Why Story of the World?

The Story of the World is an award-winning resource for families looking for a history curriculum they can fall in love with. Told in the straightforward, engaging style that has become Susan Wise Bauer's trademark, this four-volume set 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. This read-aloud series is designed for parents and teachers to share with elementary school children. Enjoy it together and introduce your child to the marvelous story of the world's civilizations.

I am writing while William and David build helicopter models and listen to The Story of the World on CD. Soccer and fencing lessons are finished for the school year and it’s too hot to go outside for long so we’re having a school day on Saturday. I am too busy as a home schooling parent to waste good “inside” days.

We sit at a large dining room table for most of our activities. It seats twelve and is extra wide so we all can be busy in the same place and work on individual activities. My boys occasionally need to process thoughts aloud. They are listening very quietly except for an occasional outburst of “Mom, help!” Usually before I can even get out of my chair, they say, “Never mind. I got it.” Or they mumble,” Where’s that screw?” or “I can’t do this…” I wait a minute before I step in to help as they need to try and try again before I take over. When I do help them, I begin the next step, but I make them finish it. I want them to be pleased with their work, not my work. David keeps getting frustrated as the directions are hard and he has to redo so many steps. I compromise with him and tell him that if he’ll take his work apart, I’ll help him put it together again. It is very rewarding to watch them work so intensely on a project.

This is very typical of our history studies. We listen to The Story of the World while our hands are busy or our bodies are captive in bed or in the car. The stories are read chronologically, but we listen to them in any order. They are just good stories.

Right now we’re listening to a story about Odysseus. We’ve read Homer in many versions and The Story of the World version instigates comments on other versions we’ve read. When we were listening to the mystery of the Citadels along the Indus River, we commented on how we could ask our friend from India to tell us more when he comes to visit next month. When the reader, Barbara Johnson, pronounced “Mycenaean”, she said it with a different accent than we do. I was wondering who’s right. Does ancient Mycenaean follow the same pronunciation as modern Greeks? Do we really know how to pronounce the word? When we looked up the pronunciation of “Amenhotep”; we found four different versions – one version with an accent for each of the four syllables.

William is helping David finish his model as The Story of the World discusses virtue among the Greeks. I use the moment to point out that William is demonstrating the same virtues of kindness that we are hearing. Then as the story of Cyrus’s birth was told, we discussed how similar Cyprus’s infancy was to the story of Snow White. We don’t study history in-depth chronologically. Instead, we’ve memorized the Veritas Press History Timeline, the American Presidents, and the Foundations Programs’ History Sentences. We use The Story of the World to flesh out the memorized events and place them in a more complete context.

We also read together every night. We are currently enjoying the Little Britches series by Ralph Moody and a Newbery Winner called The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois. Moody’s books are true stories about America before World War II, and The Twenty-One Balloons references science, math, and inventions. Both weave into our memorized timeline and The Story of the World. So, if it is important to you to study history in-depth and chronologically, please listen to these CDs or read these books in the proper order. I’m too busy to use that approach. I know my boys have memorized almost 300 history events and hundreds of geographical locations. This makes all of history always interesting no matter what order we learn it in.

Well, the models are finished and the CD is over. Time to go swimming!

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