The story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is in four volumes. After you have read all of the volumes your child will have a quick overview of the major events in world history.
The books are meant to be read aloud to elementary children. Each short chapter is a story about an important event or person.
There are corresponding study guides and tests for each volume that you can buy.
The Story of the World is written in a neutral world view. The author does not put a lot of emphasis on God's intervention in history. She does talk some about the Israelites and about Jesus Christ. There is also mention of church history. She does talk about different gods and the religions of the world.
Below is a quick overview of some of the historical events that you will find in the different volumes.
The first volume of the Story of the World series is about ancient times. I like her explanation of history. She also explains archaeology. It is written for young elementary aged children in grades one through four.
The first story is about the nomads. Intermixed with the facts is a story about a young girl and her family who need to move to a new location.
There are other interesting facts such as how the pictographs of China began.
There is also the African folktale Anansi and the Turtle.
The first volume has the feel of all of the great nations starting. There are stories of countries from the Crescent Valley, Africa, China, India, and the Americas.
I wish that there was more mention of Israel. The book does mention Abraham. There is also a mention of Israel's exodus from Egypt. There is no mention of the kings of Israel.
The second volume continues the story of the world. It covers the Middle Ages.
I like the forward to the second book in the series. Susan Wise Bauer talks about how the series was meant to be simple so that a young child could understand history. Some events that would disturb a young child were left out. She also mentions that the series was meant as a jumping off point for further study. The second volume is written for children in second through fifth grades.
In the book the child is invited to take a magic carpet ride. He will go to Britain, India, China, and the Americas.
Your child will meet different kings and rulers of the middle ages.
There are also stories about Beuolf, St Nicolas, and Robin Hood.
She discusses the religions of the world such as the Norse gods and the rise of Islam. She talks about the reformation. Besides Martin Luther she mentions the Counsel of Trent.
Volume three of the Story of the World is about the early modern times. It has a feeling of the world in conflict. In Europe the rulers are fighting about if the Catholics or Protestants should rule. Countries are being taken over by rulers such as the Ottoman ruler Osman, Napoleon from France, and Peter the Great of Russia.
This is also the time of European exploration and colonization. Spain has taken over parts of South America for gold. King James from England sends people to North America to find more gold. The Puritans come to America. The French and Dutch also send explores.
This is also the time of slavery.
Again she tells stories about India, Japan, China, the Middle East, and Africa.
Volume three is for grades three through six.
Volume four is about modern times. The book starts with Queen Victoria's reign and ends with the election of President Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1994.
You will read about the Civil War in the United States, The wars in Europe, The Mexican Revolution, World War 1 and World War 2. All of the conflicts are written so that a child can understand. Dates are not mentioned in the stories, but there is a list of important dates in the back.
Like in all of the volumes she mentions events throughout the world. Besides the countries in Europe and the Americas she has stories from Japan, India, Vietnam, Russia, Egypt, and China.
In the forward the author states that this book is for the older student in grades four through eight. While the other three books can be used with younger children this volume should not be used with those under fourth grade because of the violence.
Each of the volumes of the Story of the World has a corresponding study guide. I have not used the study guides with my children. I have read the descriptions for guides and they look interesting. Each guide has maps, coloring pages, and hands-on activities. There are also review questions and books for further reading. If you used the study guides with the books you would have a complete history curriculum.
I enjoyed reading the books to my children. It is a good series to have on hand when teaching world history to elementary children.
You can buy the Story of the World from Christian Book Distributors or any bookstore that sells homeschool curriculum.