See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
My Father's World (MFW), whose complete courses are also featured among my Top Picks, uses many “real books” as part of each course. They often use books from secular publishers, alerting parents to potentially problematic topics such as evolution and the age of the earth. Obviously, this is a potential problem that crops up frequently in world history books.
DK Publishing’s History of the World is a classic example of a very useful book with problem areas. MFW was selling so many of these books that they were able to work with the publisher to produce their own edited edition.
The most significant edit is the elimination of the first two chapters, “Introduction to Human History” and “Early People.” These two chapters reflect belief in an old earth and the theory of evolution, making statements such as, “… life began 4,600 million years ago …” (p. 10).
The MFW edition begins instead with 5000 B.C. and continues with the original text up through A.D. 2006. Pages and chapters are renumbered so that you cannot tell that the book has been edited.
This is a large, 378-page, hardcover book that might be used across a wide span of grade levels. It covers world history across time and around the world, introducing each time period with a two-page visual timeline. The timeline is divided into color-coded sections for Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania so you can see at a glance what was occurring during the same time period around the world. Timeline bars at the bottom of each page highlight where in time the events on each page fit in.
The book is heavily illustrated, with photos, drawings, and maps taking up at least half of the space on each page. Every paragraph is preceded by a heading or subheading so that it is easy to scan through the content.
Coverage of each topic is necessarily brief and selective given the limited space to cover so much information. Because of this, History of the World works best when used as a supplement alongside other books that provide more in-depth coverage. Students as young as about fifth grade are likely to enjoy exploring this book, “reading the pictures,” and selectively reading the paragraphs on topics that interest them. Yet, this is the type of book that interests older students and even adults because it is so visually appealing and unintimidating compared to a text. While MFW includes it among books used with their high school level World History and Literature course, they also sell it separately.
History of the World MFW edition is an excellent example of the fact books that I include in my list of real books for history (in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum). MFW is working with a few publishers to create more of these “edited” fact books that should work well for Christian home educators.