In response to a question left for me in my blog comments looking for history resources for middle schoolers that goes deeper than The History Channel's America The Story of US documentary miniseries released in 2010.
We used Story of the World non-fiction story book by Susan Wise Bauer as a SPINE and used regular children's books in addition to flesh out detail not in the book and to add more exciting reading (and great illustrations).
I highly recommend the ACTIVITY GUIDE for SOTW also.
SOTW is world history chronologically ordered from prehistoric to present day. It was created for grades 1-4 but in a pinch is better than nothing for middle school (there is nothing for all of world history on par with this that is non-religious and comprehensive for grades 5-8 at this moment in time). When I say "better than nothing" I mean to say a story format of nonfiction that is interesting that covers all the world and all the time periods. To have a spine like that which additional, more detailed readings can be done alongside is what I really like. What I did was use the SOTW (which seemed easy reading for a middle schooler) but then used on grade level" go-along readings. SOTW is set up to do one chapter a week that focuses on one topic or country.
You will see recommended in The Well Trained Mind for middle schoolers to use one of the Usborne books for world history, those are two-page spreads on topics with snippet texts in paragraphical format. This is different than a story format that is anything but snippet-y.
We took a break from SOTW to move on to the next series---to focus on United States History---which is what I was asked about.
Titles can be confusing!
The History Channel America Story of US that is airing right now (2010 release date) is different than the US history book I am recommending called The Story of US by Joy Hakim -- which is an 11 volume book set. That is for middle school and even light for high school or good for the early high school years, and to reiterate it is JUST US History.
A few years ago PBS aired a documentary mini-series called Freedom A History of US based and had a book of the same title by Joy Hakim written on high school and adult level about US History and a companion book in hardcover was released which as of last month was out of print.
Presently we are using the Joy Hakim 11 volume series A History of US (slower than I'd like to report). I love it and feel it offers food for thought and plenty to discuss.
A homeschool mom friend of mine told me yesterday they are reading the 11 volume series by Joy Hakim with her 8th grader right now (after hearing me praise it) and love it and they watched The History Channel Series America the Story of US and it is "skimpy and skipping parts". She didn't like the History Channel show much.
The History Channel documentary mini-series is offering free DVDs to educators and teacher's guides (see sidebar link on this page) however they are not shipping until August, she told me. I submitted my request for a copy two or three months ago and wondered where the heck it was. Now I know.
Joy Hakim was on In-Depth, a three hour long interview and discussed teaching history to kids of all ages and issues with public school's handling of history. I blogged about that here.
More of my ideas and opinions on teaching history can be found by clicking the label below called "teaching history".