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CuriousMomof3

Secular world history, particularly an Audiobook or eBook/Kindle book?

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I really like the idea of Story of the World, or The Story of Civilization, but I'm not sure that a religiously influenced text is right for us.  

Is there something similar that is secular?  Or a place to go to find resources that can be combined to make a complete story?  

I've seen these resources:

The Story of Science -- which we'll definitely do, and which my son will love, but would want to supplement with resources that talk about what else was going on at the same time.

Horrible Histories -- sounds like lots of fun

DS is 9, entering 5th grade.  He reads and comprehends well above grade level, so materials at a higher level would be great, but he also enjoys a lot of stuff aimed at his age level.    He spends a lot of time in the car, and other situations where it's hard for him to read, so Audiobooks would be perfect, but he also enjoys ebooks like Kindle books.  If something is fantastic, and only available on paper that works too.

I'm not particularly looking for other things like activity books, or videos, but other people reading might be, so feel free to suggest them! 

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Curiosity Chronicles is one you didn't already mention. It would fit based on your son's age and it certainly wouldn't hurt as an overview spine and then you can just add more challenging texts on the topics that pique his interests. One neat aspect of Curiosity Chronicles is one of the suggested activities is to build a Minecraft world with different things from your history studies like a ziggurat when studying ancient civilizations, experiment with how a civilization might live with a river that floods on a schedule by playing with water blocks in Minecraft, build a house inspired by the civilization you are currently studying and a lot more. Not every chapter has a Minecraft suggestion, it is just sprinkled in here and there but it is definitely something that could draw in a slightly older student and a unique way to "journal" your history studies for sure. They do plan to put out a middle school text but not until they are done with the elementary school texts. I do think that it would be fine as a "whet their interest' type thing for a late elementary school child and then supplement with books that are more at their level.

My youngest son, a first grader, is using the Curiosity Chronicles: Ancients this year and one chapter tends to be a lot of information for him to digest at once. I'm sure we will re-listen to the audiobook many times throughout elementary school and even into middle school if they don't come out with the middle school text in time.

My older kids loved Horrible Histories, the books and the show, around that age. Amazon has Horrible Histories on Prime Video for $10 a season (3 seasons) or $2 an episode. The TV show is definitely very British and kids seem to either love it or hate it. Mine loved it but ymmv. It would definitely be worth it to try and episode or two before investing in the entire thing.

Pandia Press is coming out with a new history reader that is definitely aimed at a slightly older audience (I'd say late elementary school to early middle school). The only have sample chapters right now as far as I know but it might be worth a look if you are looking for secular.

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6 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

Curiosity Chronicles is one you didn't already mention. It would fit based on your son's age and it certainly wouldn't hurt as an overview spine and then you can just add more challenging texts on the topics that pique his interests. One neat aspect of Curiosity Chronicles is one of the suggested activities is to build a Minecraft world with different things from your history studies like a ziggurat when studying ancient civilizations, experiment with how a civilization might live with a river that floods on a schedule by playing with water blocks in Minecraft, build a house inspired by the civilization you are currently studying and a lot more. Not every chapter has a Minecraft suggestion, it is just sprinkled in here and there but it is definitely something that could draw in a slightly older student and a unique way to "journal" your history studies for sure. They do plan to put out a middle school text but not until they are done with the elementary school texts. I do think that it would be fine as a "whet their interest' type thing for a late elementary school child and then supplement with books that are more at their level.

My youngest son, a first grader, is using the Curiosity Chronicles: Ancients this year and one chapter tends to be a lot of information for him to digest at once. I'm sure we will re-listen to the audiobook many times throughout elementary school and even into middle school if they don't come out with the middle school text in time.

My older kids loved Horrible Histories, the books and the show, around that age. Amazon has Horrible Histories on Prime Video for $10 a season (3 seasons) or $2 an episode. The TV show is definitely very British and kids seem to either love it or hate it. Mine loved it but ymmv. It would definitely be worth it to try and episode or two before investing in the entire thing.

Pandia Press is coming out with a new history reader that is definitely aimed at a slightly older audience (I'd say late elementary school to early middle school). The only have sample chapters right now as far as I know but it might be worth a look if you are looking for secular.


