Homeschool Curriculum Review - The Story of the World Volume 3: The Early Modern Times
The Story of the World history curriculum by Susan Wise Bauer is a complete history program starting from the very beginning of time all the way though the middle 20th century. This program is divided into four volumes; this hub will be on Volume 3: Early Modern Times, essentially from 1600 through 1850.
If you are looking for a classical approach to homeschooling then The Story of the World curriculum will fit your needs. Susan Wise Bauer is also the author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home and incorporates those ideas into this history curriculum. Many other history curriculums just pick one area of the world to cover for each time period. I do not think that is a thorough history education and prefer The Story of the World approach that covers many areas during the same time period. This provides the children with a complete view of the world during each time period, not an isolated view.
In Volume 3 of The Story of the World you and your children (I always learn lots of great things right along with my children) will learn about all the continents of the world. There were so many explorations, advancements, discoveries and inventions during this time period - it is a very exciting time in history to learn about and The Story of the World makes it so much fun.
There are three parts of each Story of the World volume with each being sold separately. There is the story book, the activity book and the test book. You can use these books on their own, or in combination with each other or other curriculum, or use all three. I found it most effective to use all three books together. Many people, though, use the activity book to supplement other history curriculums. They do this because the activity book is so great.
The activity book is broken up into two sections, the parent section and the student section. The student section is full of reproducible pages for your child - coloring pages, maps, games and activities. The parent section is the best part of the book. It has a (usually) long list of books that go along with each chapter. Most of them are to be read aloud, but there are usually some that are for the children to read on their own. I have always had a tough time finding age appropriate books on the topics we study and this list is just perfect.
The activity book also provides you with questions to ask your child after you have read the chapter to determine if they understood and retained the information you read them. There are also many activities included for each chapter. You don't have to do all of them, pick what interests you and your child. Here is a sample of the activities you can pick from for chapter 1: A World of Empires - a math activity to see exactly what five hundred billion, a craft activity - how to make Spanish doubloons, a game activity "Steal the Spanish Treasure", and a project of making a mine shaft. That is a lot of great activities.
While most of the books that The Story of the World uses can be checked out from the library there are a few books that you will want to own. The Story of the World uses four large history books to go along with the story book. I don't think you need to purchase all four, as having just three of these extra books has been sufficient for us for years now. Each chapter references pages in these books and if you are looking for a complete curriculum you will want them. There is a test book that goes along with each volume. This is a good way to see how well your children are learning the information at the end of each chapter. My kids enjoy taking the tests and they are short and sweet offering a variety of styles of questions, not just strictly multiple choice.
We have really enjoyed The Story of the World curriculum. If you are looking to supplement a history program you are already using, or are looking for a complete program to take you through time The Story of the World is a great choice. Please click these links for reviews of Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 4.