The best way to learn history is simply through varied reading, taken up with interest. If we are to facilitate that, we have to, at minimum, provide books – lots of books. So for a medieval history cycle year, here are many options for free reading.

These are the books I’ve found and purchased for our shelf the years we have done medieval history cycle, including plenty of Arthurian legends.

I do need to make it clear that you should use your own discernment when it comes to books for your family. Every family’s tolerances and tastes differ, and mine are more laissez-faire than many. I buy no twaddle, and the books I get come recommended from good sources, but I don’t preread every one and I believe in broad reading.

However, I have this luxury because my boys are ravenous readers and not the most careful nor sensitive readers. If, down the line, I get a sensitive reader or one who doesn’t read as much, I would be more choosy.

So, always make decisions in light of your own reality and not based on an abstract ideal. My list in no way represents an abstract ideal, but I hope it’ll be a good starting point for finding books to strew.

Book Lists for Medieval History

When selecting books, I start with multiple book lists and the impressions I’ve collected over the last 10 years I’ve been looking at book lists, and I spend hours scouring Amazon. Unless a book is particularly amazing and essential, I start with a huge list and let the selection be limited by what I can find used and cheap and not available at our library. So, I’m pretty happy with what I was able to get for our medieval collection, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others I’d like just as well or that this is all we read, either.

Story of the Middle Ages - Exodus Books

Also, I try to have a bias toward biographies, and for pillar figures (like Martin Luther or Joan of Arc or Constantine) I try to find multiple biographies, because each one is going to have a slightly different perspective or interpretation, and I think it’s healthy for elementary students to internalize the idea that history is always biased and never told complete and whole. Also, we can always keep reading and keep learning about one event or one person and see something fresh each time. I think that’s a healthy way to approach history reading.

As the spine of our history reading, I use Story of the Middle Ages and part of Story of the Reformation & Renaissance by Christine Miller, supplemented by the audio versions of Story of the World (I try to have us listen to all four volumes once a year, often either during lunch or in the car).

Middle Ages History

Biographies of Medieval Men

Plus as many Signature Book biographies as I can get my hands on.

Middle Ages Historical Fiction & Lit

Make This List Useful For You

This isn’t a “right way” book list. These books are simply the books that live on the bookshelf during our year of studying the middle ages. I don’t assign them. They don’t have to do any narrations or reports or projects on them. They just read them as the fancy takes them. As homeschooled homeschoolers, my husband and I know this works if the kids are picking them up voluntarily.

Need homeschool free reads for your medieval history cycle? These middle ages history books will engage your young students!

Use it as a springboard for your own book lists and for ideas, but always filter it through what works in your own house and with your own individual children. Just filling the bookshelf with good books works for my older two, and I don’t know if it will for the three younger.

The cheapest way (besides receiving hand-me-downs) that I’ve found to get some of these books is library sales. Know at least a few key authors or series and go in to any library sale you can. As libraries get rid of the old books to make way for new, you’re likely to find some gems if you’re willing to look for them. Several of the titles above I scored for a quarter at our local library sale.

More book lists for elementary readers


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  1. Hi, Mystie. This has been a fun and useful 31 Days so far. I was wondering, I see your Ancient list, Medieval list and then Modern is up next. When do y’all cover the Renaissance and Reformation time period? (although I do see the start of reformation in your medieval w Luther) Our family has read some of your book recommendations and enjoyed them. So I always love seeing what y’all will be reading or have read. Thanks!

    1. I’m doing a 3-year cycle, so we went through Luther in our medieval year and then picked up with Calvin for modernity this year. We read about 1/3 of Renaissance & Reformation by Christine Miller last year during medieval and just finished it up last week. We’ll have to keep a brisk pace to get through modern times this year – no getting bogged down in Colonial America – but I’m going for overview during elementary years, and it’s easy to get in lots of free reading set in early America.

      Then next year we’ll start in Ancients again with my oldest in 7th grade and my then 1st & 2nd graders will be ready to join us at the beginning. We’ll be able to get in a 3 year cycle during 7th, 8th, & 9th and then see where we are – if we do another 3 year study, or do more independent studies, or take classes.

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