Thank you!  The Curiosity Chronicles sounds great!  Do you think we could just do the Audiobook for it, or are there lots of pictures and things in the print books that would make it worth investing in as a companion?  

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10 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


Thank you!  The Curiosity Chronicles sounds great!  Do you think we could just do the Audiobook for it, or are there lots of pictures and things in the print books that would make it worth investing in as a companion?  

We bought the digital kit, all the digital books and the audio book. The book has some pictures and a timeline across the bottom of the pages and we do look at the pictures and timeline on the computer but I think you could definitely just do the audiobook if that's what you wanted to do. A history encyclopedia (Usborne and Kingfisher I think are the two that are cross referenced in the activity guide) would be more than adequate for pictures and timeline information if you wanted to skip the CC book entirely and just use the audiobook and activity guide. The book is really clunky to read because of the dialogue style. It is written like a play in the book not so fun to read aloud. The audiobook is definitely the better of the two products in my experience.

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1 hour ago, sweet2ndchance said:

Curiosity Chronicles is one you didn't already mention. It would fit based on your son's age and it certainly wouldn't hurt as an overview spine and then you can just add more challenging texts on the topics that pique his interests. One neat aspect of Curiosity Chronicles is one of the suggested activities is to build a Minecraft world with different things from your history studies like a ziggurat when studying ancient civilizations, experiment with how a civilization might live with a river that floods on a schedule by playing with water blocks in Minecraft, build a house inspired by the civilization you are currently studying and a lot more. Not every chapter has a Minecraft suggestion, it is just sprinkled in here and there but it is definitely something that could draw in a slightly older student and a unique way to "journal" your history studies for sure. They do plan to put out a middle school text but not until they are done with the elementary school texts. I do think that it would be fine as a "whet their interest' type thing for a late elementary school child and then supplement with books that are more at their level.

My youngest son, a first grader, is using the Curiosity Chronicles: Ancients this year and one chapter tends to be a lot of information for him to digest at once. I'm sure we will re-listen to the audiobook many times throughout elementary school and even into middle school if they don't come out with the middle school text in time.

My older kids loved Horrible Histories, the books and the show, around that age. Amazon has Horrible Histories on Prime Video for $10 a season (3 seasons) or $2 an episode. The TV show is definitely very British and kids seem to either love it or hate it. Mine loved it but ymmv. It would definitely be worth it to try and episode or two before investing in the entire thing.

Pandia Press is coming out with a new history reader that is definitely aimed at a slightly older audience (I'd say late elementary school to early middle school). The only have sample chapters right now as far as I know but it might be worth a look if you are looking for secular.

 

Just wanted to clarify on the Horrible Histories. I think he will probably love them, I just think (based on online reviews because I haven’t bought them yet) that I might want to combine them with something that shows the non-horrible bits of history so to speak?  Similar to how I think I might need something about the non-science pieces to supplement the Story of Science.

Plus, it seems like you really need the pictures to appreciate both of those.  

So the Curiosity Chronicles might work really well.  So it might be perfect for filling in gaps, and also in the car and other times where looking at a book makes him motion sick.

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Not all the skits in Horrible Histories are horrible and the books definitely give more than just the horrible bits. Sometimes it appeals to a child's sense of potty humor like explaining how the Thames was used as a sewer system. Or one that sticks out in my mind because my boys absolutely loved it was a skit called "Stupid Deaths" that recalls different funny ways that people have died in history. Other times it talks about how bad it must have smelled in medieval times because you bathed once a month or so if you're lucky. It relays some facts about the time and then some obscure things that kids just find interesting because it's gross or funny or just intriguing. If your family doesn't appreciate gross humor, you might not like it. If you aren't accustom to British humor, the show might seem odd or offputting. My kids enjoyed the shows and then the books. I don't think they would have liked the books without the shows first and their father is British so they were quite accustom to British humor.

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2 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

Not all the skits in Horrible Histories are horrible and the books definitely give more than just the horrible bits. Sometimes it appeals to a child's sense of potty humor like explaining how the Thames was used as a sewer system. Or one that sticks out in my mind because my boys absolutely loved it was a skit called "Stupid Deaths" that recalls different funny ways that people have died in history. Other times it talks about how bad it must have smelled in medieval times because you bathed once a month or so if you're lucky. It relays some facts about the time and then some obscure things that kids just find interesting because it's gross or funny or just intriguing. If your family doesn't appreciate gross humor, you might not like it. If you aren't accustom to British humor, the show might seem odd or offputting. My kids enjoyed the shows and then the books. I don't think they would have liked the books without the shows first and their father is British so they were quite accustom to British humor.

