While this book is supposed to be about Europe in the Middle Ages, it starts off discussing America and where Americans came from. While this does provide some context for the study of history, it's a bit confusing at the beginning of a medieval history text. The authors even find their way back to America by the end, when they discuss the ages of discovery and exploration. There is some good information about Europe during the Middle Ages, the authors just seem a little side-tracked at times.
How Does This Work?
The hardcover Story of the Middle Ages contains twelve chapters covering the Roman Empire and early Christianity to the discovery of the New World. The chapters are all of manageable length for sixth graders and there are plenty of illustrations. At the end of each chapter there is a chapter summary, a list of key terms, and chapter questions and activities.
A test packet is available for this volume, as is an answer key. The answer key contains answers to all in-text exercises and test questions. There is no teacher's manual; if you plan to actively instruct your student as he reads this text, you will have to do research of your own. While this may be a problem with some texts, this one is clear and readable and students should make it through fairly easily on their own.
This text follows the tradition of the other CLP history texts in that it approaches the study of history from a "providential perspective," that is, events and figures throughout history are seen as the instruments of God's plan. While we agree with this view of history, we shouldn't let it overtake our study of history; we certainly ought to remember God is sovereign, but we should also study the facts of history in a history course. While the Story of the Middle Ages doesn't get as pedantic in this regard as some of the CLP books, it is definitely written from the same bias.
This could be a good introduction to Europe, the Middle Ages, or both. You could also use it as the core text for a unit study. There is some good information here, but it isn't comprehensive. If you really want to learn about the place or the time period, you'll need to do some more digging. But for sixth graders, this is a more in-depth treatment than they're likely to find elsewhere (except for Memoria Press or Greenleaf).
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