|Publisher: TruthQuest History
Author: Michelle Miller
Review last updated: July 2012
This is one of my 101 Top Picks!
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See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
Many parents are insecure about using real books without some sort of guidance. TruthQuest History (TQH) is a great solution since it is a series of eleven volumes that serve as guides for a real books approach to history. While the series can be used for grades 1 through 12, some guides target a younger audience and some target older students.
Guides recommended for grades 1-5 are:
American History for Young Students I
American History for Young Students II
American History for Young Students III
Guides recommended for grades 5-12 are:
Beginnings: Creation/Old Testament/Ancients/Egypt
Renaissance, Reformation, and Age of Exploration
Age of Revolution I (America/Europe, 1600-1800)
Age of Revolution II (America/Europe, 1800-1865)
Age of Revolution III (America/Europe, 1865-2000)
Each guide is divided into many chronologically-organized topical sections rather than the typical chapter arrangement. Michelle Miller introduces each of these topics with background information written in a lively, informal, conversational style.
After reading the background information for context, you and your children read from real books to learn more information about the topic. Michelle recommends books, and sometimes chapters or pages within books, for each topic. She recommends a few spine books—books that are broad overviews of history such as Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World, Wise Bauer’s Story of the World, Dorothy Mills’ series, and Guerber’s history series. Then she lists many other books that cover specific topics. You can use spine (or overview) books, topical books, or both. However, using at least some spine books will save you time. Video recommendations are generally added after the book lists.
Michelle recommends some out-of-print books that you might still be able to find at a library, but she also includes many that are in print and available if you choose to purchase them. There are far more book recommendations than you will ever be able to use!
A unique aspect of TQH is a primary focus on the central questions of life: Who is God, and who is man in relation to God? How different people and civilizations answer these questions is reflected in the way they live and the choices they make. So these questions are the underlying focus of background information that Michelle Miller writes as she introduces each topic of study. This is probably most apparent in the Beginnings: Creation/ Old Testament/ Ancients/ Egypt guide....Note that Egypt used to be covered in TruthQuest History’s Egypt and Greece, but study of Egypt was shifted and expanded into the Beginnings guide since it correlates historically with the story of the Bible.
TQH very much reflects a Francis Schaeffer approach to history based on his book How Should We Then Live?....In addition, Michelle supports a limited-government perspective. Although Michelle writes from her own Protestant viewpoint, from time to time she discusses conflicting Protestant and Catholic viewpoints on history, acknowledging right and wrong on both sides. I was pleasantly surprised to see this respectful balance, especially in the Renaissance, Reformation volume.
As you might have gathered by now, there is a very definite philosophy to these books. However, if you disagree with some of Michelle’s philosophy, you can still use these guides by skimming through the introductory material, sharing whichever parts of it you wish with your children, then moving on to the recommended reading and occasional video viewing. Some of the recommended books, particularly some of the spine books, reflect the philosophy described above....your choices of spine books will be particularly important in determining the tone of your study.
Enough on the philosophy of TQH. Let’s get back to how they are structured. First, all TQH guides are available in either print or e-book format. Topical sections are further divided into subsections that address important people or events within a time period. For example, the section on The Roaring 20s has an introduction with a list of general resources. This is followed by subsections with their own resource recommendations on topics such as the Scopes Trial; Eric Liddell and the 1924 Olympics; Prohibition, bootleggers, and gangsters; women’s suffrage; baseball and Babe Ruth; Charles Lindbergh; Bessie Coleman; literary authors; scientists; music; and sports. You won’t have time to cover every topic with real books, so it makes sense to either use a spine book for broad coverage along with a few narrower topic books OR use as many topic books as you can reasonably get through and forgo efforts to cover very many topics.
Scattered throughout each book are a number of ThinkWrite exercises. These are writing assignments that require students to analyze the historical information they have learned from a worldview perspective.... Suggested responses to the ThinkWrites at the end of each book should help parents evaluate student work.
TruthQuest History has collaborated with A Journey through Learning to create customized resources that help reinforce learning while providing hands-on and creative activities. Three downloadable PDF packages are available for each TQH guide. The first one, AJTL Binder Builder for TQH helps students create a fancy lapbook with lots of mini-booklets. The second, AJTL Notebook for TQH, provides notebooking pages for students to record information on most topics about which they are reading. AJTL Map/Timeline/Report Package for TQH includes maps, a timeline, historical figures to color, timeline markers, mini-timeline cards, and various report forms. These are optional, and you may choose one package or all three of those designed to accompany each guide.
You will have to watch the level of difficulty in these guides....
My impression is that all except the American History guides will work across the entire span of grade levels as long as parents are judicious about how much information they give to each child—don’t overwhelm the young ones, and do give the older ones plenty to work with. Ultimately, parents need to decide which assignments as well as which books to use with each child.
Beginnings (Creation / Old Testament / Ancients / Egypt
American History for Young Students III (1865
American History for Young Students II (1800-
American History for Young Students I (Exp-18
Age of Revolution III (Amer/Europe 1865-2000)
Age of Revolution I (America/Europe 1600-1800)
Age of Revolution II (Amer/Europe 1800-1865)
Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Exploration (1400-1600)
- Suitable for: group/family or one-on-one learning with independent reading for older students
Audience: grades 1-12
Need for parent/teacher instruction: moderate to high
Prep time needed: for choosing books for each child will vary in time required
Teacher's manual: these books are your manuals
Religious perspective: Protestant -strong worldview viewpoint
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Traverse City, MI 49685-2128
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