Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home also wrote these history texts. Following classical education's 4-year repeating cycle, there are four texts, one each for 1st through 4th grades. They contain over 40 lessons written out in a friendly, conversational, and interesting manner. The Story of the World covers all of world history in story format. Each chapter in the book is meant to be used as a jumping-off point for the rest of the history lesson. There are also activity books and student tests to supplement the core text. We haven't used the tests but I plan to for 5th-8th grades. The activity books include:

- blackline maps
- coloring sheets
- paper dolls
- games
- craft projects
- recipes
- more

In addition, the books are available in CD sets if you or your child would prefer to hear it rather than read it. They have between 7 and 9 CDs per set. They are read with clarity and emotion by a male voice, and as he changes character or whatever he changes his voice to great effect. They come in 2 cardstock sleeves and I put mine in a dollar-store CD storage folder so my kids are less likely to scratch them.

This is the homeschooled, homeschooling author of the Well Trained Mind and the Story of the World series. Susan Wise Bauer is pictured(R) with Jim Weiss(L), the man behind the voice on the CD set.

The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History is a crucial resource to have. Written at a 3rd- 5th grade reading level, it is your supplement text for Story of the World for all four years. It's full of gorgeous pictures and diagrams, maps and drawings. After your child reads about an event in world history, he can go on-line and check the resources there, including videos and lessons. It includes all the major civilizations and events from the dawn of creation to the year 2000. (We skimmed the first hundred pages or so that explain as fact the Big Bang up to the end of the last ice age.)


We have really enjoyed this method of learning history. In a story format, it's much more interesting and likely to be remembered. When we were talking about my son starting history this fall, my older daughter got so excited and started just gushing the praises of Tarak, a fictional nomad girl from the very first history lesson in book 1. She was thrilled that her brother was going to 'meet' Tarak soon, and listed off everything she knew about Tarak's nomad lifestyle... and she learned about it almost 2 full years ago! So, what would a classical history lesson look like? Bauer suggests doing history one day a week with a long chunk of time dedicated to it, or doing one shorter session twice a week. These are the tasks to accomplish for each chapter from the text:

First, Bauer suggests reading (or listening) to a chapter from the Story of the World. Your child can color the corresponding coloring sheet while he listens.

Next, your child dictates to you or writes his own summary of the chapter. I tell my kids its like changing a movie into a preview, and that really helps them focus on what is most important about the chapter.

Then, find whatever place was the location or focus for the chapter on the globe and the map, and do the mapwork outlined in the activity book. We use colored pencils because they can get such a fine point (unlike crayons) and they don't bleed through or soak the paper. Also, they can be erased, to a point.

Next, you open the The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History and turn to the pages that correspond to the lesson. One of the time-savers that I love from SOTW is in the teacher's lesson plan, they list the pages in the encyclopedia for that lesson. Just peruse the double page spread with your child and note anything awesome to investigate further.

Last, you can go to the library and get books out on whatever caught their eye from the lesson, even if it is a book about how medieval women dressed. Or, you can do one of the projects in the end of each lesson plan, which range widely in variety. In the early ages we are just trying to excite their little brains with images and ideas, not necessarily focusing on what we would think is the most crucial for college entrance exams.

I'm so pleased you are utilizing Classical Curriculum!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear

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