This year in our homeschool we will be studying the period of Christendom–the Middle Ages beginning with Constantine and the Edict of Milan in AD 313, going through the Reformation, and ending with Elizabeth I of England’s ascension to the throne in 1558.
First semester will be devoted to the history and literature of the Middle Ages, with the spine holding together our Western civilization and culture studies being The Story of the Middle Ages by H.A. Guerber, edited and expanded by Christine Miller. (Note: I have used the eBook version of the Guerber/Miller books in the past because they are less expensive, but this year I ordered the physical printed book, and I am convinced it was the right decision and worth the extra $10. Each chapter is 1-2 pages, in a full 9×12 book, with illustrations throughout. It’s just a better format.) I love the Guerber/Miller histories because they are beautifully written (not silly) living histories, written for elementary aged children, with a distinctively Christian worldview.
We will supplement our spine with several other overview (spine) type books that we own–Famous Men of the Middle Ages by Poland and Haaren, edited and expanded by Rob Shearer; Young People’s Story of the Medieval World by Hillyer and Huey; Story of the World: The Middle Ages by Bauer (not pictured); and The Discovery of New Worlds by M.B. Synge.
And finally, we will enrich our studies and our imaginations with beautiful living literature centered on the medieval time period–knights and ladies, castles and kings.
Below you will find my list of Medieval Living Books, with the history spines listed at the top, followed by living picture books and living chapter books. I have included the titles, authors, illustrators (where applicable), and publishers, as well as a place to check off if you own a book or if your library has the book. All of these books were chosen for their beauty of language and their beauty of illustrations.
Also below, I have taken the Guerber/Miller The Story of the Middle Ages and divided it up into 15 weeks of readings and then divided up the picture books and chapter books to match the content that will be covered in The Story of the Middle Ages for each week. In the same document, I have also divided up the content of Famous Men of the Middle Ages, Story of the World: Middle Ages, and The Discovery of New Worlds to match the content in The Story of the Middle Ages for supplementary reading. This is not to say that I will read all of these books aloud in the “assigned” week or that I will force my children to read all the week’s assigned books (though my oldest is a voracious reader and could probably handle that pace). This is for the purpose of making these books available for my upper elementary aged children in their free reading pile for each week to help them make connections with what we are learning in history and ignite their hearts and imaginations and virtues through examples of good and evil in beautifully crafted stories. I will likely read some of these selections aloud over the semester, and some of these selections they will be required to read and narrate. I won’t sweat it if they read one of these books in the “wrong” week (and, actually, they pounced on this stash already and have devoured several during the summer).
Feel free to download these lists for your own personal use! I hope you enjoy these books as much as our family does.