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The Story of the World Reviews

This extensive collection of texts, workbooks, tests and recordings presents the history of the world from ancient times to the modern ages as a series of narratives. Told in a straightforward, engaging style that has become Susan Wise Bauer’s trademark, The Story of the World series covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas—find out what happened all around the world in long-ago times. Each Story of the World volume provides a full year of history study when combined with the Activity Book, Audiobook, and Tests—each available separately to accompany each volume of The Story of the World Text Book. The texts are suitable to be read aloud for the entire family. Available activity guides supplement the texts: Color a picture of a Minoan bull-jumper, make a model of the Nile River, create Roman armor and Celtic jewelry and more…don’t just read about history—experience it! This comprehensive, 8.5″ x 11″ curriculum guide and activity book contains map activities, coloring pages, games, projects, review questions, cross-references to illustrated encyclopedias, and extensive book lists. Children and parents love the activities, ranging from cooking projects to crafts, board games to science experiments, and puzzles to projects.

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  1. The Story of the World Review by Debby Sapp
    Pros: Short, personal stories.
    Cons: The worldview.
    Grades Used: Elementary

    Many people in a co-op I was in were using this curriculum and I tried it. I really tried to like it, but didn’t. The worldview, in particular, didn’t settle with me. I’m a Christian, and when it would talk about children worshiping other gods, there was no teaching that brought out the truth of God’s word compared to what these others were worshiping. We had the Diana Waring CDs at the same time and enjoyed her audio presentations much more, though one of my older daughters preferred the Story of the World CD presentations better.

    It just didn’t build an excitement or interest in history in my daughter the way History Revealed! did.

  2. The Story of the World Review by Kendall
    Pros: Well written
    Cons: Number of lessons
    Grades Used: 3-4

    We love this curriculum. It is easy to read and is written more like a story than a textbook. It is prefect for my son who learns better through real books than textbooks

  3. The Story of the World Review by Natlie
    Pros: engages children, makes history interesting
    Cons: history stems from an evolutionary mindset
    Grades Used: 1st

    Like many have also expressed, this curriculum is engaging and my children enjoy the reading as well as the activities. My problem with this material is that it does not address an accurate view of ancient man. To truly tell the story of the world from the beginning, I would expect the book to start with Adam and Eve and discuss the fall, the flood, and the dispersion of people groups from the tower of Babel from a historical perspective. SOW instead starts with a “primitive” man mindset and evolutionary dating. Therefore, I cannot say I would recommend this resource. I know Answers in Genesis has a wonderful history curriculum, though it is for children in upper elementary through high school. This is something to think about if your kids are in that age range and you’re looking for a Biblical history outline of the world.

  4. The Story of the World Review by Stephanie Orndorff
    Pros: A glimpse into world history, not U.S. centric
    Cons: takes some time, not a bad thing, just a factor
    Grades Used: K - 2

    We have used volume 3 for the first time ever, to supplement our learning U.S. History through Classical COnversations this year. I selected certain chapters that I thought would be of interest and add to their understanding of certain events in U.S. History. My kids have enjoyed the reading material and the projects in the workbook a lot! I have enjoyed reading it to them and feel that I learn quite a bit with every chapter. It takes some time to do, but feel it is really worth it. I am excited about starting Vol. 1 next year and doing more of the chapter.

  5. The Story of the World Review by kirsten
    Pros: so fun and interesting
    Cons: none
    Grades Used: 3,4,5,6

    My kids adored listening to these CDs in the car – would beg for them. Very interesting and memoriable. Suppliment with geography or places discussed.

  6. The Story of the World Review by Pati
    Pros: Audio CDs
    Cons: Price, fantasy
    Grades Used: Vol. 1

    The CDs are great for a busy homeschooling mom. Also nice if your not sure of some pronunciations.

    As a Christian I cannot use the entire book with my children. It comes from an evolution of man perspective and includes fantasy which is supposed to be like a living book approach. The Bible stories which are included are not very accurate which leads me to have some doubts about the authors ability to report/record history accurately.

    If these are concerns you share you may want to look elsewhere.

  7. The Story of the World Review by Jan Lance
    Pros: Pick it up and go, all planned out for you
    Cons: a few project instructions unclear, or don't work correctly
    Grades Used: k-8

    We have used all volumes 1- 4 of this series. We love it! Not only do you get the story of hiSTORY but if you purchase the activity book, student pages and test booklet, there will be so much to do you could take 2 years on each! With each chapter there are age appropriate narration/review questions, literature and non-fiction reading suggestions, maps, projects with lists of supplies and art work, and I’m sure I’m forgetting things. My kids put their work in a three ring binder on a sort of timeline and loved to look back to what they had learned previously. I would recommend using the whole system for elementary/middle school.

