I am really excited to start a new history rotation with Jenna. We are finally back in Ancients and I am excited. Our primary curriculum is going to be Mystery of History. We used it for our Logic Stage rotation with Rowan and loved it. Best of all is that I finally and for the first time, get to use one of my treasures.
Olive Beaupre Miller's, A Picturesque Tale of Progress.
It is a treasure for many reasons, not the least of which is that is the companion series to the books I grew up with, My Book House. I can't begin to tell you the hours I spent reading those books or the memories I have of my mother reading them to us. I remember each book, each story, each picture.
Imagine my delight to come across a mention of a whole series I had never known about and for history! My passion! We will be using it as our chosen "spine". The books which give us a nice chronological overview as we go through the Mystery of History and the living books I have chosen to go deeper into the time period.
When I first heard of it I immediately set off in search of a set for my own. I found one fairly quickly at a local used bookstore, but it was incredibly overpriced at $175 and I held off. My bargain book hunting skills have been honed to a fine point over my years as both a collector and a home-schooler and a short while later they were in my hands only $60 out of pocket. 9th printing, 1955, mint condition.
We will only be using the first four volumes for Ancients. Each book is richly illustrated with many explanations in small print and a summary of each book is at it's end. Like most of my favorite resources, these include Biblical history in it's time period along with the rest of the known world. The index of each volume as well as the 9th Index Volume are helpful in lining up each book with your chosen curriculum. While Jenna is more than capable of reading them on her own, I look forward greatly to doing these as "read alouds".
Beginnings I goes from 150,000 years ago to Tutankhamen and a short paragraph introducing the Persian conquest.
Beginnings II takes us from about 5000 BC Babylon to the Fall of Jerusalem
Conquests I tells us the story of Greece. It begins in the Mediterranean World around 1500 BC and takes us through to 323 BC and the Empire of Alexander the Great .
Conquests II teaches us of Rome from about 750 BC through the missionary travels of Paul til about 62 AD.
Here is a close up of several pages. The writing is wonderful, the illustrations rich, the explanations enriching. I love just holding these books in my hands.
Mrs. Miller was a woman after my own heart. In her own words, here is her reason behind the books.
"I myself emerged from high school and college with only a dry collection of dates, a jumbled memory of many apparently meaningless wars, and a fragmentary, disconnected knowledge of a very few periods in history, through which I could follow no continuous thread....history had never been presented to me as though it concerned human beings whose lives were more full of human interest, of tragedy, comedy, romance, and great adventure than those of the hero in any novel. So I...determined not only to get for myself a connected and general view of history, but to make that history alive in my own imagination. For years I pursued this work as a hobby...[until] at last came my opportunity to give children what I myself had wanted from childhood on--a picturesque and living history of the world from the Stone Age to the beginnings of modern times.... To bring history to life for children, to present to them a fascinating historical panorama, to let them travel up the path of time with the men and women who had made history--that was my purpose in writing A PICTURESQUE TALE OF PROGRESS."