When we started our Ancient Roman unit using Tapestry of Grace, Year 1 Unit 4, I had high hopes of a wonderful year filled with historical adventures centered upon great living books. And although Tapestry of Grace quickly became lackluster, the Roman unit did not. A few weeks into our studies, I tossed PLAN A out the window and carved a new path. I decided to create my own living-literature based unit by piecing together books we currently owned, titles I came across at the library, and older-and-harder-to-find gems that I found inventoried on other Ancient Rome reading lists.
I divided the unit into six main time periods and then listed the books, to the best of my ability, in chronological order within each period.
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Since I have a wide range of learners, I tried to select books that would meet a wide range of needs. Most of the books we used are for early to mid elementary aged kids. However, I pre-selected a few longer, more in-depth books for my sixth grade daughter to read in addition to the ones we ALL read together as a family. This way, she got to participate in our group learning, but was also challenged to go deeper.
I used the Ancient Rome section of The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World as a spine reference to help me organize my time periods. It also became a helpful guide that we continued to refer to throughout the entire year-long unit. We read each mini section of The Usborne Encylcopedia at the start of each time period, and then read the other books that I had chosen. It kept us on track and made the unit a cohesive study. (You could also use The Romans: Usborne Illustrated History as both books are very similar.)
In true living book style, I tried to weave together examples of non-fiction, fiction, biography, and even reference-type books.
Please note, I did not buy all of these books. Most of them came through the interlibrary loan system which allows me to borrow books from any publicly-funded library across our state. While we would have liked to have read through all of these, we skipped a few of them due to our limited time.
The Roman Republic
The Birth of an Empire
One Day in Ancient Rome-This was one of my favorites!!
Roman Antics-Would not recommend. It's kind of pointless.
Birth of Jesus/Life of Jesus
The StoryKeepers Starlight Escape DVD
The Fourth Wiseman DVD- We did not get to watch this one, so I can not endorse it.
The End of the Empire/The Early Church
Fun With Roman Numerals-I normally love David Adler books, but this one was a bit disappointing.
Middle School Books
For more great book suggestions, be sure to head to iHomeschool Network and check out the Massive Guide to Homeschool Reading Lists!