Thursday, October 27, 2016

Our Ancient History Book List & Reviews

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As we roam through Ancient History one more time I wanted to make a list of all the books we've used & leave quick snippets about them. The idea being that it's there to look back on, a solid firm list of books! This is always fun when, years down the track someone says, "Hey do you remember the story about.." Generally we do, but now & again the little quote or snippet is so random that we need a little help in aiding ourselves along.

Leaving lists & reviews is also a fun way for us to look back on our homeschooling years & say, "Wow, that was so much fun.." or "Wow, what on earth was I thinking?!"  or "No wonder we really hated that!" Have you ever cleaned out an old notebook or file folder & stumbled across the funny notes, schedules, & projects you outlined? Oh my, what a trip down memory lane that can be, right?

We'll be adding to this list as we go along considering we're in the early throws of Ancient Egypt in our current trek in time. While the list will grow & expand as we spend a year traipsing through remote villages, climbing sandy dunes, peering in aqueducts, & meandering through castles understand that while each book added to our list will have been read, it doesn't mean that each one was read every time we passed through this time period in history.

Sometimes a book is so amazing we read it over & over, other times I know a book will appeal to one child, but not to the other. The eldest child has the {mis}fortune of being the guinea pig in many areas of life, & the homeschool world is no different. So there may be books we forced ourselves to get through when he embarked on this journey that we won't waste time with this go-around. That doesn't happen often, but the mere mention of Charlemagne will elicit groans, hisses, & grumblings in this house.

Please, also note that at this time we currently buy all our books {if possible} through Book Depository who ships free to us even all the way over here in Australia. Its a blessing considering the vast amount of books we devour each year. Due to shopping with Book D {as they are called in our home} all the book links in this post {unless not possible} will be through our beloved Book D. This means the links will also have an affiliate code in them. This simply means that if you buy a book through our affiliate link we'll be blessed with a tiny bit of profit from the sale.

Ancient History Book List:


Story Of The World Volume 1 has been the spine we've used with both kids as they begin their voyage through time. This volume is written in story form & doesn't begin with Creation or Evolution but begins with a place in time where people are all ready wandering earth. The author has skill fully avoided the topic that brings the most angst to many homeschoolers. We use the audio version The new audios use the terms BCE & CE which my children are aware of their meanings all though in our own personal dating we prefer to stick with BC & AD.

It took 2 of us a little time to grow accustomed to the voice narrating these books without finding the voice droll & boring. I hate admitting that because I know the narrator is well loved amongst many, but over time we found that we didn't mind at all. The other person never had an issue with the narration & has always sat enraptured when these stories come out.

Mystery Of History Volume 1 is another spine we use. The thing about history is that there is always bias. Mind you, that tends to be true of many subjects.. Having said that I really love to have more then one spine going for my children so that they can get the view of more then one side of any given situation. It brings about lively discussions & many questions that we each have to pause to consider.

In this case our second spine is written from a Christian view point so it begins with Creation & weaves in many familiar faces & stories the children have heard about since they were very very little. I really love that they get the opportunity to see where each of these stories fit into history & understand that what happens in the Bible is not some seperate time in history, but a true unfolding of the world. I must note that the author has written this book from a young earth perspective, you can adjust dates as needed if you need/want.

Again we've opted to use the audio version of this particular book, & again some of us have really struggled with the narrator. In this case the author has narrated her own audio books & her love for both Christ & her topic are very evident, but unfortunately there are many other noises that are evident & for those of us with hyper sensitive hearing they are equally nerve grating to hear. Like the other spine, we also purchase these audios in MP3 format directly from the author's own website.

Kings & Carpenters is part of the 100 Ancient Job series that my kids have really loved. We own all the but one of the lovely books in this series, & this particular one covers jobs that are considered Biblical land jobs. Basically discussing the life & cultural times from being King or Queen to yoghurt maker. All the jobs are broken down to where you'd have lived or worked & put into fun little chapters.

The cartoon style drawings & comic bubble speech give some humour to some pretty nitty gritty jobs. We love reading the various jobs & at the end of each chapter we pick the job we'd take out of all the options available. Sometimes it's not too hard to pick, I mean who might not relish being king or queen for a day? On the other hand, sometimes it's really hard because you'll be stuck picking between jobs like urine collector or urine provider. 

