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Timeline of Classics: Historical Context for the Books We Love Review by Cindy West

Gail Ledbetter
Honeysuckle Creek Productions
6252 McLeansville Rd
McLeansville, NC 27301

As a classically Charlotte Mason homeschooler, I have an interest in teaching history chronologically using really great historical fiction. Over the years, I have spent countless hours searching for the "best of the best" literature to include in our studies. I've often come across nice lists of literature for certain time periods, but I've never found anything that's comprehensive without being overwhelming.

Unveiling Heart and Soul is a literature list that is both comprehensive and succinct. It includes tried-and-true reading suggestions for just about every era or major event from Creation through the present. However, while you still have a few choices within most topics, the list is limited to only the author's top picks. You won't feel like you have to narrow down a giant list of possibilities. If you trust the author's opinion, she's done the legwork for you.

The booklist comes in four PDF files, separated for your convenience into Ancients, Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation, and Modern Times. The pages are arranged in spreadsheet format to show the time periods, book titles, authors, and reading levels. Mrs. Ledbetter has included appropriate books for elementary, middle school, and high school within each time period, even inserting occasional worthwhile movies. Quotes from various books add visual appeal to the booklists and also work well as copywork or narration assignments.

I have enjoyed the complete timeline included in each list much as I've enjoyed the literature suggestions. Whether I'm creating my own unit study or using a prepared curriculum, the timeline has helped me cover all the must-teach topics--and know exactly when to include them! Does anyone else struggle with remembering what came first in history and whom to talk about when?

Mrs. Ledbetter suggests that you not allow the booklists to become overwhelming. There are far too many books listed to be able to read them all, so you are encouraged to let your child's interests help as you choose what fits best into your homeschool. On that note, she also encourages you to print out a copy of the entire list for each of your children to keep in a history binder. Her hope is that having a great list of living literature at their disposal will inspire children to read more.

My children and I have been diligently using the Medieval list this year. I have felt such a burden removed from my planning time! I simply browse through the choices, type a short list into my library's search engine, and I'm ready to roll. Hours and hours of planning time have been saved--and for that I am very, very grateful!

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2012