I can still hear the mellow and measured tones of the narrator’s voice as he held my children captive. Hazy summer days included blankets under shade trees, a portable CD player, cool drinks, and wide-eyed attentive children hanging on every word. They were listening to The Story of the World audiobook.
Those were the days! The mention of a “portable CD player” is quite a throwback, and we now enjoy the digitized versions of the same material. A four-volume set, arranged by chronological events, holds its place on my shelves. And the accompanying activity books are dog-eared, stained, and a little shabby from use. These books are part of our family’s homeschool culture.
What Is The Story of the World?
This book series covers world history in an accessible, uncomplicated, and appealing manner. The volumes written by Susan Wise Bauer begin in ancient times and conclude with the end of the USSR. With generous attention given to events, characters, and ideas from around the globe, she makes a solid attempt to integrate a comprehensive story that includes world religions, key events, and highlights essential characters. These books are not an in-depth history as Wise Bauer decided to cover a greater content span; however, they are approachable, entertaining, and an excellent introduction to the grand narrative of history.
The Story of the World offers hardcover and paperback editions and the previously mentioned CDs. If you have an audiobook service subscription, these titles are also available in digital format. Volumes 1–4 each boast an accompanying activity book with suggested sample narrations, coloring pages, geography activities, and more.
What Age Is The Story of the World for?
This resource is lovely as a read-aloud series with even the littlest learners. In my homeschool, the text and the black and white line drawings and maps were just right for afternoon quiet time! I would read aloud to my then 4-year-old through 10-year-old children, and they were all captivated.
Later, I introduced this resource to my 11-year-old independent reader as a separate study and used the included questions for narration and discussion. But don’t forget—as classical educators, we’re always learning and reclaiming our education! We were just as likely to listen to these stories as an entire family on road trips as we were to enjoy them on select summer afternoons.
How to Use The Story of the World
These stories are excellent read-aloud material. With a pronunciation guide, a chronology, and an index at the back of every volume, they make it easy to stick with the story.
As your student matures, combining suggestions, supplemental ideas from the activity books, and additional research from other sources, these books could form a rewarding history study! Each volume grows progressively more complex, and you might consider using the history text also to hone language arts like comprehension, composition, and even public speaking. The Story of the World is flexible, versatile, and rewarding.
Read: “Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child”
Is the Story of The World Accurate?
Every author has biases and decides what to include and how to present their content. These books are no different in that regard. The author’s perspective always determines the arc of a historical narrative. Although you might not agree with the author’s presentation or interpretation, the books have no historical inaccuracies.
Is This the Best Homeschool History Curriculum?
Some of my children would answer with a nostalgic and convincing “Yes”! Others of my children have pursued in-depth history studies and now view The Story of the World volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 as a fond starting point. And, now that Classical Conversations® has introduced its Copper Lodge Library books, I would use The Story of the World as a supplemental part of a history study spine. But to answer if it’s the best… well, if it’s the one you’re using, and you’re engaging in the stories, learning alongside your children, then there’s nothing better!
View The Story of the World paperbacks, audiobooks, and activities on our bookstore:
- The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times: Paperback | Audiobook | Activity Book
- The Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages: Paperback | Audiobook | Activity Book
- The Story of the World, Volume 3: Early Modern Times: Paperback | Audiobook | Activity Book
- The Story of the World, Volume 4: The Modern Age: Paperback | Audiobook | Activity Book
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