I feel that my own knowledge is weakest when it comes to history. I’m pretty good with music history and church history, but the rest of it is a big jumble in my mind. When I think back to my history classes in public school, I remember lots of big textbooks with lots of bold words. And worksheets. And some maps.

We are doing history very differently in our homeschool. No textbooks. No worksheets. No bold words. (But yes to maps!) Instead, we are reading great books about the great events of history. Charlotte Mason educators choose one main “history spine,” which is simply a well-written and engaging book that acts as a more broad overview of history. From there, we supplement with fascinating books about particular events in history that hold our family’s interest. This post from Simply Charlotte Mason explains it better than I can. (Oh… and did I mention that the whole family can read and study history together? Such a time-saver.)

After we read a few pages, I ask for a narration. A narration is a telling-back, in the child’s own words, of what we just read. This is a crucial part of the Charlotte Mason method. When they tell the story back, they have to synthesize what they’ve been hearing into their own thoughts, conclusions, and observations. It also helps them remember what we’ve read to an astonishing degree. It’s really cool. There are lots of posts about narration out there. There’s even a book.

One of our history spines was Henry’s favorite book last year.There are a lot of opinions about which historical period to teach when, how often to repeat certain time periods, and so on. My history-buff homeschool friends love to discuss and sling history book recommendations. They can do it for hours. It’s amazing. I, on the other hand, am happy to have people tell me what to read. A very easy option is to get a history book pack from Beautiful Feet Books. They have different books packs for different grade groups (K-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12). Here’s the K-3 Early American History Pack.  (You can  also get these packs without any religious books so your charter school will pay for it.)Some of these books can be found at the library (or as an ebook), but others have only been recently republished. That’s the thing about really great literature. A lot of it is old and out of print. If a book pack seems like too much, here are some books that my family has enjoyed. Keep in mind that my oldest is currently in second grade, so these recommendations reflect that. Happy reading!

History “Spines”

Books About People and Events

(Note: These are all Amazon links, but some of these books can be found for less money at Beautiful Feet Books.)