Would you like to find a history curriculum that will not bore the socks off your teen, but still reaches your younger children?
I want to tell you about the best history curriculum for all ages!
Susan Wise Bauer: Story of the World
I love Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World Curriculum. It is truly a series of books filled with captivating stories detailing everything from battles and peoples of all lands to kings and kingdoms.
It is geared for elementary and middle school ages but has been excellent in capturing my attention as a parent. I have been amazed at how engaged my children (ages ranging from seven to thirteen) are when I read these aloud.
Imagine, reading time that covers history AND we are all fascinated AND we learn together.
The breadth of knowledge covered by Ms. Bauer throughout the series is incredible. Vivid attention is paid to personal and individual lives of those involved with important events from all over the world. This attention to detail helps put the importance of their roles in history into perspective. It has opened our vision to the past and helped us see people for who they are.
The 4-Volume Series
There are four volumes in the Story of the World Series: 1) Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor; 2) The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance; 3) Early Modern Times: From Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners; and 4) The Modern Age: From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR
Confidence to Teach History
The books explain how cultures began, developed, and then influenced our own culture. Ms. Bauer has a command of history that gives me the confidence to teach the subject where I may not be super strong.
I am always impressed with her ability to weave the events and stories to both tell a brilliant story and still describe how history has shaped the world we live in today.
This history curriculum is perfect to read aloud to the younger children (even though the older children will enjoy it as well), but it is still written well enough to engage a solo-study project by older children.
Report to Dad
As a mother, I love the connection we all feel in learning and enjoying something together. This series has led to great conversations at the dinner table and the children love telling their dad what they learned about Egypt or Rome. These discussions have transitioned into expressions about our own world-views on things such as laws and moral codes of conduct.
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These tests have helped us all retain knowledge from chapter to chapter. I found that they also help the children by forcing them to go back and search through previous reading to find answers to questions. That additional (and intentional) searching is extremely valuable.
How I Use the History Curriculum Test Booklets
The day after we finish reading a chapter I read the questions from the corresponding chapter in the test booklet and let the children take turns answering. The test questions range from fill in the blank to true and false and even some essay type.
I have found that I didn’t retain as much from the reading as my children had! It also gives me insight into the different learning styles of my children. It helps to see who learns best by listening and who does better when they read it on their own (visual learners). I can also catch if one of my kids did not pay attention as well as they should have!
I don’t make a huge deal about the fact that they are “tests.”
Activity books can also be purchased with each book in the curriculum. These are big, beautiful books filled with all kinds of activities that go along with each chapter including craft projects, coloring pages, maps, and art projects.
Perfect for Hands-on Learners
The history activity books help your children engage at a kinetic level for those that might be kinetic learners.
These activity books help my kids cement knowledge that otherwise may be forgotten.
Additional Reading Ideas
Each chapter includes a list of additional resources and books that you can check out at a local library if you are interested in exploring more about the topic in further detail. We have found excellent storybooks and informational books to make our experience more complete.
We look forward to our time reading together from these books, testing our knowledge through the tests and doing activities. This is one history curriculum that we genuinely love engaging with. Often we have found it to be the highlight of our day because we feel like we have truly learned something valuable and completely enjoyed doing it.
Overall, this is a great history curriculum for around $50-$60 per series (including the test and activity books).