Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition: Ancient Times (Paperback)
The text itself serves as the starting point and backbone of each unit. Each chapter covers a particular time period, and is placed in chronological order. For example, in Volume One: Ancient Times, Chapter One begins with “The Earliest People” followed by chapters detailing periods of Egyptian, Sumarian, Jewish, Babylonian, Assyrian, Indian, Chinese, African, Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Persian, Native American, Roman, Christian, Celt, and Barbarian history. The book goes in strictly chronological order, so one time period of a civilization will be covered, and then a different civilization may be covered, returning to another era of the first civilization later, to encompass a significant historical event of that civilization. Each chapter is further split into smaller, more bite-sized amounts that lend themselves well to a younger attention span. The chapters are presented at a level they will understand, but at the same time, find fairly absorbing. History is presented in more of a story-type format that they will appreciate, and the author emphasizes that the book is not intended to give a complete overview of the time period, but rather to give the student a chronological order of major events and an appreciation and understanding of different cultures while presenting it in a way that will foster an enthusiasm and enjoyment of the subject matter. For example, while not every ruler of a civilization may be named, along with major accomplishments, an overview of the period highlighting important events and rulers, along with details of how the people in the civilizations lived comprise the short chapters. Mythical stories as well as historical fiction-type passages about young children from different cultures are woven into the narrative to stimulate further interest. These almost story-type chapters are meant to be read aloud to younger children, or those with reading difficulty, while good readers and older children can read or take turns reading the chapters aloud.
When a chapter has been completely read, you and the students then turn to the curriculum manual/actvitiy guide. At the beginning of each chapter in the guide, corresponding page references are given from four recommended supplements Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World, The Usborne Book of World History, and the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History. These selections further flesh out the history lessons, particularly for those periods or civilizations where less supplemental reading is available. When all the chapter reading has been accomplished, the next order of business are the reading comprehension-type review questions for each chapter section. Following the questions, the student is asked to summarize the chapter in a few sentences. The author again stresses that important facts be included in this narrative, but not necessarily every single one. A few sample narrations are also supplied for each section. The student’s narrative is then written, illustrated with his/her favorite part of the lesson. The narratives can be collected and put into a loose-leaf binder, to create the student’s own world history. After these activities have been completed, a list of readings chosen to supplement and complement the history lesson are supplied, as well as a following list of corresponding literature suggestions to further flesh out the lesson, with books telling stories from that era. Author, publisher, copyright date, and a sentence summary of each book are given for ease in locating the book.
Now for some real hands-on work! The activities commence with “Map Work,” where a map of the appropriate area is supplied, and the student identifies and marks pertinent areas, routes, and features. The geography section is normally followed by a coloring page, highlighting some aspect of the history lesson, or some other word activity. Finally, the chapter closes with a selection of projects to do to really “get into” the featured civilization or time period. These may be arts, crafts, writing, or science projects, or just fun supplemental activities. Most require only common household supplies and art supplies such as paints & paintbrushes, boxes, newspaper and waxed paper, self-drying clay, etc. Several projects are provided for each chapter, covering a wide range of activities. These could include anything from building your own hut to making your own cunieform tablets, mummifying a chicken, brick-making, baking an African or Greek feast, purple dye, an erupting volcano, an olympic wreath, a Native American sand painting, a Roman chariot, making paper, and LOTS more. When you’ve covered the chapter content as much as is desired, move on.
While the breadth of activities and readings may seem overwhelming or time-consuming, keep in mind that not every suggested book needs to be read, and not every single project needs to be completed. (But Mom, can’t we embalm the chicken today?) Spend as much time in an era as suits the students, pacing yourself to cover everything that is of interest. The structure of the curriculum makes it especially easy and enjoyable to use with several children in this age range, although I’m sure the older kids would love to get into it too!
Volume One was revised in 2006 and now features more illustrations, maps, several timelines and additional parent/teacher notes. The text is paperback, and the Curriculum Guide/Activity Book is a bound paperback. - Jess
The name BiblioPlan is synonymous with classical chronological world history but through years of tweaking and improving, what is available now is a full-bodied, full-color curriculum rather than a mere lesson-plan framework (its original format). Comprehensive and thorough while providing ease of use and minimum teacher prep, BiblioPlan allows students of all ages to work on the same time periods at the same time at their own level. There is flexibility. You can still use just the framework (Family Guide) or you can add some or all of the components. You can take a general approach and incorporate multiple ages at once or you can use material that targets particular grade levels. Older children can help younger children and children of all ages will be making memories as they work together. Biblioplan puts you in the driver's seat with full controls.
