When I originally wrote this post, my oldest was 6 at the time. Now he’s 13 and we have 6 kids in all. I have updated the post to reflect what we’re doing now. My opinions haven’t changed on The Story of the World curriculum, however, or on what the best approach is for our family when it comes to teaching history. In fact, I feel stronger about it now.
What I do think is interesting is how upset people get when they use and enjoy a curriculum and someone else says they prefer not to use it. It’s remarkable how many insults and rude comments have NOT been approved on this post over the years. It’s also remarkable how few people actually read it before commenting. (For example, I obviously do NOT say that I think people should never teach Greek Mythology.) My only regret is how I titled the post. Although there are a few reasons I wouldn’t consider using The Story of the World at any point, which I touch on briefly below, my main concerns described in this post are more accurately titled “How and When We Choose to Introduce Mythology and False Gods in Our Homeschool.”
As always, prayerfully consider what is the right approach for YOUR family. I hope this post provides interesting food for thought either way!
The Story of the World is a very popular history curriculum in Christian homeschool circles and co-ops. My husband and I originally wanted to look into Mystery of History, but at the time (our oldest was 6) some other more experienced moms advised that it might be better to wait a few years because it was a bit more rigorous than we probably needed right away. They were right. So we checked out Volume 1 of Story of the World, both book and audio, and tried it out.
Big mistake. We quickly made the decision to ditch it.
I’m sure we’re not the only ones who have made this call. However, in my limited searching at the time I found nothing but glowing praise for The Story of the World for young kids!
Let me brace myself to dodge some rotten tomatoes and I’ll tell you about what brought us to this decision.
There are many things we liked about the curriculum:
- My kids love the engaging story and asked to listen to it.
- It’s available at the library!
- I appreciate that it teaches through storytelling.
- Many others use it, so there are vast amounts of resources and tips available online.
- Moms I like and respect use it to teach their kids.
- Too much focus on false gods and idols without calling them out as such
- The Lord and the scripture have very little authority – the Bible is treated like just one more story
- Too violent in places (when listening on audio with little kids)
- Reported inaccuracies (just worth noting, but every history curriculum will have some things that need corrected)
- A generally secular rather than biblical worldview
- Start with the Bible – Bible Road Trip is not only our Bible curriculum but it ended up being our history for that year. Bible Road Trip is an amazing Bible curriculum and there are plenty of opportunities in it to discuss false gods and other cultures just through the Bible stories. This helps us keep focused on scripture but introduce those topics with gentle guidance, setting up a framework to evaluate other resources together later.
- Begin with American History – After a lot of research and discussion, we decided it made sense to move to American history after that year with Bible Road Trip. It’s more relevant for kids and there are just more materials available to choose from. Resources we’ve enjoyed for this are Beautiful Feet Books Early America bundle (we love living books!), America’s Story from Master Books with some living books added on, and history resources from Schoolhouse Teachers.
- Go back to ancient history later – We worked through year of Tapestry of Grace (ancient) as a family and then moved to BiblioPlan for year 2 (medieval). Both of those are multi-level teaching that easily allow for a biblical worldview presentation of these time periods by careful selection of family read alouds and adding independent reading and notebooking for the older kids. If I wasn’t doing multilevel teaching, I would consider Master Books or Notgrass for my older kids.
- Continue to be intentional about what we spend our time on – We teach our children about things like Greek gods as an overview to cover understanding for purposes of history, literature, culture, etc. as those issues come up, and always through a biblical lens. We see no reason to go deep into those topics in our studies or provide books on those topics solely for entertainment. There are SO many other good things to explore and dig into that are more worthwhile!
I know many will not agree with our take on The Story of the World and that is totally fine! Families are different and we’re all called to follow God’s leading in our homeschooling.
May we all be blessed as we teach our children!
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Six Reasons Parents Fail at Teaching a Biblical Worldview (and how we can do things differently)