antique globe close-up story of the world
Curriculum Reviews,  Relaxed and Eclectic,  The Homeschool,  Unit Studies

The Story of the World Curriculum Review

Let’s jump right in! Here is my Story of the World Curriculum review. Story of the World is a fantastic, secular curriculum by Susan Wise Bauer that teaches world history in an engaging and simple manner. While it is listed as “History for the Classical Child,” it works with any type of homeschooling philosophy. We have been using this curriculum for three years now and really enjoy it.

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  • The Story of the World is sold in four separate volumes, covering ancient to modern times.
  • The main book is paperback, smallish, and easy to transport.
  • You can purchase the optional: activity book and student pages, test book, and audiobook CDs.
  • You will read (or listen to) a chapter to learn world history.
  • If you use the activity book (recommended) you will follow it with narration exercises, oral review, and optional worksheets and activities.

What Should I Buy?

While this curriculum could easily just be a read-aloud with the main book, we really enjoy the activities and student pages that go along with them. You’ll find coloring pages, word searches, map work, timeline illustrations, and much more.

The Story of the World Vol. 1 has 42 chapters (great number) and it covers civilizations across the globe. History is told through short stories. Children are encouraged to use their imaginations to visit a certain time and place. SOTW shares factual history, myths, and literature from the past. This curriculum is considered secular, but it does include Bible stories and beliefs from various religions.

One con I have is that the myths and tales are woven so smoothly with the history that it could be easy to confuse fact and fiction. The books really do a great job of making it entertaining for kids though, so I can see why they use the stories as they do. It would just be up to the parent to help clarify if needed.

Pro-tip: Get the audiobooks

The first year we only used the book (Volume 1: Ancient Times) and the corresponding Activity Book. However, I got the audiobooks last year and it was a game-changer! We can now learn about the Olmecs or ancient India on our drive to soccer or the grocery store. If you are a family that is on-the-go: please do yourself a favor and get the CDs!

A Few More Points

  • My daughter is a voracious, independent reader and zoomed through the book herself. Not exactly how the curriculum was intended to be used, but hey, it was enjoyable reading. Easy history lessons for mom are good in my book!
  • My son enjoys listening to the stories on the audiobooks and doing the corresponding worksheets and activities. This is from a kid who generally dislikes doing worksheets and activities.
  • The corresponding literature suggestions are great. If you’re a Unit Study family (or really on top of it) you can put these extra books on hold through your library in advance. Each chapter could easily become a thorough, multi-subject unit study.
  • Did I mention the audiobooks are awesome for traveling families, car rides, or easy, independent time for students & mom? Do it!
  • The activities are super easy and fun. They almost always require materials I already have on hand. They are generally quick to execute. I’m guilty of riding the slacker train so this is huge for me!

In conclusion, we love SOTW and I highly recommend it to new and seasoned homeschool families. I hope you enjoyed my Story of the World curriculum review. Have you used it before? Do you love it too? Let me know down below!

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