Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Story of Civilization - The Ancient World

I have found the history curriculum I have been dreaming about!  Tan Books has published the most wonderful curriculum I could have ever wanted called The Story of Civilization.  There are four volumes (The Ancient World, The Medieval World, The Making of the Modern World, The History of the United States) but this review will focus on the first volume, The Ancient World.

The complete set comes with the text book, an activity book, a teachers manual, a test book, the dramatized audio book, access to the video lecture series and a wall timeline.  The series is meant for use through eighth grade.  We will be using it with 8th, 6th, 4th, and 2nd grade this coming school year.

This program is completely open and go, making life easy for mom.  Our plan for each week will be to read the chapter (or listen to the audio book and have the kids read along in the text) while coloring the page from the activity book.  The next day we will do narrations and the questions for review from the teachers manual.  Day three we will watch the video lecture and do our map activities from the activity book.  On day four we will enter dates into our personal timelines, do any craft projects I feel we can get to, and the older kids will take the test from the test book.

The text is well written and is truly a "living" book (as Charlotte Mason would call it).  Author Phillip Campbell is knowledgeable and obviously excited about the subject of history, and that excitement and interest comes through in the book.  Included in the book is also small bits of historical fiction to really bring the subject alive, and the text clearly states when that transition happens.  The dramatized audio book is well produced and I can see us listening to it many times over.  You can hear a sample at Tan Books.  The video lecture is definitely worth purchasing, as Mr. Campbell not only reviews the text, but adds other interesting information as well as showing maps and other images as appropriate.  Each video is about ten minutes long.  The activity book has maps, crafts, coloring pages, mazes and other puzzles.  It's a great companion to the text.  You will need the teacher's manual to use the activity book.

The only thing I wish could have been included is a book list for further reading.  It's easy enough to pull one together though, and that is my plan for the coming year.  The Ancient World covers "from the dawn of history to the conversion of Constantine".  Ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, and the early Church are all included.  Because of this, and depending on ages of the kids using it and other books added in for further reading, I could see spreading this course out for two years.  We are planning on trying to do it in one, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm very grateful to Tan Books for sending me a complete copy of the program for an honest review.  I'm thrilled with it and excited to use it as well as the other volumes in future years. Pick up your copy here.

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