Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages
Volume Two picks up where Story of the World Volume One left off, and it tells the fascinating story of the “Dark Ages,” from the fall of Rome through the Renaissance. This volume has been written very similarly to the other also, with a very readable text, appropriate for young children, told in a clear and engaging style. Each of the many chapters is relatively short, and broken up into smaller chunks that are the perfect length for curling up together and reading aloud. Also like the preceding book, this story of history doesn’t limit itself to a dry, white-bread-without-the-crusts retelling of a primarily European history, instead it is a rich, whole wheat blend of European, Indian, Chinese, Australian, Arabic, Japanese, Jewish, Mongolian, Turkish, African, Russian, and American history during the period, providing the young student with a much more complete view of what was going on all around the world during that intriguing time period. To cover every event in each of these diverse histories would take a whole library, however, and just as Susan Wise Bauer tells us in her first volume, use this volume as a springboard to more detailed readings about any events that you and the children find interesting and want to learn more about. A timeline and an index are included at the back.
Like its predecessor, the Activity Book corresponds chapter-by-chapter with the text from the Story of the World readings, and the sections and activities are well-organized and easy to implement. Each chapter begins with review questions for the book. Narration exercises are also included, so that the child may write or dictate to you a summary of what they learned. A list of books for additional reading follows, each with a concise summary and an approximate reading level to help you find those most appropriate for your child’s ability and interest. Corresponding literature, consisting of more "story-like" volumes such as cultural tales and myths are also featured to liven up your history reading, lending a little more interest to those lovers of fiction. An excellent range of activities follow the reading lists, including map work, a coloring page, and projects, which include art, crafts, games, and other more "involved" activities. An abundance of opportunities for "beyond-the-book" learning about here, but as the author mentioned in the activity book for Vol. 1, you should not feel pressured to read every book and complete every activity - history studied in this manner should be a fun and enjoyable journey for all involved, not an endless checklist of items you "have to" complete to pass a test. These courses lend themselves very well to family study, and a lot of the activities would be much more enjoyable with at least a couple siblings or friends. Fortunately, Susan Wise Bauer has anticipated this, and has denoted chosen activities with a "C" to highlight its use as a good co-op or classroom activity. All in all, this looks like an very well-rounded, extremely enjoyable, and solidly chronological approach to history