Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Famous Men

I want to recommend the Famous Men book series. I use to think they weren't that important, just another book to read for history and I already had so much to plug through, I didn't need another book to fit into my schedule and hope to get it read as well. But over the course of last year and so far this year, I've had a chance to see just how valuable this series of books are in the education of my children and myself.

During last year's history topic of Ancient Civilizations (5000BC - 400AD) we read portions of

At one point in the year while my husband was reading with our oldest Plutarch's Lives and discussing it with her, I realized I knew who they were talking about. I had just read about that person to the three youngest from Famous Men of Rome. That was the benefit to trying to read as much in these books as possible because the people covered will be dealt with again in more advanced history books. These people really are important!

But I got really excited this week. I had read to the three younger children the sections on the Teuton Gods, the Nibelung story (which I learned is the basis for Wagner's operas), Alaric the Visigoth, Atilla the Hun, Theodoric the Ostrogoth, and Genseric the Vandal from this book:

We enjoyed discussing which of the Teuton gods four of our days of the week are named after, following on our map where these Germanic tribes came from and settled in the declining Roman empire, plus learning more about Genseric the Vandal who led the invasion and sacking of northern Africa including the city of Hippo which we remembered from reading about St. Augustine in The Farmer's Boy of Tagaste.

It was later in the day or maybe the next that I picked up Western Civilization by Jackson Spielvogel to read and take notes in preparation of discussing it with my two oldest. I immediately realized once again the importance of the Famous Men books. I was reading and taking notes on all the Germanic tribes that were invading and settling in different parts of the Roman empire. There were sections and details all about the same men I had just read to the younger three. By knowing the story of these men, it helped me understand the extra detail that was given in the Western Civilization text.

Now I'm going to make it a priority to read to the younger three all of the Famous Men of the Middle Ages and the Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation during this year's history study of The Middle Ages (400-1600 AD). It will be invaluable to them to have heard of these people as they study these time periods again and again throughout their education and life.
And next year I'll put on my list to buy and read to the younger children:

If you would like to get these for your children (or for yourself) they can be purchased from Memoria Press or from Greenleaf Press, or from the book source of your choice.


Rebekah said...

Thank you! I'm going to find me some of these. Of all the curriculum options, I find history most overwhelming (imagine if I were actually homeschooling! :P ).

Cheryl said...

"It was later in the day or maybe the next that I picked up Western Civilization by Jackson Spielvogel to read and take notes in preparation of discussing it with my two oldest."

"Read"? "Take notes"? "Preparation"? What is the meaning of these words? What is this strange and unfamiliar language you are speaking?

Glenda said...

Yes Rebekah, I know how overwhelming history can be. I try to pretend I know what I'm doing, it helps me keep relative sanity. :-)

Chery - I'm not sure yet. I've heard of such things from others and have ventured into this world. We'll see how far/long that lasts! ;-)