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Can you help me narrow down my middle ages/early renaissance reading list?

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Dd9 will be in fourth grade next year, but is accelerated and I am starting logic stage history and literature with her next year. We will be covering the Middle Ages/Early Renaissance era, and I have been compiling a list based on my re-reading of the WTM and many posts on this forum. However, there are so many great resources, and I am having a heck of a time narrowing my list down to something that is actually possible to cover within a one-year period! Can you help?

 

Dd is reading and comprehending at a high fifth grade or early sixth grade level for literature, and probably a solid fifth grade level for nonfiction where her comprehension is slightly weaker (probably from less practice in this area). We all love mythology and she especially loves adventure and magical stories. I'm trying to put together a list that is a good blend of history, mythology/legends, good literature that doesn't necessarily tie in with the historical time period we are covering, some decent historical fiction for fun, and a few introductory primary sources. The WTM recommendations are for sixth graders, so some will probably work for her and others might be a bit too much... I'm not ready to attempt Shakespeare with her except through a retelling, for example.

 

Here is what I have on my list currently, before making any cuts. I'd love to know if you think the spine resources I selected are appropriate (or overkill?) and which encyclopedia-type resource you would recommend from the two listed. I'd also love to know which "great books" and literature selections you would choose to cover and if any of the historical fiction titles are worth adding in. Am I missing any important selections? I realize I don't really have many non-western titles - any I should think about adding in? Any titles that will definitely be too difficult for her at this stage that I should save for our next pass through this time period in eighth grade?

 

Spine (independent reading)

  1. Story of the World Vol. 2 – for narrating
  2. Human Odyssey Vol. 1 and 2 – for outlining
  3. The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History OR The Dorling Kindersley History of the World-for making lists of facts (which one?)

 

Spine (family read-aloud)

  1. Middle Ages – Dorothy Mills
  2. Renaissance and Reformation Times – Dorothy Mills

 

Great Books/Mythology

(I want to choose some to read aloud (4 or 5?), and some for her to read independently (4 or 5?) and discuss with me.)

 

Nordic Gods and Heroes – Colum

Bullfinch’s Mythology

The Age of Chivalry and the Legends of Charlemagne – Pyle

Beowolf the Warrior – Serrallier OR Beowolf: A New Telling – Nye

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Tolkien

Canterbury Tales – McCaughrean

Prologue to the Canterbury Tales – Chaucer

The Inferno of Dante

Russian Fairy Tales – Avery

Tales from Shakespeare – Lamb OR Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare OR Shakespeare Stories - Leon

Mabinogion?

Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain

Utopia

Ivanhoe

The Saga of the Volsungs

The Sagas of Icelanders

1001 Arabian Knights

A Version of Le Morte d’Arthur: Jacobi? Lanier? Sutcliff? Green? Pyle? Other?

 

Other Supplemental History

(For her to read independently and for reference, writing biographical summaries, etc. - I may try to do some crossover with Writing With Skill)

Famous Men of the Middle Ages

Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages - Leon

Outrageous Women of the Renaissance

The Story of the Renaissance - Strauss

Saladin – Stanley

Good Queen Bess – Stanley

Joan of Arc – Stanley

Bard of Avon – Stanley

Monks to Mystics

The Mammoth Book of How It Happened: Eyewitness Accounts of Great Historical Moments – Lewis

Castle – Macaulay

Cathedral – Macaulay

The Viking World - Wingate

 

Historical Fiction (independent reading)

Son of Charlemagne – Willard

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver – Konigsburg

Adam of the Road – Historical Fiction

Otto of the Silver Hand

The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow

The Trumpeter of Krakow – Kelly

The Lantern Bearers – Sutcliff

Augustine Came to Kent – Willard

 

 

I’d also like to try a Jackdaw Portfolio or two – any recommendations?

