Focus on World History

If a strictly "textbook" approach to history isn't your cup of tea, maybe this interactive, investigative, and multi-faceted series is more to your liking. Each of these approximately 130-page volumes contains teacher information as well as student activities in one volume, with the teacher's part containing relevant background information on that era, as well as a summary of the accompanying student activities. Following this are several pages of student background reading for each unit, covering information about the time period from several different regions of the world. The reproducible student worksheets follow, and include a wide variety of activities utilizing the students reasoning, analysis, and interpretation skills. I like the fact that the majority of these worksheets contain excerpts from primary source documents relevant to the time period, along with comprehension, reasoning, and "thinking beyond" questions to delve deeper into what everyday life and culture was really like in these eras and civilizations. Other student worksheets contain geography and mapping activities as well as filling in Venn and other diagrams, and other exercises requiring the student to utilize their critical thinking skills in a historical context. Additional "Challenge Questions" are included at the bottom of every worksheet page, to spark further research and investigation into the particular topic and time period. At the end of the units, an answer key to the worksheets, additional activities, and a glossary has been appended. Another nice feature to aid in student research is the lengthy resource list found at the conclusion to each book, listing a variety of related classical literature, collections of primary source documents, CD-ROMs, videos, and websites to help guide you and your child through further historical research. Altogether, this is a very well-done history series that not only will fill a student's head with facts and historical data, but will stretch their brain and make them think through the words of the people who lived it, to better appreciate the daily life and culture of different times and around the world. Please note: this curriculum is from a secular publisher, and their view of ancient history begins at 3.5 million years ago, and includes archeological finds of "early humans," although this information is mostly in the first unit. - Jess




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