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Alternatives to Story of the World for Homeschool History

Updated on September 2, 2015

The Story of the World history book series by Susan Wise Bauer is a great introduction to the past for elementary age kids. The books start with hunter gatherer times and finish with modern times. While they are a great introduction to history, they often aren't particularly detailed. The books use a story telling format. So, it can help to supplement the series with other books. These supplementary books can give your kids a better understanding of the times, places, events and people covered.

If you'd rather not use Story of the World, these books can also be used as alternatives. The Story of the World series has been criticized for "inaccurate dates and concern that it ignores archaeological evidence in favor of a good story." Some homeschoolers also think it's either too simplistic or too complicated. If you feel Story of the World isn't a good fit for your child these are some other options to consider.

The Kingfisher Atlas of World History

The maps in Story of the World are very basic and aren't likely to interest young children. Luckily, The Kingfisher Atlas of World History has colorful, almost cartoonish maps that will be much more interesting to kids. The atlas covers many of the time periods in Bauer's book. It also has interesting, easy to read information on these periods. It's definitely a must have supplement.

The Usborne Book of World History

The Usborne Book of World History is great because you can use it as early as 1st grade. There isn't a huge amount of text but there are lots of pictures that you can use to discuss historical times with your child. It covers most of the time periods covered in Story of the World making it a great supplement. My only complaint is that there are a few pictures in the book that are very graphic that could upset some children. You may want to cover up these pictures before using the book.

The Complete Book of World History

This is an excellent book because it's more detailed but not overwhelming either. It's most appropriate for 3rd grade and up. It starts with early humans and ends with modern history. It covers many of the same topics as Story of the World. It can also be great for review with 3rd or 4th graders who started the Bauer books in 1st grade. The Complete Book of US History is another great book in the Complete series.

A Little History of the World

Like the Story of the World books, Little History of the World uses a story telling format. It's best for 3rd graders and up although you could try it with younger kids. Again, it covers a lot of the same ground as Bauer's books but often with more details.

History can be fascinating to kids
History can be fascinating to kids


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