 

Other Literature – not history related

Read aloud (maybe 2?) or read independently and discuss (3 or 4?):

Anne of Green Gables

Little Women

Treasure Island

O Henry Short Stories

The Phantom Tollbooth

Black Beauty

Alice in Wonderland

The Princess and the Goblin

A Little Princess

The Three Musketeers

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

My Side of the Mountain

Heidi

From the Mixed-up Files…..

Ballet Shoes

 

I'm so appreciative of any insight you can share. This is my first venture into logic stage planning and I am feeling a little out of my element! Thanks!!

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I do not know all the selections, but one thing jumped out at me:

with a 4th grader, even an advanced one, I would NOT cover the Inferno. That will largely be over her head. I'd save this for high school.

I would also save the Chaucer for high school, even if you were just planning to read the prologue.

And ditto for Utopia. She will get so much more out of it when she is a bit older.

 

I'd take the reading list as a jumping off point and see how things go; no way will you be able to cover all selections, but that is not a problem - just let your kid pick.

 

ETA: I tried various of the books you listed under historic fiction, as many are recommended in WTM. My kids did not really like them that much, and quite a few went back to the library barely read.

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I do not know all the selections, but one thing jumped out at me:

with a 4th grader, even an advanced one, I would NOT cover the Inferno. That will largely be over her head. I'd save this for high school.

I would also save the Chaucer for high school, even if you were just planning to read the prologue.

And ditto for Utopia. She will get so much more out of it when she is a bit older.

 

I'd take the reading list as a jumping off point and see how things go; no way will you be able to cover all selections, but that is not a problem - just let your kid pick.

 

ETA: I tried various of the books you listed under historic fiction, as many are recommended in WTM. My kids did not really like them that much, and quite a few went back to the library barely read.

 

 

Thanks so much. The titles you mentioned I was having doubts about as well, but since they were on the 6th grade list for WTM (except for Utopia, I think - not sure where I pulled that one from), I thought there might be a chance that they'd work as read-alouds. Thanks for the confirmation that I can happily save them for later.

 

There is so much good literature to cover from this period that the historical fiction is not a top priority for me, but I'm open to adding in a couple stand-out titles; it doesn't sound like they fall into this category for your family. :) Thanks for the feedback.

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I can share some things that worked (works) for my family, if that helps a little.

 

My older dd has read Renaissance and Reformation Times (we found the series by Dorothy Mills after we had finished the Middle Ages portion for her) and I created a guide for her. This guide incorporates primary source readings and may be a bit much for a 4th grader. My younger dd will be a 5th grader this fall and is an accelerated learner too. My blog (A MInd in the Light) has a page entitled Book Notes and you can find the guide here. I also have guides for books such as Bard of Avon and Good Queen Bess which are good for this time period. You are welcome to print whatever helps.

 

I would recommend these (and I will add in what I call challenge books for reading aloud) from your list:

 

Nordic Gods and Heroes

Canterbury Tales – McCaughrean

Russian Fairy Tales – Avery

Tales from Shakespeare – Lamb OR Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare OR Shakespeare Stories - Leon

1001 Arabian Knights

 

 

Supplemental

Saladin – Stanley

Good Queen Bess – Stanley

Joan of Arc – Stanley

Bard of Avon – Stanley

Castle – Macaulay

Cathedral – Macaulay

I don't have all of your supplements but others sound good too. We also add Arabs in the Golden Age to this time period.

 

Historical Fiction

Son of Charlemagne – Willard (older dd like this)

Adam of the Road – Historical Fiction (we didn't care for this)

Otto of the Silver Hand (both girls read and liked this one)

 

 

Read-Aloud Possible List:

Bulfinch's Mythology includes Age of Fable, Legends of Charlemagne and Age of Chivalry (Age of Fable does include norse mths so you may not need Nordic Gods and Heroes if you decide on this.) (Age of Chivalry includes the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood.)

Beowulf (We're reading the one translated by Burton Raffel and this has been a very easy read so far.)

