Teaching Early Modern History to Grammar, Logic, & Rhetoric Stages

If you follow a four year History cycle as we do, then year 3 is “Early Modern”. This covers from about 1600 to 1849.

Just as a reminder, because we’re living a real life and not a perfect one, it hasn’t worked out that each child starts with Ancients in Year 1, Medieval in Year 2, and so on. We add in children at whatever year the older students are studying. Because there’s no way I want to be covering more than one era at a time.

(And of course, my children read books throughout the year that don’t “fit” with whatever time we happen to be studying. As long as they’re spending free time reading, I’m certainly not going to complain about that.)
teaching early modern history

History Spines for Teaching Early Modern History

Grammar stage:
The Story of the World Volume 3

Logic Stage:
The Kingfisher History Encylopedia

Rhetoric Stage:
The History of the Renaissance World

How we study Early Modern History:

Grammar and Logic stage students listen to the appropriate chapter(s) from The Story of the World Volume 3 audiobook, read by Jim Weiss.

While they listen they may color a related coloring sheet or work on lapbooking / notebooking pages. When they’re done listening, they complete the corresponding map work. (This is generally led by our logic stage student. I print the pages they need and add them to their clipboards, she reads the instructions and checks their work.)

A rhetoric stage student reads one or two chapters in The History of the Renaissance World per week. She copies maps to keep in her notebook and does a quick summary or outline of what she’s read.

Supplemental Reading for Early Modern History

There are so many great books that correspond to this era. I hope to put together a more extensive list later in the year to share with you. But in the meantime…

We’ve focused on these:
Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation – our logic and rhetoric students read one chapter in this per week and narrate (or write) briefly about the subject.

George Washington’s World by Genevieve Forster. We read this together as part of our morning routine.

One of my favorite resources is our set of Childcraft Books from 1964. I went through the three volumes with true stories (vol 11, 12, 13) and matched stories to our Story of the World chapters. I read one or two of these a week aloud.

Since this is the period of history covering the American Revolution and early westward expansion, there are more books for kids than we could possibly get to in one school year but these have been some of our favorites:

Really, there are so many great books written or set in this era. Heidi at Mt. Hope has a great list of American History reading (some of this list will overlap with the 4th year of history cycle).

I’ve also used Sonlight Reading Lists that correspond to The Story of the World. (We do not use Sonlight curriculum per se, but their book lists are incredible.)

Two websites that helped me compile my personal list:


Paula’s Archives

Other resources for studying Early Modern History:

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Living Unabridged is an affiliate for Notebooking Pages for one simple reason: we use these all the time! Here are a few sets that might be useful when studying this period:
History Renaissance & Reformation Notebooking Pages

13 Colonies Themed Notebooking Pages

American Presidents Notebooking Pages

First Ladies of the USA Notebooking Pages

guide to teaching early modern history

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