finding out why castles had moats!

    I Wonder Why Castles had Moats:
    and Other Questions About Long Ago

    “Why did churches have steeples?,” “Who wore platform shoes?,” and “Did people take baths?” are just some of the tricky questions answered in this delightful book about long ago.

    Stephen Biesty’s Cross-sections Castle

    An intimate guide to the inside of a castle and the lives of its residents, this Stephen Biesty classic details the workings of a medieval fortress. With intricately detailed cross-sections, each layer of a castle is presented, so readers can explore layer upon layer of castle life including the people, their possessions, and how they lived, as well as how they defended themselves from enemy attacks and settled down for an evening of entertainment. Each time readers turn the page, they’ll discover new details, making this the ultimate “insider’s guide” to the structure of a castle and the lives of its inhabitants.

    Did Castles Have Bathrooms?:
    And Other Questions about the Middle Ages

    Knights in armor weighed so much that they had to be lifted onto their horses. Medieval barbers doubled as dentists. Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. You may have heard these common sayings or beliefs before. But are they really true? Can they be proven through research? Let’s investigate seventeen statements about the Middle Ages and find out which ones are right, which ones are wrong, and which ones stump even the experts! Find out whether King Arthur really ruled England during the Middle Ages! Discover whether a terrible plague killed millions of people! See if you can tell the difference between fact and fiction with Is That a Fact?

    Do You Want to Be a Medieval Knight?

    This title takes the reader back in time as they envision themselves applying for the job of a Medieval Knight. The book describes what life was like for a person in this occupation while also describing the society and culture of the civilization. This book is an informative and fun guide to the diverse skills you will need to live another life in another time. An interview at the end of the book will uncover if you have what it takes to win the job!

    Castle: How It Works

    Take a tour of a medieval castle. Every part of the castle has a function. Walls keep the enemy out. Towers protect the lord and the soldiers. From the moat and portcullis to the great hall and dungeon, see how a castle works as an enemy army tries to storm the walls.

    How to Live Like A Medieval Knight

    Step inside the lord’s castle where Sir Gilbert is training to become a knight. Find out what it takes to survive and succeed in these times of chivalry and danger as he teaches you how to joust in tournaments, gallop into battle, feast after victory, survive a stint in a dungeon, and more. Do you have the skills and guts to be a medieval knight?

    A Medieval Feast

    The King is coming to visit! The lord and lady of Camdenton Manor must work quickly to prepare for his arrival. It will take weeks to ready rooms, set up tents, and prepare the feast itself. Everyone is busy hunting and hawking, brewing and churning. This nonfiction picture book about life in medieval times features detailed illustrations to explore again and again.

    The Knight at Dawn

    A castle with a secret passage! That’s what Jack and Annie find when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the Middle Ages for another wild adventure. In the Great Hall of the castle, a feast is under way. But Jack and Annie aren’t exactly welcome guests!

  • Our curriculum plans for homeschooling grade one and preschool.
    art,  curriculum,  geography,  history,  language arts,  math,  music,  preschool,  science,  spanish

    An Overview of Our Homemade Grade 1 & Preschool Curriculums

    Today is our official start to our first year homeschooling!

    I have been waiting for this day for about 3 years and I’m kind of nervous that it will all blow up in our faces, I don’t think it will but that fear is definitely there.

    When I started thinking about what I all wanted the kids to learn this year part of me got overwhelmed and just wanted to buy a full pre-made curriculum. BUT one of the reasons we are homeschooling is to have more flexibility in our days and our learning and I knew that wouldn’t be the best way for us.

    So, I decided to hack together a bit of a curriculum (have you watched the hackschooling Tedx talk, so good!). I definitely have a bit of an unschoolers heart but at the same time I want to be able to have a bit of an idea of what we have learned. Plus, at this point my daughter really want to know when we are “doing school” so we are taking a bit of a Charlotte Mason/Unschooling/not sure what else approach. Over all our curriculum is very literature (and notebooking) heavy, we love books here and it’s the perfect way for us to learn about subjects we are interested in.