Ivanhoe (Dd and I are about to start reading this soon...she has asked all year and I just haven't fit it into our schedule yet...I will make Book Notes for this, so you may wish to check back late this summer if you'd like to see them.)

 

I think all of your additional literature looks good. We've read almost all of those and we are reading Anne of Green Gables right now. I did create a study for my younger dd to better meet her needs and challenge her with Anne of Green Gables. You can find this guide under Book Notes too. I have combined Anne with Evangeline (by Longfellow) and a historical supplement entitled Evangeline and the Acadians (Landmark). Along with Ivanhoe, I had been promising her that we would read Evangeline. Since the area of the Acadians included Prince Edward Island, I decided to combine these together. :)

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I can share some things that worked (works) for my family, if that helps a little.

 

My older dd has read Renaissance and Reformation Times (we found the series by Dorothy Mills after we had finished the Middle Ages portion for her) and I created a guide for her. This guide will incorporate primary source readings and may be a bit much for a 4th grader. My younger dd will be a 5th grader this fall and is an accelerated learner too. My blog (A MInd in the Light) has a page entitled Book Notes and you can find the guide here. I also have guides for books such as Bard of Avon and Good Queen Bess which are good for this time period. You are welcome to print whatever helps.

 

Thanks so much! I do think the guide to the Mills book is a little advanced, but definitely may come in handy during our next cycle. The guides for the Stanley books look great; I will definitely be referencing these! I like that you have pulled out vocabulary, and your lists of names from the reading will be a great refrerence for summarizing. I appreciate you sharing these. :)

 

I would recommend these (and I will add in what I call challenge books for reading aloud) from your list:

 

Nordic Gods and Heroes

Canterbury Tales – McCaughrean

Russian Fairy Tales – Avery

Tales from Shakespeare – Lamb OR Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare OR Shakespeare Stories - Leon

1001 Arabian Knights

 

 

Supplemental

Saladin – Stanley

Good Queen Bess – Stanley

Joan of Arc – Stanley

Bard of Avon – Stanley

Castle – Macaulay

Cathedral – Macaulay

I don't have all of your supplements but others sound good too. We also add Arabs in the Golden Age to this time period.

 

Arabs in the Golden Age looks great, thanks.

 

Historical Fiction

Son of Charlemagne – Willard (older dd like this)

Adam of the Road – Historical Fiction (we didn't care for this)

Otto of the Silver Hand (both girls read and liked this one)

 

Ok, so at least one winner. Good to know. :D

 

 

Read-Aloud Possible List:

Bulfinch's Mythology includes Age of Fable, Legends of Charlemagne and Age of Chivalry (Age of Fable does include norse mths so you may not need Nordic Gods and Heroes if you decide on this.) It seems like this book would take care of several areas I'd like to touch on.

Beowulf (We're reading the one translated by Burton Raffel and this has been a very easy read so far.)

Ivanhoe (Dd and I are about to start reading this soon...she has asked all year and I just haven't fit it into our schedule yet...I will make Book Notes for this, so you may wish to check back late this summer if you'd like to see them.) Sounds great!

 

I think all of your additional literature looks good. We've read almost all of those and we are reading Anne of Green Gables right now. I did create a study for my younger dd to better meet her needs and challenge her with Anne of Green Gables. You can find this guide under Book Notes too. I have combined Anne with Evangeline (by Longfellow) and a historical supplement entitled Evangeline and the Acadians (Landmark). Along with Ivanhoe, I had been promising her that we would read Evangeline. Since the area of the Acadians included Prince Edward Island, I decided to combine these together. :)

 

My daughter already has a copy of Anne and has watched the miniseries with me, so we'll probably do this one for sure. Evangeline sounds like a good complement. I'll definitely look at your guide.

 

Thanks so much for sharing what's worked for you and all of your resources! Very helpful. :)

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ETA: I tried various of the books you listed under historic fiction, as many are recommended in WTM. My kids did not really like them that much, and quite a few went back to the library barely read.

