I started with Literature Read-Alouds, but I didn't purposefully correlate our Lit to our History. After reading and having some experience under my belt, I've decided to keep our Literature separate from History, as I find there are many more living books authored that do not fit in particular time periods neatly. For read-alouds, I aim for literary quality and timelessness. In History, I aim for literary quality too, but to tell you the truth, I have to dig deeper to find the ones that pass my test.
We are studying Early Modern history (1600-1849). At first I was going to go with Story of the World (SOTW) with the Activity Guide, but then decided to try out History Odyssey (HO) Early Modern as it has a free trial (10 weeks' worth!). It uses SOTW 3 too, but schedules it differently. HO schedules by region and within that region, chronologically. I'm hoping this will keep Builder more focused and engaged, and make it easier for him to form connections. Maturity will undoubtedly play a role too, as the last time he did SOTW was when he was 7 (SOTW 2) and now he will be 9. We didn't have too much retention with SOTW 2 (I know we're just exposing at this stage, but I was hoping for some more), and he specifically stated at that time that he couldn't keep the people straight, and there was a lot of jumping from thing to thing. I'm sure to incorporate more repetition as well, and review through listening to the audio books in the car. We like Jim Weiss.
I had prepared an American History year for this year, and while it has been a good year, Builder says he misses the coloring pages, but especially the map pages. I couldn't find anything truly compatible map-wise. I tried going the hands-on way, but it turns out both Builder and I prefer working through simple line drawn maps than 3D maps. Ballerina may be another story, so I'm keeping it in case she warms up to it. HO uses maps too, and I like the coloring pages I've seen so far. I think I'll be going with them for Modern Times as well, as it is sometimes a difficult period to get quality guides for from what I've seen.
Delving deeper into Charlotte Mason's readings, I will be sure to focus on tweaking HO to suit our narration style and watch closely that nothing turns into busywork. Builder is doing so well on his narrations, both in breadth and depth, that I would hate to put a wrench in this with requiring written narrations every time. So far he's been dictating and I've been typing. What I foresee doing is requiring one written narration a week, and for the first 12 weeks or so have him copy down half of his narration. For the next 12 weeks he can then proceed to narrate half of the story to me (while I type it up), then I print it out, and he writes out the last half. After this, he should get his confidence and be able to write one narration a week by the end of the year. In fifth, I want to requiring 2 written a week. I require narrations for History, Literature read-alouds, Literature reading, Natural Science, Composer Study, Picture Study, sometimes Poetry, and even Math rules very occasionally.
We should be plenty busy with HO and its requirements, but I will also add living books instead of/in addition to what HO requires. HO lists Children's History of the World (CHOW) as optional, but instead Builder will be reading Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall. We're adding colorful historical picture books, some biographies by Diane Stanley, one whimsical one about King Louis the XIV, another beautifully illustrated about tulips in the Golden Age in Holland.