We like the "Story of the World" series. It really simplifies teaching history to young children. The book consists of 96 short chapters (each about two or three pages long) designed to be read aloud to the child. Click on the image to look inside the book, or find out more:
We also use the companion book, The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: Tests and Answer Key, which contains a few multiple-choice review questions for each chapter. Just reading a chapter aloud, discussing any unfamiliar vocabulary with the student, and going over the review questions would be a valuable history lesson, especially if you have more than one child at different levels or are pressed for time. We like to use the chapters as a jumping-off point for further study, which will continue until Hunter's interest in a given topic has been exhausted. If you don't have time to come up with supplemental activities, there is also an activity book that can be purchased:
I've never used one of these, but they have excellent reviews. It provides coloring pages, maps, and games. If you want all of your supplemental materials in one place, already organized for use, then the activity book is probably a good investment for your family.
I personally like to use a combination of books, online activities, free printables, and Dover coloring books. It can be a little more work tracking stuff down and keeping it organized, but I like to keep our history and science lessons very customizable because Hunter often takes a special interest in different topics, and I like to indulge that curiosity as much as possible.
One of my favorite free history printables is this one: http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/printables/files/historyreport.pdf
It's a "Historical Person Report" that asks the questions "Who?" "What?" "When?" and "Where?" The large boxes at the top and bottom of the page provide space for your child to create illustrations. The "Where?" box contains a map of the world. Children can either color in or put dots on the appropriate regions. I printed off one of these to use as an original, and I make as many photocopies as necessary throughout the year. This year Hunter will be filling out one of these pages for each of the following: Muhammad, Charlemagne, Leif Ericsson, Alfred the Great, Richard I of England, John I of England, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernando Cortes, Martin Luther, Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Sir Walter Raleigh.
The same website has lots of great timeline printables: http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/history/timeline.html. We keep a timeline in a 3-ring binder, and Hunter adds events to it as we go.
Another great resource that we get a lot of use out of is Dover coloring books. They're full-sized, high quality, super inexpensive, and available on an enormous variety of topics. Amazon.com sells them 4-for-3, meaning if you buy 3 you get a fourth one free. We've been building up a collection of them, knowing that they'll be useful throughout our entire education. We photocopy the pages we want rather than coloring in the books so that I can re-use them as many times as we need to.
The Dover coloring books we'll be using this year are:
Life in Celtic Times (Dover History Coloring Book)
- Pg. 22, to go with History Lesson #3: "The Celts of Britain"
- Pg. 36, to go with History Lesson #7: "Medieval Monasteries"
- Pg. 39, to go with History Lesson #8: "Writing Books By Hand"
- Pg. 9, to go with History Lesson #5: "Beowulf the Hero" (Note: I let Hunter choose the page he liked best, but almost any page will work with this lesson)
- Pg. 15, to go with History Lesson #30: "The Greatest King" Charlemagne"
- Pg. 16, to go with History Lesson #32: "Eric the Red & Eric's Son"
- Pg. 39, to go with History Lesson #41: "The Samurai: Japanese Knights"
- Pg. 22, to go with History Lesson #52: "The Mongol Conquest of China"
- Pg. 31, to go with History Lesson #71: "The Moghul Dynasty"
- Pg. 7, to go with History Lesson #33: "The Norse Gods" (Note: Again, there are other pages you could use here)
- Pgs. 14 & 15, to go with History Lesson #34: "The Vikings Invade England"
- Pgs. 22 & 23, to go with History Lesson #55: "The Rus Come to Constantinople"
- Pg. 3, to go with History Lesson #35: "Alfred the Great"
- Pg. 6, to go with History Lesson #36: "The Battle of Hastings"
- Pg. 9, to go with History Lesson #46: "Richard the Lionhearted"
- Pg. 10, to go with History Lesson #47: "John Lackland and the Magna Carta"
- Pg. 14, to go with History Lesson #62: "Henry V and the Battle of Agincourt"
- Pg. 17, to go with History Lesson #81: "Henry VIII's Problems"
- Pg. 18, to go with History Lesson #88: "The Queen Who Almost Wasn't"
- Pg. 19, to go with History Lesson #89: "Good Queen Bess"
- Pgs. 18 & 19, to go with History Lesson #39: "Stone Castles"
- Pg. 21, to go with History Lesson #44: "Saladin of Jerusalem"
- Pg. 28, to go with History Lesson #75: "The Mayans of Central America"
- Pg. 9, to go with History Lesson #79: "Cortes and Montezuma"
- Pg. 3, to go with History Lesson #94: "The New-Found Land"
- Pg. 5, to go with History Lesson #93: "The Lost Colony"
A few other books that we'll be using this year, that we have either purchased or will borrow from our local library:
The Vikings (People of the Ancient World) is a great resource full of pictures and fun illustrations, as is The Ancient Celts (People of the Ancient World).
We love the books from the DK Eyewitness series. We have some, but because our budget is small we usually get them from the library when we can. Our library didn't have Medieval Life (DK Eyewitness Books) though, so we bought a copy. Here are a few others that we'll probably be using:
I'll be adding other materials and activities as we go, and we'd love to hear any suggestions you have!