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Early Church /Roman History

This Term we have been studying Roman History. We started back at Easter time by reading many books from the Time of Christ. This flowed very nicely into Early Church history. We have covered from 33AD to 300AD using RC History as our spine. I have found RC History very useful this term as I was needing something from a Catholic worldview and was tired of inventing the wheel from scratch. It answered those needs but from our families viewpoint it lacked in areas too. It lacks sufficient hands-on projects and lacks plenty of read alouds, I have two children who read an enormous amount, I also felt it lacked in the younger age bracket, I would have liked more read alouds for my younger two. Having said that I will continue to use it as a spine but will
supplement the areas I feel lack.

The boys come up with some great hands on projects but they will have to wait till I iron out the kinks with my camera and computers. For now I’ll just talk books;)

For the younger ones we read:

The Story of Saint Christopher: A First Book for Little Catholics – Leah Kean. OOP but a lovely little book.

Christopher the Holy Giant – Tomie dePaola The children enjoy comparing the two as one contains details the other doesn’t.

A beautiful story of St Valentine by Robert Sabuda, demonstrates what an amazing gentle, giving saint he was. A good picture of the life the Early Christians led under fear of persecution.

The First Christians by Marigold Hunt based on the Acts was a good basis to start with my 9 and 6 year olds. Although a bit long winded which is typical of Marigold Hunt.

The Man Who Never Died by Rev Brennan is based on the life of St Peter.

Once Upon a Time Saints and More Once Upon a Time Saints are absolutely riveting books for children this age (and mum;). I highly recommend them. Both contain stories of saints from this time period.

* Non-Fiction
‘City’ – David Macaulay is an enjoyable and riveting read on the planning and construction of the city of Rome. It is incredible really to imagine the planning and design that went into their city.
City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction

The Roman Colosseum: The Story of the World's Most Famous Stadium and Its Deadly Games The children developed an interest in the Colosseum so it was a pleasure to find Elizabeth Mann’s ‘The Roman Colosseum.

Gladiator by Richard Watkins was added to our pile on the recommendation of RC History. I have to say I found it very detailed and it painted a disturbing and realistic picture of Rome and its practices. Life of people was of no value.

Famous Men of Rome by Poland & Haaren is a popular choice amongst homeschoolers. The reading of these men give a good insight into the history of Rome from the beginning till the Fall of Rome.

Fiction for the ‘middle group’ 10-14 there are:

The Bronze Bow
The Bronze Bow is set during the time of Christ and it gives a picture of the Roman occupation of Jerusalem. Very well written.

Eagle of The Ninth: 2004

The Silver Branch

The Lantern Bearers

Rosemary Sutcliff’s trilogy set in Roman Briton and Outcast also from Roman Briton are well written living books from this time period.

Outcast (Oxford children's modern classics)

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick published by Bethlehem Books tells the story of Galen and his discoveries.

Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Reid Banks was a new addition to our library. It is based on the story of twin tigers, one of whom is sent to the Colosseum. The story covers the persecution of Christians.

Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield is probably set a little earlier but it gives a good idea of everyday life in Rome. The children loved this one.

The Thieves of Ostia (Roman Mysteries)Thieves of Ostia a Roman Mystery is in the same vein. Although I would have to admit on a lower literary scale.

The Golden House – Madeleine Polland is also another new addition to our library and extremely well written.

Legions of the Eagle by Henry Treece and War Dog also by Henry Treece are both set in Roman Briton involving the Roman soldiers.

Nor Life nor Death by John O’Neil is a story of the young Christians set in persecuted Rome written by an Australian priest.

The following I’m a little uncertain as to age recommendation. GA Henty books are a favourite with my dd, probably interesting to the more serious reader from age 12, certainly fine by 13, they are on the ‘heavier’ side of historical fiction.
Beric the Briton by G A Henty is set in Roman Briton.

Young Carthaginian by G A Henty and The Fall of Jerusalem – GA Henty also cover this time period.

For the over 14s there are:

Ben Hur (Wordsworth Classics)

My 14year old couldn’t get into this one, she didn’t find it interesting but it may suit others.

The Ides of April

Beyond the Desert Gate

These two books are a riveting tale of murder, mystery and intrigue. From Bethlehem Books and very well written.

The Restless Flame is on the life of St Augustine. Louis de Wohl is a favourite author of mine and it was a pleasure to introduce my dd to him this year.

*Be sure to visit Aussie Book Threads for more book reviews.

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