People often complain that teaching or learning history is boring, but that is usually because they are doing it wrong. History is story. Stories about people and events and how they relate to one another, and to us. There is nothing boring there.
Beyond the basics of wars and conquests, explorers and inventors, we want to teach our kids the history of our Church. The "History Lives" series by Mindy and Brandon Withrow is a good way to get started with younger kids.
Peril and Peace is the first volume and the only one we've used so far. One of my kids is getting a little old for them now so I'm not sure if we'll make it through the whole series. This is one of those things that I should have started earlier. (Don't we all have books we found a little too late?) The book includes a timeline of the ancient Church, stories about the Apostle Paul, the Emperor Constantine and other "famous" and not-so-famous early Christians. There are also chapters about persecutions, worship, and the creeds.
Perils and Peace
The books are written for kids aged 9 - 14. My kids could read these on their own, though we used it as a read-aloud and talked about it afterward. For some reason they preferred that, but then my kids have always enjoyed being read to. Events include persecutions, arrests and martyrdoms; these are not written in a gruesome way but younger and more sensitive kids might benefit from a parent's reading. The books would lend themselves well to oral or written narration either as read-alouds or independent reading.
Because these are stories, there is a fictional element. We don't have a record of the teenaged Augustine's conversations with his friends. But dialog helps to bring the stories and the people to life.
And that's why we read books like this. These were real people, and it can be hard to imagine them that way via a typical history text. So a little work of the imagination is not a hindrance but a help.
Samples chapters, timeline, and table of contents are available here. Check them out and tell me what you think.