  8. The Story of the World Review by DeDe Brown
    Grades Used: 8

    I was feeling that I had neglected history with my son and was looking for something to “fill in the holes” so I purchased volumes 2-4 of Story of the World! We are LOVING it! I also ordered the test packet for each volume and that is also keeping us on track. We read the stories aloud together. The stories are wonderful and interesting and really tie everything together! I am learning right along side my son and isn’t that what home school is about! We both look forward to our time together. We do supplement our with other books but I would definitely recommend this series as a foundation!

  9. The Story of the World Review by Jenn Kruzewski
    Pros: Kids love to listen to it
    Cons: some of the dates are incorrect
    Grades Used: 2-5

    I love this series for younger kids.

  10. The Story of the World Review by Jenn Kruzewski
    Pros: Kids love to listen to it
    Cons: some of the dates are incorrect
    Grades Used: 2-5

    I love this series for younger kids. It gives them a great introduction to history without having to memorize all the facts and dates. Later when we cover these times in more depth they will have some recognition. They will be able to build on what they are already familiar with.

  11. The Story of the World Review by carrie walsh
    Pros: great value,fun,great book resource list
    Grades Used: i did not find any

    we used the story of the world vol.1&2.I did also get the activity books but thought it was a great deal considering I will use them again for the 2nd two parts of the trivium as an outline guide.Thats less than $60.00 for 3 seperate years of use for each volumn.That’s a great deal!

  12. The Story of the World Review by michelle perry
    Pros: activity book gives hands on choices to go with each chapter and lists engaging books for older kids to read
    Grades Used: k, 2, 7

    This was great as a read-aloud with coloring pages and art projects to do together. My older daughter and I enjoyed and learned a lot from the additional book suggestions; we read about thirty of them for each SOW volume. All three of my kids have impressive retention of the info from SOW 1-2, and they continue to be excited about history!

  13. The Story of the World Review by Tiffani Crews
    Pros: Christian based in many areas. Many fun activity and printable ideas. Covers many areas that I may have on my own forgotten to cover.
    Cons: may not always be able to get the extra books listed in the resource area. Sometimes the content is not as meaty as I'd prefer.
    Grades Used: 1st grade

    We started using this curriculum after we found it at a second hand store for a better price than we could have found it at a bookstore. We have really enjoyed it, but I have definitely learned to supplement more thoroughly from the library. We spent a much longer time on Egypt than we have on say the Sumerians.

    I really appreciate the Biblical point of view put forth as fact. My children know that the work of God is and was going on at the same time as the things of history. How wonderful to see a history program include this.

    We will continue at a slow pace through this curriculum for the next few years.

  14. The Story of the World Review by Angie Berrios
    Pros: Esay read for children and the story line keeps them engaged.
    Cons: price
    Grades Used: 3rd

    We are using Story of the World: Ancient History. The Activity Book although expensive I feel was worth it for the maps and activities. It does saves alot of time and energy you would use for researching.
    We use the coloring pages when I read to my son, but those have gotten a bit boring for him.

  15. The Story of the World Review by LuAnn S
    Pros: Great Activity Book
    Cons: Not Christian based
    Grades Used: Volumen 1

    We have just started using this set of history books and we really like it. You do need the activity book and I recommend you buy at least two of the other books referenced in the activity book.

    I prefer to use books that are written from a Christian perspective and this is not, nor are the supplemental books recommended.

    The activities (making a chicken mummy) are a lot of fun and help the kids retain what they learned.

    If you are short of time, you can buy the CD and let the kids listen to it. I try to read it once and later in the week have them listen to it on the CD while they are coloring.

  16. The Story of the World Review by Birgit Grothe
    Pros: Child appropriate narration style, enjoyable, terrific reading suggestions in activity guide, great hand-on activities, mapwork in the activity guide
    Cons: Lots of coloring on the activity guide pages, not the best activity for a child who does not like coloring
    Grades Used: K,1

    My son absolutely loves this program, the narration, the activities as long as it’s not coloring, and the recommended additional reading. He constantly asks to listen to the main text again on CD (Jim Weiss), he loves to hear the stories over and over again.
    Other comments claim not enough emphasis on Christian worldview, others criticize that “history”, “myths”, and “religion” are mixed.
    Granted, this is not a program that puts God into each and every sentence, and it will also not leave out myths or religions other than Christianity. Fact is there have been/still exist(!) civilizations that follow other beliefs and have created myths. This program tells about them. It will not tell you what you are to believe, neither pro-Christianity nor against. Susan Wise Bauer clearly says that it is up to the parents to expand on that, to bring in their own worldview, to put other beliefs into context of what God says. Nevertheless, SOW does take the Bible as history, not as a simple collection of stories. You will find for example Joseph’s and Moses’ accounts in there. Archeology has provided ample evidence that the Bible is in fact a historically correct account of certain events in history.
    The program is called Story of the WORLD, not Story of the Bible, so you will not find a complete chronological timeline of the Bible in there, that also means there is no reference to the exact beginning of history.
    The recommended book selections are excellent. About every ten weeks, I mark in the activity guide during which weeks I will be teaching the next 10 lessons. I then check which books are recommended, put all that are in our library system on hold (and suspend each book until about 7-10 days before I need it), then I check whether any of the remaining books are worth owning, and if they are I check amazon marketplace, half.com, and similar places for good deals.
    Hands and Hearts currently still offers very nice history kits that have everything in them for fun activities that work well with SOW in case you want all materials ready to go in a kit instead of hunting down each item.