 

 

 

We didn't like many of the "recommended" either. They may be good for you, but weren't very exciting. I'd suggest borrowing from the library, by ILL this summer if you have to, and prereading.

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We didn't like many of the "recommended" either. They may be good for you, but weren't very exciting. I'd suggest borrowing from the library, by ILL this summer if you have to, and prereading.

 

Thanks. It's kind of a bummer, I love historical fiction, but if it doesn't excite and make the time period come alive, then it's not really worth including.

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I just wanted to weigh in with a different opinion on the historical fiction selections. We did all of them except for the "A Proud Taste..." one. Haven't heard of it. :o I read them aloud to my kids and they quite enjoyed them, especially Adam of the Road. They really liked that one. Looks like we are the only ones on this thread. :lol: I'm not sure if it's because I read the books to them or if they are just weird in their taste in books but I thought I'd throw it out there. My dd did read Son of Charlemagne to herself and didn't care for it as much. Like I said, the others went over quite well when I read them to the kids.

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Here are my random thoughts:

 

I would go with Lamb's version of Shakespeare. Nesbit's version is too simplified for my tastes and I haven't read the other version you're considering.

 

I like Green's version of Arthur. Pyle seemed too flowery/difficult, and I haven't seen the others you have on your list.

 

My dd11 just finished a Beowulf version by H. E. Marshall. She didn't love the story, but it was easy reading for her, and she needed an easy literature read. She is also reading Bullfinch's Age of Fable (slowly, alternating days with easier reads). It's a tough book, but I think she's enjoying it. At least, once we slogged through the introduction, it became more interesting. When she gets done with that, she will move on to Age of Chivalry.

 

My older kids loved D'Aulaires book of Greek mythology.

 

We've also liked all the Stanley and Macaulay books we've gotten.

 

You're free reads look great.

 

I would pare down on the spines. I'd be tempted to just use SOTW and the Dorothy Mills books, but I don't do well with getting my kids to accomplish outlining or list making (yawn). I do like to have the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia around if they want to look something up. But I don't want history to take over my life by trying to do too much.

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I wanted to share with you that I've been working on Book Notes for Age of Fable, if you decide to include this book with your read-aloud list. You can find this under A Mind in the Light and then under Book Notes (just scroll down until you find the Age of Fable book title). I have the first 16 chapters completed so far... I do plan to complete the entire Bulfinch's Mythology and so will go on to write these for Age of Charlemagne and Age of Chivlary too.

 

:)

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I just wanted to weigh in with a different opinion on the historical fiction selections. We did all of them except for the "A Proud Taste..." one. Haven't heard of it. :o I read them aloud to my kids and they quite enjoyed them, especially Adam of the Road. They really liked that one. Looks like we are the only ones on this thread. :lol: I'm not sure if it's because I read the books to them or if they are just weird in their taste in books but I thought I'd throw it out there. My dd did read Son of Charlemagne to herself and didn't care for it as much. Like I said, the others went over quite well when I read them to the kids.

 

I think I'm going to try a couple and see how they go. A Proud Taste is about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and has pretty great reviews. I think I'm going to try that one and two others. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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Here are my random thoughts:

 

I would go with Lamb's version of Shakespeare. Nesbit's version is too simplified for my tastes and I haven't read the other version you're considering.

 

Thanks! I already own this version, so I'm glad to hear this. :)

 

I like Green's version of Arthur. Pyle seemed too flowery/difficult, and I haven't seen the others you have on your list.

 

I have this version already as well!

 

My dd11 just finished a Beowulf version by H. E. Marshall. She didn't love the story, but it was easy reading for her, and she needed an easy literature read. She is also reading Bullfinch's Age of Fable (slowly, alternating days with easier reads). It's a tough book, but I think she's enjoying it. At least, once we slogged through the introduction, it became more interesting. When she gets done with that, she will move on to Age of Chivalry.

