Planning Story of the World can be a daunting task. Have you done a full plan for the Story of the World history curriculum? I suppose you can make it as complex or as simple as you want to make it . But for me history is just screaming for additional materials to bring it to life.
My History with History
I went to public school and aced all of my history classes. Why was it so easy? Well my teachers were often coaches who were only teaching to fulfill their requirements. Many of them did the ‘memorize this date’ version of teaching history. It was extremely boring, but as long as you could memorize you would easily ace the classes. I have a very good memory and memorize things easily. However, true to form of this version of teaching, I promptly forgot most of what I memorized. Well that was until I needed to cram for finals and memorized again…then promptly forgot it again.
I got straight A’s, but it was boring and I retained very little. My husband on the other hand had teachers that brought history to life. He loved history so much, where for me it was just dull drudgery I had to get through. As an adult I feel like I have had to relearn a lot of history because I just didn’t retain anything other than general concepts. I was determined I didn’t want that for our son.
Story of the World
Story of the World is a 4 volume history curriculum. It follows the chronological order of history and teaches it much in story format instead of just learning facts and dates. It is designed for you to do one volume per year over 4 years. Then you repeat and add more complexity and activities based on your child’s ability. If you stick with this program you can cover history from the ancients to modern day 3 times before a child graduates. I am currently thinking we will go through it twice before doing more in depth study in junior high and high school years.
The regular curriculum comes with the reading book, the activity book and you can purchase the test booklet. The activity book is divided into two parts, the teacher guide and the student pages. The activity book includes questions for review of each section but also suggestions for further reading and activities. The student pages include map work, but also coloring pages and other useful pages that go with the activities suggested in the teacher guide. To me it is rather clunky to keep the two sections all as one book so the first thing I do is take the Activity book to an office supply store and have them cut off the binding and then spiral bind the two sections of the book separately.
This curriculum is incredibly robust. You can use this as a simple history curriculum or expand it to be the whole spine of your homeschool plan as well as various amounts in between. I tend to fall in the in between category as we use history, but sometimes touch into art or science with additional projects. Planning Story of the World can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
One of the first things I did when I first looked through the history curriculum and felt overwhelmed was to do some online searches. I figured there had to be some other really organized homeschool mamas out there who had planned this whole thing out, right? Why reinvent the wheel? I love planning. Okay, I REALLY love planning, but at the time I was preparing to sell our house, build a new house and move twice in one year. I didn’t have time to do this major curriculum justice on my own.
The best things I found was planning pages from Barefoot Meandering. They have planning pages for each volume of Story of the World. Each in page is three or six weeks worth of planning depending on which set you choose. Each week includes areas for history, read alouds, readers and notes. I then found various different online resources that helped me fill in those sections. I took the best options I found for each chapter and filled them in on the planning pages. There are read alouds, extra history pages, videos on Youtube, crafts, lapbooks, etc., all on my planning pages.
So here is typically what my weekly planning pages for Story of the World looks like while I am planning it all out. I do one chapter a week most weeks. The beauty of the planning pages is they already have broken the book up appropriately in order to get 42 chapters of SOTW into a 36 week school plan. Using those pages, I plan out my weeks. They typically go like this:
M: Read first part of chapter, do chapter questions and narration
T: Read 2nd part of chapter, do chapter questions and narration
W: Do map work, read aloud corresponding pages from encyclopedia
Th: Remaining read alouds
F: Youtube videos, projects
We are just going to be starting independent reading with our son next school year. If your child is old enough to have them doing some independent reading from time to time to go along with the curriculum, I would assign it on Monday.
So in summary, does Story of the World take more time to plan than other curricula to do a thorough job? Yes, BUT it really is what you make it and there are lots of resources online so don’t try to reinvent the wheel! You can make this an open and go curriculum by just reading the chapters and doing the questions and tests. Or you can go a bit further and do some of the projects or add in a read aloud here or there. You can go whole hog and make it the spine of your curriculum and find ways to incorporate all subjects from this one curricula. It’s all up to you, you decide and make the choice.
I’m just now planning Volume 3, using the same planning pages I have for the last 2 years and will link more references as I find them, but here are some of the resources I have used to plan Volumes 1 and 2.
The Ultimate Resource Guide to Story of the World Volume 1
Story of the World Volume 2, The Middle Ages book list
Story of the World Volume 2, Resource, Activity and Book List
Story of the World Volume 2, Resources and Links for Chapters 1-10
Story of the World Volume 2, Resources and Links for Chapters 11-20
Story of the World Volume 2, Resources and Links for Chapters 21-30
Story of the World Volume 2, Resources and Links for Chapters 31-40
Story of the World Volume 2, Resources and Links for Chapters 41-42
My Youtube playlist for Story of the World Volume 2
Story of the World lapbooks, all volumes