    Below I’ve shared an overview of our curriculum and many of these subjects I have full posts on (or will soon) so you can follow those links as well.

    Our curriculum plans for homeschooling grade one and preschool.

    GRADE ONE CURRICULUM

    BIBLE

    We will be following the Ambleside Online weekly Bible reading schedule for Year 1. Later in the year we will also be reading some missionary biographies.

    LANGUAGE ARTS

    READING – Our language arts will mostly be a lot of reading, including me reading aloud, audio books and a lot of reading practice for Raeca (I plan on sharing my list of read alouds for this year soon and you can always find out which books we did read in our monthly books we read posts). I also plan on incorporating poetry through a weekly poetry tea time.

    WRITING – we will do some work in a Handwriting Without Tears workbook to work on technique and then we will be notebooking for most of our other subjects.

    MATH

    We have a grade 1 math workbook we will be going through because my daughter loves workbooks but we will also be incorporating a lot of math into real life. You can read our full math plan here.

    SCIENCE

    I am following the grade 1 science plan from The Well-Trained Mind. For grade 1 that means we will study animals, the human body and plants. Here’s our science overview!

    HISTORY

    For history, every 2-3 months we will learn about a different time periods in history; Ancient Times, Middle Ages, Early Modern Era and Modern Era. We will be reading a number of books in each time period, putting them on a timeline and doing a lot of notebooking. I am working on a full post for this that will be coming soon, for now you can check out our elementary ancient times book list.

    GEOGRAPHY

    Geography was something that I was never really taught in school, it was my personal interest in travel (and reading) that lead me to learn where countries are in the world. My enthusiasm has affected my children because I am always showing them where places are on the map, every time we read or hear about a place.

    We are keeping geography super simple this year by focusing on a different country or city each month and reading lots of books about them. We will also learn about landmarks, some of the different foods, special holidays and more. We have actually started to read/learn about Paris so that’s our first city for the year, I’ll have a list of Paris picture books up on Friday and I hope to have a full post to share about our Paris studies soon!

    ART

    I was tempted to make art very formal and complicated but decided to take it easy, it’s grade 1 after all. I plan on purchasing a good art book where we can talk about a few artists and pieces of artwork and maybe try to copy a few here and there. We also plan on utilizing Art Hub for Kids’ free YouTube videos. I will share a post with more details in a few weeks.

    MUSIC

    For music we are focusing on three things: theory study, composer study and piano. You can see the detailed music post here.



    SPANISH

    Spanish is something we will just be doing a little bit. I’ve been learning it a bit on my own (via Duolingo) and because of that Raeca has been picking up on a few things and wanting to learn more. Our full Spanish plan is here.

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION

    I don’t have a actual plan for physical education but we hope to put Raeca into gymnastics this fall, we have a family swim pass and plan on just generally spending time outdoors playing in nature and riding bikes.

    As for a schedule, my plan right now is to do Bible, language arts and math each day. Then Monday and Wednesday we will also add in science, Tuesday will be geography and Thursday will be history. Friday will be more of a fun day and we will work on music and art and then possibly learn through some computer games or videos. I still don’t have time slots for our Spanish or poetry tea time, I’m going to see after the first week or two where it fits in best.

    Our curriculum plans for homeschooling grade one and preschool.

    PRESCHOOL

    Ephraim is 3 years old and definitely different than Raeca was at 3. He doesn’t like to sit still for long, has little interest in coloring and even less interest in writing, so I don’t have huge expectations for the year but I do have a few goals.

    For most of the reading I do with Raeca he will be sitting with us and probably doing something with his hands like playing with Lego or Playdough. I also want a bit of a learning plan for him so that he can be busy doing something while Rae is working on her work because as a highly sensitive child she needs it to be fairly quiet when she is working.

    Originally my plan was to use one of the free curriculums I found online for preschool but they were all so much more intensive than I wanted. Since he doesn’t enjoy sitting for very long and doesn’t have the hand muscles to write yet, the last thing I want to do is try to do too much with him and turn him off. All I was looking for was something that would tell me one thing to do with him each day and I just couldn’t find something like that, so I did what I always do in that situation: DIY.

