Let me tell you something…history can be an extremely boring subject. Especially if you use curriculum that consists of one big, fat, 500 page textbook that has to cover the history of the entire WORLD in one year. So basically all you’re getting is every single fact, figure, and historical date that can be squeezed into the school year and all the interesting parts of history are left out.
That’s why I said history can be a boring subject. Anyone who says that history can never be interesting is lying because, think about it. History is every kind of story we like to read rolled up into one. We have myths and legends which are sort of like the fantasy and sci-fi genres. We have battles and quests which are like the action and adventure type stories. And then we have romance and intrigue and betrayal which can be stories all on their own, or can be sprinkled throughout some of those other types of stories. And the best part is, included in all that interesting stuff, there are facts and figures and important names and dates.
So why do most kids get taught history the other way?
I don’t know! The teachers are lazy, the kids are lazy, the curriculum writers are lazy and un-imaginative…
Whatever reason, I have found a solution. And that solution is: historical fiction.
Right now my favorite book series happens to fall under the category of historical fiction, the Bloody Jack series, by L.A. Meyer. I’ve read all eight of the books multiple times and I’m eagerly awaiting the ninth coming out this September.
These books are full of romance and adventure and lots of historical fact. From reading these books I’ve become interested in finding out more about the Royal Navy, the French Revolution and Napoleon, what was going on with the Indians in America after the Revolutionary War, and the woman pirate Cheng Shi. After reading about all these things in the various Bloody Jack books, I was inspired to look up these different events and learn more about them, and because they were things I was interested in myself, they’ve stuck in my memory more.
Other historical fiction I’ve enjoyed reading:
Mystery of the Roman Ransom
By the Great Horn Spoon
Treasures of the Snow
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Here's a site with World and American History reading lists: A Book In Time.
This site has lists of historical fiction books about epidemics that have occurred: ReadWriteThink.
Here's a site that has unit studies and lapbooks to go with some historical fiction books: Homeschool Share.