Story of the World, Vol. 2: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages (Second Revised Edition) (Vol. 2) (Story of the World) Second Revised Edition
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- Cafi Cohen, author of Homeschooling The Teen Years
“This may well be the best multi-age read aloud narrative of world history yet to have been written.”
- Homeschooling in Japan
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CONS: Def. Western-centric (though less than some of its competitors), and def. focused more on wars/politicians/history of power, and not much at all on history of ideas, art, philosophy, etc. Due to the breadth of the survey, there's little material connecting what happens in one place and time to any other.
Western-centric: Bauer includes lots of material on other cultures, it's true, but most of this is through the lens of Western history. Which is fair. And she does a much better job than most other material for this age group. If you use the book as a backbone rather than a sole resource, it should mostly work out anyway. I found it necessary to also buy a) a more completist survey that I use to supplement or contextualize when random non-Western countries show up in SOTW and b) a full-on history of China. Because Bauer has the kids so engaged with text, I found sources that were comics for these things: Cartoon History of the Universe Volumes 1-7 Gonick's History of the Universe/Modern World series and Jin Lui's Understanding China through Comics series https://www.amazon.com/Foundations-Chinese-Civilization-Emperor-Understanding/dp/1611720273/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510679206&sr=1-1&keywords=jing+liu&dpID=61JZ4KwqoaL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch
China has always been a tremendous power and has influenced much of history in that part of the world, so the terse coverage it receives in SOTW makes for some problems in giving children a more coherent idea of what happened almost anywhere East of Turkey.
History of Ideas: I would love to see the author in future editions make a list of resources at the end of each chapter... suggested art, music, important thinkers, scientists, etc. These are things you see in other courses of course, but as the history series tends to be the backbone for the classical education, it would simplify teaching greatly to find a short list of suggested related topics right in the text. I'm getting pretty good at balancing multiple history book (music, art, philosophy) on my desk at the same time, but I would have love to see these things more incorporated. Or, maybe a secondary textbook on history of ideas and culture? I appreciate the trickiness of organizing such a tremendous amount of information, so perhaps that would be the way to go.
I do history with all of my children at the same time, so my current students are 5, 7, 10, and 15. They all enjoy these stories, and are able to see how history is not a disconnected, unrelated jumble of names and dates, but a fascinating story that continues to this day.
We use this book as one of our "spines" and supplement with lots of other books to expand the narrative (as suggested in the Activity Guide in this series). I read aloud from this book (and series) almost daily. Highly recommended!
The thing I love about this book is that is can be used for so many different age groups and since it is a story book, you can read it over and over again. I love anything that can be used for many children, it saves me so much money in the long run.
Right now, we are using this, along with the activity books, for our fourth and fifth grader. We do from time to time, come up with extra activities, if the kids have really enjoyed learning something. The two books combined are a pretty complete curriculum.
Story telling can really made history come alive for kids! I highly recommend this program.