Monday, June 5, 2017

The Story of Civilization: Volume II (TAN Books)

Memorial Day has come and gone. That means summer is officially here. If you're a parent who sends their children to school, you are probably counting down when your children will be going back to school. On the other hand, if you are a homeschooling parent, you are already plotting next year's curriculum. If you don't have a good history program in place yet, allow me to give you a brief review of The Story of Civilization: Volume II. The volume begins with an introduction explaining how history is like an epic book or movie series, i.e., The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, or Star Wars. Since history is a long period of time, it works better to divide it into manageable chunks. The first division is entitled the Ancient World and the second division is called the Medieval World. The Medieval World starts shortly after the passage of the Edict of Milan and the spread of Christianity, and this is the product I would like to tell you about.

The volume then begins where the previous one left off. With the early spread of Christianity, we also see the spread of heresies and Christendom fighting against them. In addition to heretical priests, there were also emperors trying to exert their will over the Church and steer it in their direction and not the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Western Roman Empire then falls, and all that is left is the Eastern Roman Empire with Justinian. After this we see St. Benedict and his rule, the Irish missionaries, and the rise of the Islamic world. The volume continues on to show us the Crusades, Avignon and the papal controversy, the Hundred Years War, War of the Roses, and an early glimpse at the Renaissance. Apart from the lively storytelling nature of this text, I appreciate the honesty of it. "History is written by the winners," so it would have been easy to whitewash the black marks of the Church, but this text shows us the whole picture, for better or worse.

In addition to a text book, if you buy the whole The Story of Civilization: Volume II pack, you will receive CDs, streaming lectures, an activity book, a test book, a timeline, and a teacher's manual. I have not received all of these to review, but I would like to tell you about the test book and the timeline. The test book has a test for each lesson and the questions are a mix of matching, true/false, and multiple choice. By sticking with this format, you can test a wide-range of students. You also have an objective way to score them, opposed to short answer/essays. That is not to say that you shouldn't give your children additional "tests," but the test book serves its purpose and is a good barometer to how much your child learned/retained. The timeline is a nice large laminated sheet that fits nicely on a wall. On one side is a timeline that provides you a comprehensive and sequential view of what your child is learning. This helps to crystallize the concepts for them. On the other side is a "trivia" section, which your kids might find to be a fun game. Overall, this is a great series for the homeschooling parent, and one I would gladly recommend.

This product was provided to me for free by TAN Books in exchange for an honest review.