How We Use "The Story of Civilization"

The Story of Civilization is a four-volume tour of world history, written from a Catholic perspective. It is published by TAN Books, and written by Phillip Campbell. There are books, a teacher's manual, activity book, audio dramatization, a timeline, and even video lectures that go along with it - we just have the book, the teacher's manual, and the activity manual.

We aim to cover one chapter a week. We do World History twice a week, usually on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm all for Keeping It Simple, so everyone who is not napping sits in during World History time. I've done something sneaky and put it into our teatime rotation, so the kids are happily occupied with hot chocolate and popcorn. Hot chocolate is a special event here, so the kids are quiet and listening as they know that shenanigans will pull the plug on their blissful hot chocolate during teatime sessions. As the weather continues to warm up, we'll change from hot cocoa to things like freeze pops, frozen fruit, and maybe even a milkshake or two. 

Right now, the attendees for teatime are Peanut (age 8), Moose (almost 7), and Wok (age 4). We set up in the kitchen with my trusty whiteboard (a 16x24 board from Hobby Lobby) and I read while they enjoy their treats. As I'm reading, I illustrate what is going on. We also look up maps of the world at the time (for example, the reach of the Persian Empire), so the kids have a good grasp of how the world has changed through time (and military conquests). This also doubles as part of our mapwork, so they're also getting geography lessons at the same time. Additionally, we add events to our simple timeline - the timeline catches events from all subjects, as we fill it up the kids are starting to see how it all fits together.

I don't ask for narrations from The Story of Civilization because the discussions we have tell me what they are (or aren't) comprehending. My history education was .... eh, at best; so I'm learning plenty of things about the past right along with the kids. Both Peanut and Moose follow along well, and I'm not sure how much Wok is; but just hearing it will help her down the road.

I utilize both the teacher and the activity manuals for ideas on how to expand on the chapter. We don't do all the activities, but I do like having them around for some back-up ideas.

Teatime is the favorite subject of the day (probably due to the hot chocolate), and they thoroughly enjoy The Story of Civilization. I like that I can combine multiple kids into it and it's neither too easy or too advanced for each of them. What strikes them is different and they can learn from each other based on the discussion with each other and with me. It is written from a Catholic point of view, but it's not as if every other line relates to Catholicism. But I do like having that assurance that I won't have to edit out any potential anti-Catholic issues (usually doctrinal misrepresentations, not whitewashing the Church's history - she is made up of sinners, after all).

We're eagerly looking forward to Volume 2, which should be released some time this year.


  1. Should I feel bad that I've been wanting to get that book for my own reading? lol. :-) (I love history, and that seems like it would be an interesting read, even if written for younger readers.)

    1. No, definitely get them! I'm getting a lot out of them despite their target grades of K-8.

      PS I have "Manalive" downloaded on my Kindle, waiting for just the right moment to begin reading... :)

  2. Great! Once I get the money, I'll have to get it then...

    Awesome! :-) BTW, interesting fact: F. Scott Fitzgerald liked "Manalive"...

    1. Volume 2 is slated to come out this summer, but you can get the Kindle version of V1 for like, $10. I have Kindle version, which works well for us. I'd like to have the hard copy but that will come later.

      And I had no clue about that about Fitzgerald. But in almost every book I've read, someone's quoted GKC. Either everyone likes him or I'm reading the right books. :P

    2. Unfortunately, right now I can't even afford the Kindle version. lol.

      LOL. Well, he *was* very influential.... :-)


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