It certainly has been a time of curriculum review for us as a family. I’m hoping to determine a simple reading plan and select programs and activities my children like. But above all I want to nurture our relationships as a family and show my children the unfailing love of Christ. And I want them to see how all that we study is not only interrelated but also points back to our Creator.
And while I like Story of the World for its narrative storybook style, I prefer to have a history curriculum with a strong Christian worldview, which is why we have used Mystery of History along with Story of the World during Cycle 1. But if you take a look at our Story of the World and Mystery of History reading plan for next year, you’ll notice that Mystery of History falls off the chart at Week 11 of Cycle 2. (And then Brandy thought, “Rats!”)
Then I was asked to review World Empires, World Missions, World Wars from Diana Waring’s History Revealed Curriculum, which just happens to correlate with Weeks 11-21 of Cycle 2 (1800 AD -1950s AD). (And then Brandy thought, “Yay!”)
But when this program first arrived, my heart sank. It looked like a high school history textbook, and I just found nothing interesting at all in my high school history textbooks, which is why I am now really learning history for the first time in my life. But after reading through it for several days now, I can say that it is not a normal history textbook. It just looks like one at first glance.
There are three book/audio sets in the History Revealed Curriculum: Ancient (Creation to Christ), Middle (Roman Empire to the French Revolution), and Modern (Napoleon to the Korean War and beginnings of the Cold War). Each book is divided into 9 units with 4 phases (aka, a 4-week cycle). Thus, each book can be completed in a typical 36-week school year. After three years, the material is meant to be revisited again (does this sound familiar??) so that you can dig deeper as your students get older. Core components of this program are the Student Manual, the Teacher Guide, Audio CDs, and Elementary Activity Book.
The 4-Week Learning Cycle:
Introductory week (the Feeler learners) – Grasp the “big picture,” with an emphasis on discussion of the information in the textbook article and audio recordings
Week 2 (the Thinker learners) – Research and reporting to dig deeper for facts; includes book list recommendations
Week 3 (the Sensor learners) – Hands-on activities – experience the time period via maps; supplemental activities include cooking, acting, architecture, and science
Week 4 (the Intuitor learners)- Presentation Week to show what you’ve learned – options for all the different learning styles
For more information, you can refer to this Basic Overview of how the program works.
What I like:
It’s Biblically-Based. All of it connects back to God. There are even suggested Bible passages for reading and/or memorizing. This is very, very important to me.
It’s chronological. World Empires, World Missions, World Wars starts with the interesting character of Napoleon and tells what is happening across the world everywhere else, tying the history of the entire world together. Not only that, it focuses on World Missions. It contains great information about missionaries across the world (just what we were going to be studying during the spring semester!) . And because we won’t have the time to read a novel for each missionary, I am just loving the idea that this curriculum has articles about the World Missions Movement.
It’s multi-disciplinary. With ideas for art, cooking, journalism, architecture, science, and much more, you will not have to search for ideas outside of this curriculum. (But it is recommended to go to the library for research and reporting, as the reading of “living books” are scheduled into the program.) This curriculum is not just about world rulers, military leaders, and political figures. It includes information about scientists, inventors, artists and composers, and it weaves in how the fingerprint of God can be seen in HisStory.
I just wish they offered ideas on how to make “cleaning” part of our exciting educational pursuits. (Any ideas, y’all? Laundry… and the Battle of Waterloo?)
It’s a springboard for ideas. This whole curriculum takes the approach that each child has a different learning style. And whatever your child’s learning style is, there is an idea for an activity on how you can help your child engage with the material. In fact, the options are overwhelming at first. But the thing to remember here is that it is a “buffet,” just like our long lists of links here at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood. It’s not intended that you do everything. Just choose one thing – your (or rather, your child’s) favorite thing. Just like you wouldn’t eat everything at Golden Corral, neither would you do everything listed on our list of links… or in this book. For example, each unit includes suggested reading & Internet helps, a 10-30 page article, vocabulary, scripture study, outline maps, art & architecture, discussion questions, research & reporting, timeline activity, geography activity, science experiments, recipes, poetry, journalism ideas, drama, music, sculpting, graphic design, and more. (Seriously. You’d make yourself sick if you ate it all!)
The audios are entertaining. Diana Waring has an incredibly engaging narrative style in her speaking. She is truly excited about history, and the enthusiasm is contagious. I love listening to her teach me history.
What I don’t like:
The textbook is just-plain-too-advanced for our children. This program is recommended for Grades 5-12, and this is absolutely true. The textbook articles are actually too advanced for our children. Not even our book-smart oldest who loves history will stay engaged with my (or his own) reading of the articles in the textbook – not because it isn’t in a narrative, living-book format, but because it is simply written for older children. However, the Elementary Activity Book is recommended for grades K-4, and this we will definitely use for our study of the Napoleonic Empire, the Industrial Revolution, World Missions, and World Wars as we also listen to the engaging audios (which contain enough information in themselves to provide an introductory knowledge of each person/event even without the textbook articles). The activities and the readings from the elementary book are exactly what I’ve been looking for as a simple introduction for our younger children – and an avenue to dig deeper with our oldest. And the teacher guide will be a helpful reference for me to find supplemental information until my children are old enough to engage in the reading of the articles.
Uh-oh. It’s not open-and-go, in my opinion. This is very different than what I am used to. My task-oriented, check-the-box, Type A personality struggles with a curriculum like this because it requires me to think outside the box – which is what I need to do, but I don’t like it. Even so, there is a plan to follow, and that plan includes a calendar for those Type As who absolutely require a calendar with a checklist format. (Thank you, Diana!) And it’s funny, the whole thing is growing on me quite a bit.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
You can try before you buy. An entire month. Multiplied by three. For free.
This is so incredible! You can download and try an entire month of each set of this curriculum for free! The free downloads for World Empires, World Missions, World Wars include the entire Unit 1 material from the teacher and student textbooks and What in the World audio along with the Elementary Activity Book. You can also download Unit 1 material for the Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries (correlating with both Cycle 1 and Cycle 2) and Ancient Civilizations (correlating with Cycle 1).