  17. The Story of the World Review by Sally
    Pros: This style of learning world history can't be beat
    Cons: The activity book is a necessity for making the learning so fun
    Grades Used: Book 1 and 4

    When the words “history time” leave my mouth, my children leap into action. One grabs my books, another grabs their notebooks, another grabs the colors/markers, and another grabs the corresponding GeoPuzzle for that chapter. I NEVER had this much fun in history. The way the history facts are presented is engaging; everyone loves to listen. The activity books are, in my opinion, necessary and bring each chapter to life. The questions help them to retain what they heard read to them. The outlines further implant the knowledge in their minds. The maps reinforce the geography, and the activities offer hands-on learning. Making Phoenician Bread, displaying a time line, and re-creating a volcano – who can beat that type of history class!

  18. The Story of the World Review by Penny Turpin
    Grades Used: SOTW1-4

    Pro: We loved the way the text is written as a story. Also the activities book contained a wide variety of activities and coordinating readings.

    Con: Too many books/activities for each chapter…learned early on that we would have to pick and choose what we did.

  19. The Story of the World Review by Julia James
    Pros: Fun stories that are short and engaging
    Cons: Not really a complete history program aloe
    Grades Used: 1st

    I think this is a good book to introduce history as a flowing story to a younger child. I would not use this past 4th grade. I agree there are some inaccuracies, although small, and sometimes the excerpts seem random and abrupt. Like a story about a boy in China going to the rice fields with his father is a cute, engaging story, but it ends with his grandfather telling them of his childhood when the valley flooded. The story ends with the boy saying gee, I hope my house doesn’t flood and I am homeless too! We suppliment with a LOT of library books to round out the perspectivem and also ust the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History.

    We do not use the Bible Stories in this book because I do not trust the author to be accurate and Bible is very important in our homeschool. We use a separate Bible for that history daily.

    I LOVE the activity book with narration questions and activity sheets to photocopy. This is a good resourse but I wouldn’t trust it for our entire historical knowledge.

  20. The Story of the World Review by Julie Scott
    Pros: enjoyable reading
    Cons: Christian content treated same as other religions
    Grades Used: first book

    We’ve just used this book as a supplement to the Mystery of History curriculum we’re currently using for history. I had narrowed it down to these 2 (liking that both interspersed biblical history with world history, so as to get an idea where biblical history fits in with the rest of history) and had borrowed Story of the World from the library to try it out. Started reading it to my girls & they wanted more! I ended up choosing MOH (never looked at the activity book of SOTW, but wanted a more overtly Christian history text and liked what I saw when perusing a friend’s copy), but now I get SOTW from the library and try to read the portions that correspond with our current time period in MOH. As I said, my girls really enjoy hearing the stories.

  21. The Story of the World Review by Kristen Romano
    Pros: Love the classical approach to history
    Cons: you really need the Activity booklets to make the stories come to life and that increases the cost
    Grades Used: 1st

    We are on the Ancients and find the chapters engaging. I do feel that in order to really get the most out of these books you should make the extra purchase and buy the accompanying activity books to fully engage your child.
    I had read many reviews before I purchased the set. There are many negative reviews on Amazon and I would suggest any potential buyer check those out.
    Some of their concerns were the style of writing seemed patronizing. I didn’t find it that way myself.
    Another concern was mix of myths and history and religion. I for one feel that as a homeschooling parent I should be previewing any material I give to my children anyway. So I won’t be upset if the author jumps from historical fact to a bible story without any introduction. I can do that for my child.
    Also, I read there are many inaccuracies in the historical content. I do not mind. I am using these books as an Introduction to my child. I don’t expect them to remember all these dates and facts for the rest of their life without following it up with anything else. These books just open the doors.
    I consider it similar to allowing my child to read abridged versions of the classics. It’s okay for now while I am laying a foundation for my child, but everything will be built upon as my child grows and can handle more credible workloads.

  22. The Story of the World Review by Melinda Curtis

    We started using this a few weeks ago. I think it’s a great supplement to Classical Conversations. Some of the entries are a little above what my 1st grader can comprehend but overall I highly recommend it!

  23. The Story of the World Review by Shannon Sanford

    We really love Story of the World! We have found it very easy to use and it really holds the interest of my child.

  24. The Story of the World Review by Chrystal Richerson
    Grades Used: k,1

    I enjoy it, but to make it fun you have to get the activity book, which does up the cost.

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