One of the questions I am always asked is – “what are your must have books?” And in all honesty I am wary of that question for the simple reason that there are just so many amazing books out there and everyone home educates in a slightly different manner. So what works for us might not work for you. The projects we do in primary might not be the projects you choose to do. There are lots of variables, lots, but I have been persuaded to go through our book case and pull out our favourite non fiction books just as a way of giving some ideas. So these are our Primary aged Non-Fiction Books (History and Science) which I could not have survived without.
So starting with Ancient History.
Now, in total honesty my son has LOTS of Dinosaur books, he loves learning about Dinosaurs and he has some real gems but if I had to choose just one (which is actually quite hard to do) I think it would be the What’s Where on Earth Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life: The amazing history of earth’s most incredible animals. He just finds this one fascinating and more than two years after buying it he is still coming back and rereading it on a regular basis. He really likes that it shows maps of where the different creatures where found, has clear pictures and contains lots of information about how each creature was built and they highlight the unique features while often linking the features back to current animals. It is a visual book (lots of big, incredible pictures) but they have also managed to include lots of interesting facts. This book is one of my sons favourites.
Linking to that theme of dinosaurs and fossils we found this book Archaeologists Dig for Clues: Stage 2 (Let’s Read-And-Find Out Science. Stage 2) brilliant. It just brought in a few facts about how we discovered and uncoved all those ancient treasures. Great for younger kids.
Now one which I really wished I had bought a lot earlier and which I think is Brilliant is Story of the World, Vol. 1: History for the Classical Child: Ancient Times: 0. I have been so impressed with the writing style in this book, it is such an easy read yet it manages to organize world events in a logical fashion and it somehow includes lots of facts. I highly recommend this book as a starting point for Ancient History.
And then a topic which we spent a lot of time on was Pompeii and this book was excellent – Pompeii (Young Reading (Series 3)): 1 (Young Reading Series 3, 9). Again it is written in an easy story like fashion, perfect for primary aged kids. We used this book when we learnt about the Ancient Romans, we then used it as a reader and we turned to it again when we covered Volcanoes. It was well worth the few pounds I paid for it.
More history. Firstly my daughter’s favourite, we first got this book as a library book and after renewing it 5 times I just had to buy her a copy – Kings and Queens (History of Britain): 1. She has read this book cover to cover multiple time and she loves it. We have used it for multiple History projects and topics but really it is just a great book for placing everyone in order and explaining a bit about them and their impact on British history.
Then the World Wars. Now I like the idea of introducing the World Wars to younger kids (primary ages) but I also think certain parts need to be dealt with in a gently fashion (it can be an emotional, hard topic for younger kids), The two books that I found that ticked all my boxes for World War facts suitable for this age are The Story of the First World War for Children (1914-1918): In association with the Imperial War Museum and The Story of the Second World War For Children: 1939-1945.
Onto Science topics. I have to start with my amazing life cycle book – Life Cycles: Everything from Start to Finish. This book is one incredible book. It is a visual feast of ALL life cycles – it covers a wide range of different animals, plants and other interesting “earth” cycles like that of a rock, a volcano, iceberg even the life cycle of a star and moon. It really is everything you will need on life cycles and so much more than you could even have imagined. And included in the life cycles they also talk about things like hibernation, predators, habitats and animal classification.
And then two other science books. Our food chain book, which is just brilliant – Staying Alive: The Story of a Food Chain (Science Works) and our Rock book – The Rock Factory: A Story About Rocks and Stones (Science Works). Both cover important concepts and do it in a very easy to digest manner.
And I am sure I have forgotten something, I can almost guarantee that in a few days time I will think Oh boy I should have included x or y. But hopefully this might give someone one or two ideas.
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