We've come to treasure some books these last two years of our homeschool adventure. The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is one. It is a four volume set that studies history chronologically. It is primarily a read aloud, but it does have an activity book can be purchased that has coloring pages, maps, and other hands on activities to go along with the lessons. We started using it with a 1st grader and a 3rd grader in the house and they have loved it. They beg to do history, and it has been an incredible springboard for dicussion of topics from Christianity to politics! The coloring pages are not Charles' favorite, but he doesn't like to color at all. He enjoys the maps and along with our world wall map we've also learned some geography to boot. I love reading the lessons and have learned right along with the kids. The lessons are not too simple or too complex. I think Kaity doesn't absorb as much as Charles, but that is totally to be expected from having two different learning levels going on at once. Even with their different ages, interests and attention levels I am always surprised at the information they retain when we discuss it later, even when I call old lessons to mind before reading a new one.
The idea behind Bauer's Story of the World is to study the four volumes in four years, then repeat the series of books again with greater detail, in more depth and with supplemental reading for older students. The suggestions for supplemental reading are included in the activity book for each volume. I highly recommend the books and activity books. We will continue using them ourselves.