Monday, September 28, 2009

Story of the World Giveaway

One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that I get to keep on learning right alongside my kids. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I like history! Last summer I read some very interesting books about subjects as diverse as Arctic colonization and the American dust bowl, and you know what they shared in common? History. How can a person get to be my age and not know they love history? The boring public school system, that’s how. We use Sonlight curriculum and are studying World History this year. The kids and I look forward to our read aloud time everyday.

Sonlight World History part I (core 6) uses Susan Wise Bauer’s The Story of the World volume 1: Ancient Times and volume 2: The Middle Ages as primary texts that serve as the backbone that everything else attaches to for the World History core. This is actually our second year in a row to read Story of the World volumes one and two. Last year we were using Story of the World on its own for history and this year when I made the switch to Sonlight I found we were happy to read them again.

Here’s what I love about Story of the World. Susan Wise Bauer really does teach history through the telling of stories. For instance, the story of Lei Zu and the Silkworm which recounts how the sharp witted empress of China noticed that a silkworm’s cocoon is comprised of tiny threads when it fell into her hot tea one morning and began to unravel, is much more interesting and memorable than just reading in a text about the Chinese being the inventors of silk. The stories are fun to read and rather than focusing on the rote memorization of dates and names, they give an up close and personal look at what it might have been like to actually be there in that time and place in history.

I highly recommend The Story of the World series to anyone who is having trouble getting their kids interested in history. In fact, even if you aren’t homeschooling, this is an awesome read aloud series that’s fun for the whole family. Big D happened to be passing through the living room the other day while we were reading and it captured his attention causing him to sit down and listen to the rest of the story. It’s sure to capture the attention of your family, as well.

Here’s how you enter:

Comment on this post about how you make history come alive for your kids. I’m struggling with getting in our map and timeline activities. Any suggestions, other than just do it? I know I should probably put the map in a more visible location. Crafts and projects intimidate me, but I have a very artistic daughter who would probably learn well this way. Even if you’re not homeschooling, tell me how you get your kids interested in history. There will be two winners. First prize is for both volumes 1 and 2 of The Story of the World. Second prize is for volume 1 only. I’ll draw the winners Friday morning.


  1. We have been studying American History some of last year and this year. We started from the ground up with Explorers and have finally worked our way up to Lewis and Clark. We like to read biographies and historical fiction to bring history alive for us and much discussion. We do keep a Book of Centuries for our timeline. We will be studying the Ancient histories starting in another year. We would love to have one or both of these books. You can reach me at

  2. Oh we LOOOOVE history. This year we started a timeline and I find that it really helps to keep an idea of the historical events as they have happened chronologically. Some of the things that we do are:

    -Check out books from the library on the part of history that we are learning about. During our "book basket" and read aloud time we read more in depth about the experiences of people during that time. I love to get books about children who have lived during that time so the kids can relate better.
    -Crafts in conjuction to those they would have done back then. When we studied pilgrims, we learned how they made their houses and we made "oiled windows" like the ones they used on their houses.
    - Imagination trips. Have the children close their eyes and imagine what they might see if they took a trip back to the time you are studying about.
    -A trip to a museum to show an exhibit on what you are studying
    -nest family learning videos. WE LOVE THESE!!!! You can rent them at the library or buy them online or at a homeschooling conference. We have the whole library and I find that we have a movie for almost every history topic we are studying.
    -Note booking and coloring pages. I always print out a few coloring pages and have the kids write about what they have learned.
    History can be so much fun, and even better when we "bring it to life"

    I never knew how much I loved history either until I started homeschooling !!!

  3. Right now my kids are studying about John Adams (and that ERA) and one of the things we discussed is who made the bust of Ben Franklin. (Jean-Antoine Houdon). So, the kids and I went to the library and found books on his work and each of the kids are doing a "piece" resembling his style of art.

  4. we study a LOT about medieval times...mostly b/c of our involvement with the SCA ( however, once baby arrives, one of the things i'd like to do is read about other times in's something i struggled with, and want my girls to have a love for!

  5. We are doing sunlight too! and we love it too! I know what you mean about the map and timeline. I'm forcing myself to use it. I think it's really important for them to visualize when and where things mesh together. I rent videos from netflix that pertain to the time period. I try and do some kind of craft or project. With the ancient egyptians I bought the Usborne craft kit. It was a little below my 12 year old, but she did it with her younger siblings so it was fun. We try and do lapbooks or notebooks too. Plus dad quizes them every night at dinner.

  6. We are a seize the moment family when it comes to history. DH majored in history in college and did a fair amount of travelling thanks to the Army, so he has the enthusiasm to make it all real and interesting. Any time something history or geography related comes up in reading or in a movie or whatever, you can expect one of us to pull out a map and/or search the shelves for a book that covers the subject for visual aids. We love the family learning together aspect of homeschooling!

  7. You guys are giving me some great ideas! Thanks for the tips and keep 'em coming! My family will greatly benefit!

  8. History is my favorite! Unfortunately I am not homeschooling my kids at the moment, just moved, long story...but I'm hoping to again and would love to use Story of the World. I've looked at them at the library more than once and wished they were living on my shelf.
    Last year we studied the founding of America and everything we did was history based, even the math and science. It was fun!
    Our favorite thing to do is to read historical fiction and then have a celebration at the end with food that is appropriate for the time, and costumes(if I'm feeling generous) and games/activities from that era. I also have the kids illustrate/journal their favorite part of the book.

    I hope you find what works for you and your family.

  9. We love history and we love Sonlight. This is our 10th year using Sonlight. I am not crafty at all, although a few of my kids are. We have used Lapbooks with our Sonlight curriculum to add some writing to the mix. It is also nice to have something to show at the end of the year with all the learning we have done!
    We also have used Hands and Hearts craft kits. We did the ones for the Middle Ages and Greek and Roman times. They are a bit pricey, but they include everything you need to do them. And they are a homeschool family, so I don't mind supporting them when I can!
    As far as the timeline, I am a complete failure on this one. I got the idea in my head that I wanted a timeline on the wall so the kids could see where we were in relation to all of time, and I could never get a good wall one. I did look at the Konos one, but I didn't have room for it on my wall. I save all the timeline figures, and at some point I need to jump in and start using them!
    Blessings to you. I am enjoying your blog!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.