21 July 2009

Story of the World

Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Trained Mind, also wrote these history texts. Following classical education's 4-year repeating cycle, there are four texts, one each for 1st through 4th grades. They contain over 40 lessons written out in a friendly, conversational, and interesting manner. Also available with this series are activity books and student tests to supplement the core text. We haven't used the tests but I plan to for 5th-8th grades. The activity books include:

- blackline maps
- coloring sheets; usually a historical figure or location
- paper dolls
- games
- craft projects
- recipes
- more

In addition, the books are available in CD sets if you or your child would prefer to hear it rather than read it. They have between 7 and 9 CDs per set. They are read with clarity and emotion by a male voice, and as he changes character or whatever he changes his voice to great effect. They come in 2 cardstock sleeves and I put mine in a dollar-store CD storage folder so my kids are less likely to scratch them. These are wonderful if you are in the car each week, or if you have multiple kids and your history student can listen to them while you accomplish some other task.

The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History is a crucial resource to have. Written at a 3rd- 5th grade reading level, it is your supplement text for Story of the World for all four years. It's full of gorgeous pictures and diagrams, maps and drawings. After your child reads about an event in world history, he can go on-line and check the resources there, including videos and lessons. It includes all the major civilizations and events from the dawn of creation to the year 2000. (We skimmed the first hundred pages or so that explain as fact the Big Bang, primordial soup and evolution up to the end of the last ice age.)

More tomorrow on how to actually use great books like these when teaching classical history to your child!

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