 

I think he will love them, I just thought that maybe it would make sense to also have other resources.

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Absolutely. Never hurts to have multiple resources. My overflowing bookcases can attest to that lol. I just wanted to put the information out there that Horrible Histories is more funny and intriguing information about history than "horrible" like discussing just the wars or less savory times in history. :-)

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The discussion of Horrible Histories has me wanting to share two more books that might be of interest. These intrigued everyone in the house up to and including my husband. I suspect they'd be fine for a nine year old reading above his/her grade level.

Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff

 "Kids love stuff that's gross. From the liquids, solids, and gases--especially the gases!--or their own bodies to the creepy, crawly, slimy, slithery, fetid, and feculent phenomena in the world at large, kids with a curious bent just can't get enough. Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty brings together, in one book, all the good things about some of the baddest things on Earth.

Exhaustively researched and impeccably scientific, yet written with a lively lack of earnestness, Oh, Yuck! is an ants to zits encyclopedic compendium covering people, animals, insects, plants, foods, and more. Here are vampire bats, which sip blood and pee at the same time so that they'll always be light enough to fly away; and slime eels, wreathed in mucus and eating fellow fish from the inside out. Oh, Yuck! explains why vomit smells; where dandruff comes from; what pus is all about; and why maggots adore rotting meant. Other features include gross recipes, putrid projects, 10 foods that make you airborne, and more."

 and

Oh, Yikes!: History's Grossest Wackiest Moments by Joy Masoff

 "If kids think pus and gas are fun, wait until they hear the lowdown on the real Dracula, samurai, gladiators, guillotines and vomitoriums, pirates, Vikings, witch trials, and the world’s poxiest plagues. Impeccably researched, deliciously wry, and subversively educational (check out the toilet-paper timeline), OH, YIKES! covers people, events, institutions, and really bad ideas, alphabetically from April Fool’s Day to zany Zoos. Here are the Aztecs, sacrificing 250,000 people a year for the gods—and for food. Fearsome Attila the Hun, scourge of the steppes whose spinning eyes terrified his friends and whose mastery of horses terrorized his enemies (how does someone so evil die? Nosebleed!). Saur, the 11th-century dog-king of Norway (and not too bad as kings go). Henry VIII and his marital problems, the story of the Abominable Snowman and the Loch Ness Monster, why sailors in the old days preferred eating in the dark (hint: you can’t see what’s crawling in your food), and the answer to the question, “How did knights in armor go to the bathroom?”

Topped off with hundreds of illustrations and photographs along with hands-on activities that bring the past to life, OH, YIKES! puts the juice in history in a way that makes it irresistible. "

Regards,

Kareni

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8 minutes ago, Kareni said:

The discussion of Horrible Histories has me wanting to share two more books that might be of interest. These intrigued everyone in the house up to and including my husband. I suspect they'd be fine for a nine year old reading above his/her grade level.

Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff

 "Kids love stuff that's gross. From the liquids, solids, and gases--especially the gases!--or their own bodies to the creepy, crawly, slimy, slithery, fetid, and feculent phenomena in the world at large, kids with a curious bent just can't get enough. Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty brings together, in one book, all the good things about some of the baddest things on Earth.

Exhaustively researched and impeccably scientific, yet written with a lively lack of earnestness, Oh, Yuck! is an ants to zits encyclopedic compendium covering people, animals, insects, plants, foods, and more. Here are vampire bats, which sip blood and pee at the same time so that they'll always be light enough to fly away; and slime eels, wreathed in mucus and eating fellow fish from the inside out. Oh, Yuck! explains why vomit smells; where dandruff comes from; what pus is all about; and why maggots adore rotting meant. Other features include gross recipes, putrid projects, 10 foods that make you airborne, and more."

