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The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance (Second Revised Edition) (Vol. 2) (Story of the World) Paperback – April 16, 2007
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Because it is written very simply and aimed at children from 1st through 4th grade, I had been supplementing this book with Greenleaf's Guide to Famous Men of the Middle Ages. However, if we study each of the "Famous Men" (which is confined to Europe and surrounding areas) in addition to all the topics in Story of the World, Volume 2 (which includes history from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia)-- well, we'd NEVER finish! For that reason, we decided to lay aside the Greenleaf Guides until their middle school years.
Susan Wise Bauer writes in a very engaging manner for young students. She writes as though she were speaking directly to them. My children just love the stories in this book! My son would read it all up in a day or two if I would allow him to.
This is the main book we use as our history spine. We supplement it with many library books that correspond to the chapter of SOTW that we are studying. I would not recommend using this book as your ONLY source of history. It is not intended to be used as such, and it simply cannot meet all your history needs.
To be honest, I am somewhat disappointed in the many spelling errors I have found in this book. Perhaps it was rushed to press because so many homeschoolers were eagerly awaiting the sequel to Volume 1. My son delights in finding the errors, and together we correct them in the text.
All in all, if you are looking for an easy way to introduce world history to your child, I recommend using this book as your entry point. When you reach a chapter that particularly interests your child, find LOTS of library books about that topic.
The book does a good job of providing a balanced look at the major events during the Middle Ages. The book will focus on one area of the world, going over the major events, who was in charge, and who accomplished some of the important things, like discovering America. Then the book will move on to another part of the world for a couple chapters.
Susan Wise Bauer did an excellent job of weaving in various parts of history. For example in talking about a culture the book might go into a major myth or story of the group. The variety in pacing flows nicely from history, to what it might have been like to live at the time in a given culture, to some of these myths, and then back again. This helps keep the children interested.
The book is just right for young children. When they are young they don't need another 1000 pages of details most of us forget anyways. This book is written in such away that young children really want to listen, they want to know what happened, and then what will happen next. They can develop a love for history such that they'll go back and read in more detail about the parts of history they found interesting.
If you are looking for a good book for young children covering the major events of world history during the Middle Ages, this is the best I've found.
The bad news: If you read modern history research, you'll find yourself frequently arguing with this book. I get a real sense that Bauer's not one to stray from the hide-bound school of history. Yes, she's clearly done a lot of research - but only in the We've Thought This Way For Decades And We're Not Admitting We Could Be Wrong Now libraries. I also dislike that certain things are presented in such a way that younger children would take them as fact.
A minor example would be the "Ring around the rosy" bit - Bauer writes that "Many historians think that this nursery rhyme got its start in the days of the Black Death." That's BS - the theory is specious, but the information is presented as fact. A child, however, can't be expected to know this, much less catch the subtle CYA of "Many historians think..."
On the other hand, Bauer's work has these things going for it:
- It covers world history - not exhaustively, but enough to teach a child that the world is a big place that contains more than just Europe and America.
- It's a good reference work for teaching history - even if you just buy it for ideas on major points to cover with your kid and then never expose them to it, it's a friendlier way to approach history than an encyclopedia. And speaking of which...
We enjoyed the first volume of this series, but I'm personally having a lot of problems with the second. Unfortunately, there aren't many books that fall in this category. The van Loon The Story of Mankind, Original Edition (Yesterday's Classics) is enjoyable, but I don't feel it covers world history as well as this series has so far.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best story's my son listens to the entire series on repeat, but the price is a bit of a jokePublished 20 days ago by Bryan Brown
This product is great for homeschooling, however the narrator vocals are a bit flat when reading the book.Published 1 month ago by jedi rose
I can't say enough about how much we love these CD's. We love history and these stories are interesting for every age group. We like to listen to each volume in order yearly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Karen
Story of the World Volume 2 The Middle Ages "From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance" is authored by Susan Wise Bauer. Read morePublished 2 months ago by K. Alphs