BiblioPlan Family Guides
provide the structural framework for the program - a full year's worth of history and literature readings. There are four Guides, one for each of the four classical (chronological) time periods Ancient, Medieval, Early America & World, and Modern America & World. This is the core of the whole program (and once WAS the whole program). Designed by a group of homeschooling moms for themselves, these Guides provide 34 weekly spreadsheets; each a comprehensive lesson plan. With a goal of integrating quality historical literature with biblical and secular history, these moms put together an easy-to-follow plan covering the historical topic (Classtime), a Psalm study, References and Resources for textual information about the topic, Literature Selections of the Week (for grades K-2, 3+, 5+ and 8+), a Family Read Aloud suggestion, Writing Ideas, Optional Fiction & Resources, and suggested Activities. Introductory information in each Guide includes the usual "how to find books" and "how to use the plan" information as well as the book lists for both the scheduled and the optional literature. Prior to each historical era, there are several additional pages of reference material, annotated book lists for the Readers, the Family Read-Alouds, and the Optional Resources/Fiction.
If it sounds like the Family Guides might be all you need you would be correct. They're comprehensive and thorough; well-constructed plans. You could complete four years (plus four more if you wanted) of interesting history, absorbing literature, and engaging activity possibilities using just these Guides. If you go this route, you will need to use the frequently-referenced "spine resources." These include Story of the World, Mystery of History, The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, or History of US.
However, there is an alternative route. If you like to have perfectly coordinated, quality material at your fingertips rather than scrambling for it then you can incorporate one or more of the following BiblioPlan components to use alongside the Family Guide.
BiblioPlan Companion, Remember the Days, Consider the Years
- Remember the Days - textbooks written specifically for Grades K-6 are available for Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern.
- Consider the Years - textbook written specifically for Grades 7-12 is available for Ancient. It is a reworking of the older Companions and part of the 2nd edition material now available for Ancient.
- Companions are currently available for Medieval (two-book set), Early Modern (two-book set), and Modern.
With options for each time period, these are full-color historical textbooks that provide textual information (world history, U.S. history, church history, and geography) in a narrative prose style interspersed with all sorts of intriguing factual and cultural anecdotes. They are color-coordinated so you know instantly if you're reading history text (black & white) or about people and special events or biblical quotes (various colored backgrounds). These are books which beg to be pored over. As an example, in random pages from the Medieval Companion, there is a section on Muslim food laws and their rituals for newborns, a description of a tughra (Ottoman sultans signature) with gorgeous, artistic examples and a Turkish paper decorating technique ebru. In the Giants of the Faith section is a biographical sketch of Saint George and the Dragon which continues onto the next page and includes a large, glorious artwork reproduction of the same.
There is a pattern to the information provided for each chapter (each time period book has 34 chapters - one for each week): Geography Focus, History Focus, Fascinating Facts, Mystifying Myths, Interesting Individuals, Fascinating Foods, Church History Focus, Critical Concepts, and Giants of the Faith. Just in case there's any doubt, Remember the Days, Consider the Years, and the Companions as well as all the BiblioPlan materials have a consistent biblical and Christian worldview. These books provide all the necessary textual information for Classtime and greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for any outside historical reference books or spines. That being said, some may still choose to use the recommended spine readings in order to provide even more historical perspective and textual information.
BiblioPlan Cool History
provides weekly assignment sheets at four different grade level groupings:
- Littles (K-2)
- Middles (2-6)
- Upper Middles (6-8)
- Advanced (8-12)
It's pretty easy to surmise that the goal of these is to allow a family to challengingly study the same time period and the same topics but at their own distinct levels. There are subtle grade-appropriate variations in the levels but these pages include reading assignments and questions taken from the Remember the Days, Consider the Years, and Companion readings.
- The Littles book has suggested reading assignments and questions from Remember the Days, a fun activity and Globe Fun (introductory map activities). Templates for a year-long project, a Giants of the Faith Book are provided along with coordination of coloring pages.
- The Middles book has questions from the readings and Giants of the Faith suggestions and adds Challenge Questions plus an Optional Bonus Question or Activity.
- Upper Middles also has an Optional Bonus Question or Activity and includes periodic (about every six weeks) exams.
- Advanced assignment sheets have assorted questions (fill in the blank, short answers, short essays) all taken from Consider the Years or the Companions as well as research essays (outside of Companions).
If you're concerned about answers to all these questions they do exist but they aren't in the Cool History books. An Answer Key pdf is sent from our office via email after your order has been processed.
