View Full Version : Middle School History Book

07-29-2012, 04:01 PM
I am looking for a good middle school history "text-book" for my daughter (6th grade).

She reads horrible histories books like they are candy, and I want to get her something with more depth, but it need to be fun. Why do all school books get so boring after 5th grade.....no color!!

She really wants something with pictures, art and maps; not just text and more text. All I remember from my high school history book are the pictures, so I agree with her that they are important.


07-29-2012, 04:15 PM
well, Joy Hakim's History of Us (the full set) would maybe work. I didnt find anything like that for world history. You might want to try browsing on amazon where you can drill down by topic and age and number of stars

07-29-2012, 05:01 PM
There's the NatGeo Visual History of the World (http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Visual-History-World/dp/0792236955/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343595562&sr=8-1&keywords=visual+encyclopedia+of+world+history), which might fit the bill if you're not looking for a spine in a narrative format. I'm thinking about buying this one for my rising 6th grader (and for me, as well) for this year.

07-29-2012, 05:07 PM
Couldn't originally find another one that I knew was out there--similar title, but this one is DK instead of NatGeo. My kids have a preference for NatGeo over DK, which tends to have a lot of little pictures on the two-page spread, which can be overwhelming for some students (i.e., mine).

History: the Definitive Visual Guide (http://www.amazon.com/History-Definitive-Visual-Civilization-Present/dp/075663119X/ref=pd_sim_b_3)

There's also an "essential" version of the NatGeo book (http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Essential-Visual-History/dp/1426200919/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343596007&sr=1-1&keywords=national+geographic+essential+visual+hist ory+of+the+world), but it only chops off about a hundred pages. Still, it might be worth comparing the two side-by-side if your library can get its hands on copies. Especially since the shorter one is about half the price. It's more recent, too.

Actually, any of the NatGeo history books (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=national+geographic+history) are worth taking a look at, if you're looking for something visual. There's even one that is called "interactive" (http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-History-Book-Interactive/dp/1426206798/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343596101&sr=1-1&keywords=national+geographic+history) (I suspect that means it has little envelopes with documents, etc. in it).

I'm a big believer in "try before you buy" which is why I almost always request books via ILL before making a final decision and purchase.;)

07-29-2012, 05:09 PM
Thanks! I'm looked up on Amazon and like the NatGeo Visual History of the world (wish I could search inside) and also the NatGeo History Book (which you can look in). The Joy Hakim books look great, but we will be on the road for most of the homeschool year so they would be a bit much to travel with. Maybe for next year!

We did purchase Short Lessons in World History, which is a history book / workbook and has great information for middle school, but I wanted something more to go along.

07-29-2012, 05:13 PM
Oooh, if you're road schooling, check out the audiobook of E.H. Gombrich's A Little History of the World (http://www.amazon.com/Little-History-World-Classic-Collection/dp/078617286X/ref=tmm_abk_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1343596308&sr=1-1). It's dated, but highly entertaining. DH and I listened to it on a road trip a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. We both learned some new things, too.

07-29-2012, 05:14 PM
No pictures in Little History, tho. but my older son used it in 9th grade and it was fun and very easy for him

07-29-2012, 05:19 PM
No pictures in any audiobook that I know of, :_p: but if you have one of the NatGeo books I could envision scavenger hunts in the book to find what the narrator is reading about.

07-29-2012, 05:34 PM
I meant the book version . . .

07-29-2012, 09:05 PM
I meant the book version . . .

;) Just foolin' with ya'! I knew what you meant--we have both versions here at home. But my very visual-spatial learners still enjoy audiobooks a lot--I think they can visualize in their heads what they are hearing.

08-01-2012, 02:28 PM
No pictures in Little History, tho. but my older son used it in 9th grade and it was fun and very easy for him

There's an illustrated edition. I haven't seen it myself, but the review says "The two hundred illustrations—most of them in full color—are not simple embellishments, though they are beautiful. They emerge from the text, enrich the author's intention, and deepen the pleasure of reading this remarkable work."

I stuck that edition on my wishlist - sounds like the illustrations might be worth the extra cost.

08-07-2012, 01:58 PM
I have used the History of the US - they have a DVD series as well (PBS- I was lucky enough to get it free from PBS). There is a lot of great lessons related online as well http://www.pbs.org/wnet/historyofus/ . I have also considered the audio version which would also be more portable. I noticed that on audible.com.

Emily Cook
08-19-2012, 03:41 PM
I agree with using Joy Hakim's A History of US, it's a great resource for the middle grades. Also, for world history, my dd really enjoyed The Human Odyssey. I found it used on amazon for a decent price - I only have the first text in the series, which covers ancients through the early middle ages. I think there's at least one more, maybe two. It's a bit like Story of the World, but for an older grade level.

08-23-2012, 02:31 PM
What about K12's Human Odyssey? Three volumes, covering prehistory to modern times, lots of visuals, and a well-flowing text.

08-30-2012, 07:10 AM
We use Story of the World.

The books are engaging and detailed all at the same time. Just the right amount of material in a chapter.

I've also begun cataloguing internet links to go with the series! We've been using the series for 7 years, and are starting on our 8th! Here's the link: Story of the World Blog (http://storyoftheworldblog.blogspot.ca/)
You'll find my internet links there as well as an Amazon direct link for the books.

Hope that helps!

Susan Mallaun Gilleland
11-18-2012, 12:58 PM
I'm new here (sorry I never introduced myself, I just jumped right in to read the forums). My kids found the Joy Hakim books for US History to be a little too....verbose....but they LOVE K12's Human Odyssey world history texts, so I just bought The American Odyssey, and it seems to be just as good. Wonderful pictures and maps, and great for reading aloud or reading independently. Since my daughter is very visual, I also ordered The National Geographic Visual History of the World to complement our second year of world history studies, but it hasn't come in yet. It looks like it will be a nice companion piece. I read aloud to her even though she is in Middle School, as she retains information better that way, so she can hold that book and check out the related photos as I read.

11-29-2012, 12:33 AM
Discovering our Past: A History of the World Early Ages (McGraw Hill) available both as hard back books with plenty of maps/photos/etc AND in an online version (convenient for travel).

12-27-2012, 08:22 PM
I would second or third k12's A Human Odyssey. We did k12 last year, but dropped it this year for various reasons. The one area we felt the curriculum excelled in was their history text (not necessarily the curriculum that went with it, though). But we bought our own text after withdrawing--both the first volume through the middle ages and the second volume, middle ages through modern day. My boys ages 11 and 13 have really enjoyed the books, and especially like the "stories" that are interspersed throughout the pure history.

01-01-2013, 11:40 PM
If you are roadschooling, you may want to do "local" history. Pick up books from local stores on roadside history, curiosity, weird history and such.

01-09-2013, 06:50 PM
We use the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.

The sections are divided into eras of about 150 years. Each section is two pages long and covers one specific topic. There are maps and key dates for most section as well as for the era as a whole. There are tons of pictures, too. My 7th grader has no problem reading and understanding it. I supplement with videos on about half of the sections.

It is not a textbook, but it was easy to utilize to write lessons. Let me know if you'd like more details.