 

I'm glad she's enjoying it. This one will definitely be a read-aloud for us.

 

My older kids loved D'Aulaires book of Greek mythology.

 

We LOVE the D'Aulaires mythology books. I may have her re-read their Norse myths independently this year. I'm sure she won't complain. :D

 

We've also liked all the Stanley and Macaulay books we've gotten.

 

Same here, two of our favorite history authors.

 

You're free reads look great.

 

I would pare down on the spines. I'd be tempted to just use SOTW and the Dorothy Mills books, but I don't do well with getting my kids to accomplish outlining or list making (yawn). I do like to have the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia around if they want to look something up. But I don't want history to take over my life by trying to do too much.

 

I definitely won't have her read every page of all of those books, but I wanted one that would be good for each type of exercise so I can alternate her writing assignments.

 

Thanks so much for your feedback, it was very helpful!

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I wanted to share with you that I've been working on Book Notes for Age of Fable, if you decide to include this book with your read-aloud list. You can find this under A Mind in the Light and then under Book Notes (just scroll down until you find the Age of Fable book title). I have the first 16 chapters completed so far... I do plan to complete the entire Bulfinch's Mythology and so will go on to write these for Age of Charlemagne and Age of Chivlary too.

 

:)

 

That sounds fantastic. Thanks so much!

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Okay, I have pared things down to this list:

 

Spine (independent reading)

  1. Story of the World Vol. 2 – for narrating
  2. Human Odyssey Vol. 1 and 2 – for outlining
  3. DK History of the World-for making lists of facts

Spine (family read-aloud)

  1. Middle Ages – Dorothy Mills
  2. Renaissance and Reformation Times – Dorothy Mills

Great Books/Mythology

 

Bullfinch’s Mythology (read-aloud)

1001 Arabian Knights (read aloud)

Tales from Shakespeare – Lamb (read aloud)

Beowolf the Warrior – Serrallier (read-aloud)

A Mountain of Marvels – Shepard (read-aloud)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Tolkien (read-aloud – this one is a maybe)

 

Canterbury Tales – McCaughrean (independent read)

St. George and the Dragon – McCaughrean (independent read)

Russian Fairy Tales – Avery (independent read)

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table – Green (independent read)

The Adventures of Robin Hood – Green (independent read)

D'Aulaires Norse Myths (independent read)

 

Other Supplemental History

 

Saladin – Stanley

Good Queen Bess – Stanley

Joan of Arc – Stanley

Bard of Avon – Stanley

Castle – Macaulay

Cathedral – Macaulay

 

History Books for Reference:

 

Famous Men of the Middle Ages

Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation

Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages - Leon

Outrageous Women of the Renaissance - Leon

The Mammoth Book of How It Happened: Eyewitness Accounts of Great Historical Moments – Lewis

The Viking World - Wingate

 

Historical Fiction (independent reading)

 

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver – Konigsburg

Otto of the Silver Hand - Pyle

The Trumpeter of Krakow – Kelly

 

Other Literature – not history related

Anne of Green Gables

Little Women

Alice in Wonderland

From the Mixed-up Files…..

Ballet Shoes

 

I'm hoping the female leads in these books will balance out the male-dominated history. ;)

 

Am I missing anything? Thanks so much for helping me think this through!

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No pearls of wisdom right now... I just had to laugh though, I am narrowing mine too. I have a ridiculous list for this year :lol: post-44299-0-07155200-1370531030_thumb.jpg

 

Wow, I think your list is even longer than what I originally started with!! Good luck, haha!

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Thanks. It's kind of a bummer, I love historical fiction, but if it doesn't excite and make the time period come alive, then it's not really worth including.

 

Generally I agree but I wanted to add that both of my sons loved A Single Shard, Adam of the Road, and the younger one read A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver and really liked it.

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