The Story of the World Curriculum

by Bethany Douglass

The history curriculum, The Story of the World, is certainly one of my favorite resources we use at home. Although my husband has a graduate degree in History, I have always felt fairly weak in this area, knowing a smattering of events here and there without really understanding their connection.

I remember when Liam was 6 or 7, he asked how old I was when I first learned about a certain event in Ancient history. "Right now!" I responded. And it's the truth. Through reading this 4-part series, I am beginning to grasp a more comprehensive view of history, but the best part—I'm learning many things for the first time right alongside my children. I should note: they love this time of our day as much as I do, often pleading for me to continue.

The Story of the World is exactly what it says—a story attempting to weave together the histories of various regions, cultures, and religions into a four-volume narrative. I love Bauer's attempt to bring together the story of history from around the world, so we're not merely learning about Western Civilization and religion but also about events occurring simultaneously in Eastern civilization.

The materials are easy to adapt and use however you wish. I know some families who simply listen to the audiobooks while others create elaborate projects (from the Activity Book). You can adjust it to how your family wants to use it. I should also note: you can still use this even if you don't homeschool. It would be easy to read-a-loud at home or have your children (reading level grade 3+) read-a-loud to you. You can purchase each of the volumes separately, too.

Medieval history + practicing the early stages of writing through listening, coloring (or another project), discussing, summarizing, and writing,

Approximately 30 minutes, 2-3 days/week


·  The Book - (we're using volume 2 right now)

·  The Activity Book - (includes questions and sample narrations for parents and activity ideas for each chapter)

·  Student spirals - (I printed and spiral-bound the student pages PDF for each of my children. These pages are also found at the back of the activity book, but are painstaking to copy. Trust me, this is easier.)

·  Notebook paper - (I included a piece of notebook paper for each chapter in my older kids' spirals. I inserted them before binding.)

When I announce it's time for history, the kids grab their history spirals from their cubbies and sit at the table. They really do love this part of our day. I bring various coloring supplies to spread out for them. I let them situate themselves and find their pages in the activity book as I announce what chapter we're reading that day. I remind the littles not to talk while I'm reading so everyone can hear. I prompt them with a few broad review/background questions to help connect what we've already read leading up to this point. This is helpful for all of us in building the connections.

Although sometimes I'll have the boys rotate reading aloud, they really enjoy listening and working on the activities, so I mostly do the reading. (You could also play the audio for this part if you tire of reading aloud.) As I read the chapter, the kids are coloring a page on the particular subject, listening. When I finish, I grab the Activity book and read the review questions from that section. We briefly discuss the key characters mentioned and events that happened.

After reviewing with questions, I'll ask the older kids to tell me what we read in 2-3 sentences (practicing summarizing). My oldest writes his narration down on the notebook paper in his spiral. I usually write the other kids narrations for them, and they read them back to me. We don't always do the last part. Sometimes we simply listen and color, but I try to include writing when I can.

This article was taken from the Wild + Free PRAIRIE bundle which is available for free for download here.

Bethany Douglass and her husband live in a small Texas town where they raise and home-educate their four gregarious children. Although life with four children is often messy, Bethany finds joy in the simple, ordinary moments with her family--a meal, a walk, a conversation. Her family’s homeschooling routine reflects much of this same simplicity: a grace-filled process of learning alongside one another, the fun and the difficult things alike. Bethany photographs and writes about their life and homeschooling journey at Cloistered Away, where she hopes to build courage into other parents on this worthy and often wearying path. | @cloisteredaway