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The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition Paperback – April 17, 2006
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“This may well be the best multi-age read aloud narrative of world history yet to have been written.”
- Homeschooling in Japan
About the Author
Susan Wise Bauer is an educator and academic who has worked with parents and students for more than twenty years. She taught at the College of William & Mary in Virginia for fifteen years. Her previous best-selling titles for Norton include The Well-Trained Mind, The Well-Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, and the History of the World series.
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This is our first year homeschooling our 4th grade daughter and we met and grilled many of the homeschool mothers in our area on their system of teaching. One of them recommended the Wise/Bauer book "The Well-Trained Mind" which seemed to be a very good fit for both my teaching style and our daughter's learning style. "The Well-Trained Mind" recommends, of course, this series of books for teaching history. But what a lot of people are missing, I think, is that Volume 1 is meant for 1st grade, Volume 2 for 2nd grade, etc. These 4 volumes are also meant to be the first of 3 levels of teaching history as the child goes through his/her 12 years of education. In other words, these four volumes are laying the groundwork for what's to come. It's not a be-all end-all history course.
The reason my approach is different is because I'm using this series of books to catch my daughter up to where a well-educated child should be by the 4th grade. Up through to the end of 3rd grade in the public school system, the only exposure she'd had to history is to the timespan just before and just after the American revolutionary war. So we had a lot of ground to cover. But I didn't want it to turn into a grind for her, so I took the authors' intentions to heart and I'm using this series to form a groundwork for a basic understanding of history.
So what I'm doing is covering all four volumes in 1 year. That works out to a little over 2 months per volume or 4 chapters (for Volume 1) per week. I skipped the activity book but did buy the workbook with the quizzes. We've read to our daughter since she was a baby and she still loves to be read to, so for the 1-hour class (which I hold twice a week) I read 2 chapters to her, discussing what we're reading as I go along. She loves it and the book is easy to read from. Before class starts, I give her 2 quizzes from the 2 chapters read in the previous class. She gets about as many questions right as I would and it's just to help reinforce what I've read to her.
So all the complaints about inaccuracies in the book and the author's religious slant (which I didn't find and I was looking for), they don't matter. What really matters is that my daughter enjoys learning about history (it's her favorite class) and she's building a foundation that can be built on in later years.
In addition to this series and its workbooks, I also picked up "The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia." Once a week I give her homework to read assigned pages from this book to reinforce or, perhaps, to give a different point of view on what she's just learned.
All history books will turn up people who will disagree with the content, will find inaccuracies in the material, or won't agree with the author's point of view. But, guess what? It doesn't matter. Your child is still young and you are filling in a background in history that his/her public school peers will never have.
We are halfway through our 1st grade year using Story of the World as a history text, and yesterday my son built a seige engine for Ashurbanipal out of Legos. He's 5, and he knows more about ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia than the average American adult--heck, when's the last time you could locate Mohenjo Daro on a map? I couldn't until we covered that chapter! If you are using Story of the World for homeschooling or afterschooling, I highly recommend the available Activity Guide, which has enhanced our experience.
I'd say this book is a great success that completes an admirable mission--bringing a clear, simplified and engaging overview of world history to early elementary children. It has made history a favorite subject around here, and greatly enriched the imaginative life of my children.
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My 5-year old daughter LOVES the stories.Read more