    I’ve started to create a nice simple three-year-old curriculum with one thing for us to do together each day. Since I’m making this up for myself I decided to share it for anyone else that wants to use it as well. So far I have the first month planned out but I’m hoping to sit down and plan out till Christmas soon.

    The curriculum (using that term very loosely) that I am creating will follow the goals that I have for Ephraim for this preschool year:

    • know uppercase and lowercase letters
    • count and recognize numbers to 20
    • correctly hold and use scissors
    • be able to correctly count objects
    • draw basic shapes
    • learn nursery rhymes (I’ve been slacking with him!)
    • recognize and print his name
    • begin learning letter sounds

    Check out the free preschool curriculum here! (I am actually kind of tempted to write out our grade 1 curriculum in this way as well, if that would be helpful for you let me know!)

    And that’s the gist of our plans for grade 1 & preschool!
    Here’s to the first day of the school year!

    Linking up with the Homeschool Nook

  • An Ancient History book list for the elementary grades. Perfect for making history come alive.
    book lists,  elementary,  history,  picture books

    Elementary Ancient History Books

    This year we will be taking some time to study the history of the world. It’s first grade so obviously we aren’t going to study the entire history of the world in one year but we are going to take some time each quarter to learn a little about one time period and I’m hoping we will build on this by going deeper throughout the years.

    I’ll explain our history plan a little more in-depth in a week or two, for today I wanted to share some of the books that we will be using as we study ancient times throughout elementary school. It can be hard to find books that are interesting to kids and yet still educational when it comes to history, I’ve been doing my best to gather this books for this list but I’d always love to hear your input if you have more suggestions!

    I’ve done my best to give a general grade guideline for when I think we’ll be using these books but nothing is set in stone yet.

    My upper elementary books are definitely lacking, I’d love some suggestions in this area, when it comes to the modern time period I found it easy to find books for this age range but am definitely struggling to find it for ancient times. I think all the books mentioned in this post can be used for grades 4-6 if they haven’t already read them but since we plan on doing them in grades 1-4 I’d like to find something different for grades 4-6.

    Ancient History Books for Elementary

    ANCIENT HISTORY BOOKS
    FOR ELEMENTARY

    GRADES 1-2

    The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War

    An ancient history lesson emerges from this account of the way the Greeks tricked the Trojans and rescued Helen of Troy. The book is well tailored to younger readers with careful explanations and short sentences; a pronunciation guide is appended. Drawings portray the story’s main events. A nice supplement to units on ancient Greece or mythology.

    Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found

    Beginning with the death of Tutankhamen, the book moves forward to archaeologist Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb. Information about ancient Egyptian life is interspersed in a clear, smooth fashion throughout. A good way to get readers into non-fiction.

     

    Pompeii…Buried Alive!

    The drama of natural disasters provides prime material to entice young independent readers. In this volume, the account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius describes village life 2,000 years ago, the eruption itself and its aftermath, and the excitement when the buried town is rediscovered centuries later. A lively and factual glimpse of a devastating moment in history, in an accessible, attractive package.

    GRADES 1-4

    What Was Pompeii?

    The morning of August 24, AD 79, seemed like any other in the Roman city of Pompeii. So no one was prepared when the nearby volcano Mount Vesuvius suddenly erupted, spouting ash that buried the city and its inhabitants. The disaster left thousands dead, and Pompeii was no more than a memory for almost 1,700 years. In 1748, explorers rediscovered the port city with intact buildings and beautiful mosaics. This easy-to-read account is gripping and includes photos of the ruins.

    Dinosaurs Before Dark

    Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?

    Sunset of the Sabertooth

    The Ice Age is very cool . . . for two kids in bathing suits! Jack and Annie nearly freeze when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the time of cave people and woolly mammoths. But nothing can stop them from having another wild adventure—not even a saber-toothed tiger!