 and

Oh, Yikes!: History's Grossest Wackiest Moments by Joy Masoff

 "If kids think pus and gas are fun, wait until they hear the lowdown on the real Dracula, samurai, gladiators, guillotines and vomitoriums, pirates, Vikings, witch trials, and the world’s poxiest plagues. Impeccably researched, deliciously wry, and subversively educational (check out the toilet-paper timeline), OH, YIKES! covers people, events, institutions, and really bad ideas, alphabetically from April Fool’s Day to zany Zoos. Here are the Aztecs, sacrificing 250,000 people a year for the gods—and for food. Fearsome Attila the Hun, scourge of the steppes whose spinning eyes terrified his friends and whose mastery of horses terrorized his enemies (how does someone so evil die? Nosebleed!). Saur, the 11th-century dog-king of Norway (and not too bad as kings go). Henry VIII and his marital problems, the story of the Abominable Snowman and the Loch Ness Monster, why sailors in the old days preferred eating in the dark (hint: you can’t see what’s crawling in your food), and the answer to the question, “How did knights in armor go to the bathroom?”

Topped off with hundreds of illustrations and photographs along with hands-on activities that bring the past to life, OH, YIKES! puts the juice in history in a way that makes it irresistible. "

Regards,

Kareni


I think all my kids would love those!  

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2 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I think all my kids would love those!  

I hope they will.

Regards,

Kareni

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I haven't found Story of the World religious as such. it looks at bible stories just as it looks at stories from Greece, India, Africa etc. not in a religious way but rather looking at traditional stories from other cultures.

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I've used a bunch of different books at different times with my kids. It's easy to find online, ebook, or audiobook versions of most of these. I'm putting the Amazon links but just google the titles from Project Gutenberg or from Archive.org and see if you can find .pdf's which can help you choose the best reading level for your son. 

A Little History of the World https://www.amazon.com/Little-History-World-Histories-ebook/dp/B004YKSXYW I felt this was very elementary so your boy may be past it. 

A Child's History of the World https://www.amazon.com/Childs-History-World-V-Hillyer/dp/8087888545 Get an edited version with the newer chapters. The older versions have beautiful images but chapters 2-4 include some super-racist language that was edited out with the newer versions. My daughter loved this one at ages 8, 9, 10 but I also made her read other stuff in addition to this.

Builders of the Old World https://www.amazon.com/Builders-Old-World-Gertrude-Hartman/dp/B0007IWW0G I'm going to use this with my next kid as she ages into older elementary stuff. It's good but needs to be fleshed out with stuff from other cultures.

The Story of Mankind https://www.amazon.com/Story-Mankind-Updated-Liveright-Classics/dp/0871407159/ My 10 year old is aging into this one. It has updated versions as well but an original is ok here. 

The caveat is that all of these "vintage" world history books need to be complemented with modern documentaries and history encyclopedia's such as Usborne or Kingfisher (which is the one I would go for in your shoes). Schedule in a few biographies and map work/time-lining and you have yourself a great history plan. Additionally, even if the books for Story of the World aren't right for you, I found the Activity Guides are treasures of supplementary readings, definitions, maps, and activities. In fact I sold my volumes of Story of the World and kept all the Activity Guides. I'm also supplementing with occasional lessons from the Big History Project https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive and I will probably switch to that as my daughters age and organize my supplements around it.

Last, but not least, if your kid likes the vintage book route, and you guys do read a lot of ebooks, you may want to check out all the great resources from Gateway to the Classics, http://www.gatewaytotheclassics.com/browse/books_browse_by_genre.php, you can read some of these online, buy a big ebook treasury, or subscribe for other stuff.

Good luck, this is such a fun age for history.

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If you don't mind using videos, I would also supplement with Extra Credits history where applicable.   They have great videos my kids have enjoyed from age 8 to Teenager.  They are funny but respectful too.   It's deep dives into certain topics though, not an overview of general history.

Crash Course World and American History is more of that broad overview.    So, while Extra Credits might have five 10-minute episodes on a particular person, topic or incident in history, Crash Course covers a whole era in the same amount of time.   It's covered pretty well for the time restraints though, and does give a good overview.   It's also funny...and USUALLY pretty safe for kids now and then there's a joke that you might want to skip (so you will probably want to preview....but it's short enough thats not hard).

TedEd is a third one that is really good.   I haven't found a chronological list of their yet but I'm working on one (if I remember I'll get it up soon).  If we are planning to learn about a specific topic I usually just search YouTube under TedEd and the topic to see if they have anything on it. 

 

 

 

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