TruthQuest History Guide

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The author of TruthQuest History (Michelle Miller) presents History Guides for the homeschooler with a unique twist: focus on God and less focus on what mankind has done. How true that history would not be without God and what God has chosen to do for us and through us! Yet, so much of what I tend to think of history is a series of dates, locations and events.

I received a pdf version of  TruthQuest's History Guide entitled Beginnings: (Creation/ Old Testament/ Ancients/ Egypt),geared for 5th- 9th graders. The guide is 304 pages long, includes an easy-to-read narrative guide, book suggestions and lots of practical suggestions for the use of the material. No books are included, but the focus is not placed on what books you read, but rather on the Bible. In fact, for this particular History Guide, no book other than Scripture is necessary, but there are lots and lots of suggestions for additional materials that can be used with this particular guide. The author also includes the grade range for which she feels the materials are appropriate. In fact, on the TruthQuest website there is a link to spine material to use with their history guides and different suggestions for implementing the curriculum depending on how many years you wish to fit the material into. I was not able to get a good feel for how long it would take us to finish this guide if it were our only history.

After reading all of the introductory information, I found there is much to love. The focus clearly points to God and His love for us. It is encouraging to read Mrs. Miller's advice not to panic while teaching from her guides . This is a reminder I really need. My initial mode was to be overwhelmed by all this guide had to offer , and the relatively short time I had to review this item. Since the guides are clearly referred to as a "servant" to the instructor, it was refreshing to be given permission to use the guide to work for our family.  In contrast some guides practically preach completing each step a particular way "or else".

It turns out we had enough materials in our home between creation videos, books and of course the Bible to dive right into this guide. I always keep our main history curriculum constant, in spite of all the reviews we do, so this can be a challenge when reviwing a  history guide. This is especially true if the guide doesn't particularly match up with what we are doing. Currently, we are studying non-Western civilization and there wasn't a guide available specifically for this. Though, it is highly possible it is woven into and through other guides. I was able to still incorporate much from this guide because we often discuss Creation and God's handiwork. It fit perfectly  into our day by weaving  around the rest of our activities as well as on car rides, during dinner time conversation,  and as the subject matter came up in other school time reading.  This did mean a little extra effort on my part.  If I used the guide as part of our daily class schedule, it is set up to simply read along.

The conversational, pleasant writing manner of the author, makes Beginnings both easy to read and understand. In fact, the tone reminds me of  a favorite children's history book we own, so I felt at home. It did feel almost "too easy". I have tried to overcome the habit of feeling like each class has to be a certain length of time to "count" and a subject has to be "school-like" to count.  I do not mean the material is fluff either! It is just "easy" to walk through and even easier to implement.

It is my opinion this particular  guide could also be uses as a Bible curriculum in addition to a History guide  since Mrs. Miller uses so much Scripture in her guides.  The flow of the guide also complements the timeline we have set to memory through flashcards we have used in the past.

To me, this particular guide and many of the suggested activities could be done by just about any age child with very little adjustment. Well, of course the books you choose to read would vary. But since you choose the books appropriate for your family, there isn't any issue there. If you prefer to have books suggested for you, then that is OK, too. There are PLENTY of books. I love books and I wish I could purchase a book set of core books to go along with this guide.So, if you have a wide range of ages, chances are you can use this guide for the whole family.

One negative experience I had with this guide was due to the pdf  file.  I felt it could have been made  easier to use.  Personally, I have become  accustomed  to interactive pdf pages . As an example, when I wished to look up Egypt, I expected to  click the word "Egypt"  in the table of contents and jump directly to those pages . Also, the page numbers of the pdf did not coincide with the pages of the guide's table of contents. Once I learned the subject of Egypt started on page 128, I scrolled down to page 128 on the left hand side, only to find page 128 of the pdf is actually page 116 of the guide. Granted, it didn't take me long to figure out, but would be more user friendly if the numbers were the same.

A print copy of Beginnings is available for $29.95 and the pdf price is only $23.95.

I can tell a lot of work has gone into the guide I received. To accompany each guide, there are optional pdf resources available: Binder-Builders  ($18) (fancy lapbook), Notebook pages ($13), Timeline/ Report Package ($13) or all 3 for $39.

I still have not found a history I would use in place of what we already use. While I was able to view the table of contents in each of the 11 guides offered  (3 for lower levels and 8 for upper) , I would be curious to see how other cultures and all of history is presented through these guides.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free as a member of the TOS Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion about the product I received.


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