A Child's Geography Of The World Vol 2: Explore The Holy Land is a book I picked up in a scratch & dent sale a few years ago in hopes of using it alongside our last voyage through Ancients, but our plates were full with plenty of other things & we never got to it. I pulled it back out in hopes of using this time through, & we've been a little hit or miss with it. The idea was that we'd read half a chapter a week, but we've only gotten to it once so far.

The book is very simplistically written, but then I think it may be the way the author is writing to the child. It was written for a wide range of ages so that may explain the feeling of simplicity in some areas. We're not using it as written, just reading through the chapters & mapping the locations that are mentioned in the books. The idea being really to help give a little more cultural relevance to the times & places we are studying.

Timna is a story about the life of Noah, his sons, & their wives. Timna is the wife of Hamm, & the youngest of all to enter the ark. She struggles prior to boarding the ark with the family that she knows will be left behind & the fact that they won't believe that God has spoken to Noah. She also battles the poor relationship she has with a sibling who finds the whole situation foolish.

The story is told from the view of Timna & has a feminine flair to it. By this, I mean that Timna is an outspoken women in the story who is both strong willed & full of questions. While this may be a modern day norm, I find it hard to imagine it would have been the case in Timna's time. There's also a point in the story where Noah's own wife seems to lose faith during the 40 days & nights of rain which I found a little odd. It's hard to imagine that any family who found such favour in God's eyes would lose their faith. Stressed? Yes, absolutely, but doubtful? No.

Having said that, we did enjoy this book & the perspective it gave us for both cooking & living on the ark. The author covered ideas for how she felt the women would have cooked, their daily duties, the worship the family would have participated in, & even how the toilets would have worked. Note: We read the Kindle version of this book.

The Golden Goblet is the first book I've given each child when we embark into Ancients. Generally because it's often the first book scheduled in the various curriculums we used, & for good reason! Ranofer's story is wrought with danger & intrigue as we follow his journey.

I found that this book was hard for both of my kids to put down & they were each eager to get to it each day. It's not always an easy reader, Ranofer's older brother, Gebu, is abusive both physically & mentally to him. Ranofer has no parents to fall back to during this situation & must find his own way to seek truth, courage, & justice to upset the evil that his own brother is plotting.

The final few chapters are edge of your seat reads & each time through we lose a child until they reach the conclusion & breathe a sigh of relief.

Lamps, Scrolls, & Goatskin Bottles is one we've had on the shelf for a while. It's used in the Winter Promise Ancient's curriculum which we used, in part at least, with Morgan. This was one of those many books that we had great intentions about with him, but didn't get to.

It was first on our list this go around with Jayde who is often far more interested in the cultures & non-fiction books then his older brother. This book has been a lot of fun to read through. Each chapter covers a different cultural view point of the Near Middle East {I believe the author dubs it} & references things that are true both now & back in Ancient times.

There are plenty of pictures of items, scriptural references, & even cultural explanations of why certain verses make the references they do. Each chapter has a list of crafts or recipes, & some worksheets you could copy if you were so inclined. We're just enjoying reading the book at this point & haven't indulged in the fun extras.

Pharaohs & Foot Soldiers is another title in the Ancient Job series. This book starts out with an explanation on how timelines work & why the terms BCE & CE are used as well as how the terms BC & AD were formerly used. From there it dives into a quick explanation of Ancient Egypt that spans a few pages & discusses both the pecking order of things as well as some of the gods the Ancient Egyptians would have known about. There's a quick glossary & a timeline that expands over a few pages as well to give you a bird's eye glimpse of life during this time frame.

Then the real fun begins with the various chapters based on the many jobs you could have in Ancient Egypt. Again, we tend to read these books at the pace of 2 pages per day until we are done. As we read through the chapters we often select which job we would have least minded & which job we would have really hated.

We likely won't use this book with Jayden as he remembers it quite well from the last time through. That kids memory is amazing! As he remembers it so well, I'll put it on display & he can pursue it at his leisure & we'll have room for other books that he's less familiar with.


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