BiblioPlan Hands On Maps
provides one or two full-color maps each week that correspond to the week's lesson content. Instructions for the maps are printed directly on the map. While students may need to gather a little helpful information from a world map and/or Remember the Days, Consider the Years, or the Companions, students will be able to complete the maps at their level more-or-less on their own. The same set of maps is included in both books
- The Middles maps set has suggestions for K-2, 3+, and 5+ students. These maps includes some prompts and partical information that makes them easier to complete.
- The Advanced maps set includes a geography scope and sequence as well as a Challenge activity for each of the maps. Six exams for this level are included in the Answer Key pdf.
The Answer Key pdf is sent from our office via email after your order has been processed.
BiblioPlan Timelines & Figures
are well-crafted supplements with one distinct advantage over many other timelines - they're in color! The spiral-bound books can be used "as is" or the pages removed and the timeline mounted on a wall or the pages three-hole punched and the timeline placed into a binder which would allow your student to create an entire timeline in one place. Lots of flexibility here. The timeline consists of one or more colored strips (color varies with the time period) plus dated notes on particular events. The student cuts out the graphics and pictures (located in the back of the book) and inserts them in the appropriate place.
- The Ancient Timeline includes a single timeline.
- The Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation Timeline includes two timelines one for church history and one for "regular" history.
- The Early America and the World Timeline and the Modern America and the World Timeline each feature facing pages; one for the Americas and one for the World.
As mentioned earlier, the Timeline Figures are mostly in color (some 19th and 20th century figures are prints of original black and white photos) and, frankly, very eye-catching. Figures include portraits, artifacts, geographical features, monuments and buildings, photos or drawings of events, and much more.
BiblioPlan Craft Book
provides over one hundred crafts that correlate with the Family Guides. These are the crafts referenced in the Cool History assignment sheets (three to five per week with at least one food item). The books are impressive - a well-illustrated, well-explained variety of crafts and projects. A few require materials from other sources but most include directions; all include full-color pictures. Here's a random selection from one book: Porcelain Painting (buy a kit), Hold a Japanese Tea Ceremony (get details from internet), Make a Kharbhooja Sharbat Drink (directions), Make a Flying Dragon Head (directions), Make a Chinese Dragon (directions), Make a Yurt (directions), Make a Chinese Cricket Cage (directions). Patterns, where needed, are provided in the back of the book. This book is fully integrated with the BiblioPlan program but could also be used as a supplement to another world history study.
The BiblioPlan Coloring Books
provide coloring sheets to accompany the lessons. These are referenced in both the Family Guides and the Cool History assignment sheets. Utilizing the talents of present and former homeschooled students, multiple artists have produced a variety of styles and details in the drawings making them suitable for younger and older students. There is at least two and often three pages per week. Reproducible for families.
The BiblioPlan Family Discussion Guide
is for families who want some help in broadening their history studies into thoughtful family discussions. These Guides provide discussion starters that will help you guide your students into a better understanding of the connections between secular history and their Christian faith. One of the advantages of the Discussion Guide is that they allow you to lead discussions without having to study everything in the Companion yourself.
BiblioPlan Cool History Classic
is a republished version of an older edition of the Cool History books. In this version (no grade level grouping designations), questions are based on the textual content of Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World rather than on the BiblioPlan Companions.
So, if your whole family is ready to dig into world history and you want flexibility, an excellent road map, comprehensive textual information, and colorful, engaging reinforcement and enrichment possibilities, then look no further than the new, reconstructed BiblioPlan. ~ Janice
I am using the Story of the World series to teach Ancient History at a homeschool co-op. Some of my students have the original and some have the revised books. Since some of the families had already owned the book, I have tried to make adjustments when needed so that the families did not have to buy a new edition. So far, most of the content is the same with an infrequent difference in a map between the editions. I don't see it necessary to upgrade. Have a great night.
over 2 years ago
Cons: There just isn't enough depth to retain the information. It almost spans too much while grasping little. We have been using this now for over half a year and have found to really retain information, we add on quite a few other materials such as biographies, A Child's History of the World, of course the Usbourne and Kingfisher History Encyclopedias, and timelines. So, while this has been a good spine for us, it is not nearly thorough enough to be used as a stand alone resource. I'm not sure that was the author's intention anyway since there are so many recommended books in the activity book. However, for retention sake, I've found us sticking with some areas of history (for example right now we're on Ancient Greece) for much longer than the book intends.
We will continue using it for a spine but I was hoping for a more thorough history view. I still have to find many resources to make this more retainable.
over 4 years ago
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