Sunday, February 21, 2010

History is Fun

Who knew?  I remember very little of the history I learned in school.  I can guarantee you that it was the absolutely most boring subject we studied.  It was not until I was in college that I got a professor that made history interesting.  Really, though, even he did not make it nearly as interesting as what my children are experiencing.  he was one of the most dreaded professors at the university I attended because his classes were very difficult, but they were basic courses required for all majors.

Now, I am finding that history really is a story, actually many stories combined to create one lone story.  This is how my children are learning history.  They are reading amazing books and stories.  These books are slowly becoming some of Xavier's and Dominic's favorite books.  Gabriel has always been a history nut.  Xavier and Dominic are much more into science.  It makes my day when my 9-year-old son selects, as a book to occupy time while waiting, one of the history books on our shelves.

Because we love them so much, and want everyone to know what they are, here are a few of our favorites.  (Many of these are books that were required reading for either Sonlight or Ambleside Online. Ambleside Online has contributed the most to our favorite reading lists.  Even if you don't use their curriculum, their reading lists are worth checking out!)  Many of these books are available in the public domain.  If you have an iPod touch, or iPhone, you can download a couple apps that allow you to download many of these books for free- two of my favorite are the Kindle App-also available as a PC download (Amazon has many classics available for free as Kindle downloads!), and the Stanza app (all those Project Gutenberg books are available through this one!).

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshal - Also available free as part of the Baldwin Project, and an audio download in two parts.
Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin- Also available as a Kindle download for $1, and for free on the Baldwin Project.  (Dominic's favorite book!)

The Discovery of New Worlds  by M.B. Synge - Baldwin Project
The Little Duke by Charlotte Yonge (Xavier had a hard time getting into this one, but by the time he finished it, he was ecstatic with it.) - available as a free download on Project Gutenberg (which can be downloaded to an iPod/iPhone!)
Joan of Arc (We love ALL of Diane Stanley's books!)
Michelangelo by Diane Stanley
Good Queen Bess : The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley

The New World by Winston Churchill- This book is, sadly, out of print.  I got lucky and found the set of four for $25.  I asked at a local used book store, and she searched until she found it for me at a reasonable price.  Gabriel said The Birth of Britain was okay, but he absolutely loves this book.
A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror  by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen- This is Gabriel's favorite history books, hands down.
Voyage of the Armada by David Howarth- It looks like this book may be out of print.  We were able to check it out from the library.  Gabriel got so excited by this book that he came upstairs and gave Xavier a one hour lecture on the Spanish Armada.

So, those are our favorite history books, for now.  I'm sure that before the end of the year, we'll have more, but these are all excellent books worth your time.

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