    Afternoon on the Amazon

    Vampire bats and killer ants? That’s what Jack and Annie are about to run into when the Magic Tree House whisks them away to the Amazon River. It’s not long before they get hopelessly lost. Will they be able to find their way back to the tree house? Or are Jack and Annie stuck forever in the rain forest?

    Day of the Dragon King

    Who would burn books? Jack and Annie find out when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to ancient China. There, a powerful emperor called the Dragon King has ordered that all books be burned. Will Jack and Annie be able to save at least one book? Or will they be captured by the emperor’s soldiers?

    China: Land of the Emperors Great Wall: A Nonfiction Companion

    When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #14: Day of the Dragon King, they had lots of questions. Who was the Dragon King? How did he build the Great Wall? What is Chinese New Year? What are some other Chinese traditions? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about Chinese history and culture.

    Vacation Under the Volcano

    Who wants to vacation next to a volcano? Jack and Annie are about to find out when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the days of the Roman Empire. They arrive in Pompeii and soon discover that it is the very day the city will be destroyed. Now Jack and Annie must race against time to find an ancient library before it is buried in ash!

    Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion

    When Jack and Annie got back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #13: Vacation Under the Volcano, they had lots of questions. How did ancient Rome become an emipre? Where did ancient Romans go for fun? What happened to the Roman town of Pompeii? What have we learned from it? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts. Filled with up-to-date information, photos, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Magic Tree House Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discovered in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures. And teachers can use Fact Trackers alongside their Magic Tree House fiction companions to meet common core text pairing needs.

     

    Mummies in the Morning

    Jack and Annie don’t need another mummy. But that’s what they get when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to ancient Egypt. There they meet a long-dead queen who needs their help. Will Jack and Annie be able to solve the puzzle, or will they end up as mummies themselves?

    Mummies and Pyramids

    When Jack and Annie got back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #3: Mummies in the Morning, they had lots of questions. Why did people make mummies? What was the mysterious writing on mummy cases? How did most ancient Egyptians spend their days? How were the pyramids built? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts.

    Filled with up-to-date information, photos, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Magic Tree House Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discovered in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures. And teachers can use Fact Trackers alongside their Magic Tree House fiction companions to meet common core text pairing needs.

    GRADES 2-4

    You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy!: Disgusting Things You’d Rather Not Know

    For a wealthy ancient Egyptian, death is not the end: your body must be prepared for the afterlife. But it’s a fairly disgusting business, and you can’t be sure that you will always be treated with respect.

    You Wouldn’t Want to Be Cleopatra!: An Egyptian Ruler You’d Rather Not Be

    Get ready . . . you’re a princess born into the Egyptian royal family. But its not easy living in the palace. From family betrayals to Roman generals, you will discover its not easy being Cleopatra! Find out all about the eventful life, great loves, and tragic fate of the most famous of all Egyptian queens.

     

    GRADES 3-5

    Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona, A Young Slave

    Iliona never imagined that her sea voyage from Greece to Egypt would lead her to Rome. But when her ship is boarded by pirates, that’s where she ends up — as a slave. Separated from her brother, Apollo, Iliona is soon at the whim of her owners, and the chance of regaining freedom seems like a distant dream. But unlike her brother’s plight, Iliona’s life as a slave isn’t as bad as she feared: her new family provides clothing, food, and even schooling, and best of all, she is free to explore the wonders of Rome. Step back to AD 107 and take in the luxury of the baths, the splendor of the Senate, the thrill of gladiatorial combat, and the excesses of Roman feasts in a fictional diary full of excitement, humor, and accurate historical detail.

    Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht, Young Slave

    Who is plundering the tombs of ancient Memphis? A brother and sister solve the mystery in this diary full of intriguing details about daily life in Egypt 3,500 years ago.

    GRADES 4-6

    Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C.

    Established Dear America author Kristiana Gregory kicks off the Royal Diaries with the captivating story of young Cleopatra’s tumultuous life. Daughter of King Ptolemy Autletes, Pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra lives a life filled with opulence and mystery.