The Story of the World History Curriculum Review

For the past year, we have been reading through The Story of the World Series as part of our homeschool.

We’ve read about:

  • The nomads in the fertile crescent
  • The Golden Age of Egypt
  • What life was like in Sparta and Athens
  • The rise and fall of the Roman Empire
  • The Crusades
  • The destruction of the Jewish temple
  • Christopher Columbus discovering America
  • Martin Luther and the 95 Theses
  • The samurai warriors of Japan

We’ve learned about much, much more, but it would take far too long to mention everything. There have been so many fascinating things we’ve been learning in our homeschool through this series.

Story Of The World Review

The more I read these books aloud to my kids, the more I realize how important it is that my children know history. As George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We can’t understand how far we’ve come unless we understand where we’ve been. We will forever be repeating the same mistakes unless we learn from the past. Learning history can help us to prepare for the future.

This post will be an in-depth review of the Story of the World curriculum. I hope that I can convince you to at least try it out so that you can benefit from this amazing resource, as we have.

What is The Story of the World?

The Story of the World is a narrative-style history curriculum, made up of four volumes.

It is written by Susan Wise Bauer and published by The Well Trained Mind Press. It is an award-winning homeschool resource, loved by many families. There are over 150,000 copies in print!

Susan Wise Bauer is also the author of the very popular book ‘The Well Trained Mind – A Guide to Classical Education at Home’ which is a guide on how to give your child a rich and comprehensive education.

The Story of the World includes 4 volumes:

  • The Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times (5000 BC to 400 AD)
  • The Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages (400 – 1600)
  • The Story of the World Volume 3: Early Modern Times (1600 to 1850)
  • The Story of the World Volume 4: The Modern Age (1850 to 1994)

These books are simply just the text (they have some maps and pictures, but no workbook pages, activities, or review questions). They can be read by the parent aloud to their children, or they can be read by older students themselves.

There is also an audiobook version of the books available, for those homeschool mums who already have enough reading aloud to do!

You can use the narrative volumes by themselves, or use them alongside the activity books and additional resources listed down below, to make a complete year’s curriculum.

The books are designed for elementary-aged children, grades 1-5.

The volumes are written entertainingly and concepts are simplified to help younger children understand better what is being read. The series is engaging and interesting, with pictures and maps, and an abundance of stories, myths, and legends.

Why The Story of the World Series is Effective

story of the world activity book

What makes The Story of the World so effective, is that it presents history as one continuous narrative.

History won’t seem boring anymore when it is presented in this style. After all, kids love stories, and the series is just one big long story!

With the maps and timelines included, your child will better make sense of History, from the beginning of ancient civilizations, up until the modern era.

It is fascinating to learn about the origins of the world’s civilizations in this narrative style.

The Story of the World Curriculum

For each volume in the Story of the World series, there is:

  • Audiobook/audio CD
  • Activity book (PDF download or consumable paperback available)
  • Test book (PDF download or consumable paperback available)
  • Review questions worksheets (PDF download or consumable paperback available)
  • Coloring pages book – These are all the coloring pages found within the activity book for that volume. (PDF download or consumable paperback available)

You can purchase the volumes as softcover or hardcover books here on Amazon.

The narrative volumes are sold individually, as well as a set of 4 books. You can also buy the curriculum sets which include one volume along with the corresponding activity book, and the test and answer key.

The Story of the World Activity Books

The activity book and curriculum guide include:

  • Map activities
  • Games
  • Review questions
  • Coloring pages
  • Projects
  • Cross-references to encyclopedias
  • Booklists

History of the World High School Curriculum

The History of the World Series is also by Susan Wise Bauer and is written for high school students.

This series includes three books:

  • The History of the Ancient World
  • The History of the Medieval World
  • The History of the Renaissance World

This series is also an engaging narrative of history, with maps and timelines included within the books.

Using The Story of the World in our Homeschool

We currently use the volumes by themselves as a read-aloud. I read one chapter a day to my girls, who are 5 and 3. As they get older, we will likely add the activity books into the mix.

Each day after we finish our bookwork, I make my girls some morning tea.

Then I gather together our read-alouds:

  • Devotional or children’s Bible
  • A chapter book we are currently reading through (such as Secret of the Hidden Scrolls)
  • Our Story of the World book.

While I’m reading, my 3-year-old will come and go, but my 5-year-old will always sit there listening very attentively.

One particular day, I was wondering how much my daughter could understand, and how much she was taking in.

Later that same day as we were driving somewhere in the car, she started telling me all about Julius Caesar! I was shocked at how many details she could recall, and how well she had been listening.

Sometimes I think we underestimate what children are capable of!

What history curriculum do you use? Have you tried Story of the World? What do you think of it? Please leave a comment down below!

3 thoughts on “The Story of the World History Curriculum Review”

  1. I used Story of the World with my 3 kids. We loved it! After reading the narrative we would delve into the related activities from writing in Cuniform on clay tablets to holding the elaborate tea ceremony of the Japanese monks. I also love the fact that it is presented in the form of a continuous narrative.


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