Suggested for tenth grade, BJU Press’s World History covers the entire span of history from Creation to the present from both Christian and patriotic perspectives.
The first chapter begins with a discussion of worldviews and how they influence the interpretation of history. That same chapter continues with a biblically-based presentation on creation and history up through the time of the Tower of Babel. It contrasts the biblical account with the other theories about prehistoric people, and it also refers teachers to additional information on the internet regarding hominids and other topics related to evolution. While it exposes students to other viewpoints, it spends far less time on them than it does on the biblically-based view.
The course covers politics, economics, geography, the arts, and science along with history, addressing some of the more abstract facets of history from a biblical Christian worldview rather than just teaching about wars and conquests. Even so, this text spends a great deal of time on military events—like most other textbooks—following the trail of history up through the Gulf War, the death of Osama bin Laden, the spread of Islam in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and Islamic terrorism.
The homeschool subject kit includes the soft-cover student text, the two-volume teacher’s edition with a Teacher’s Toolkit CD-ROM inserted at the back, the student activities manual, an answer key for the student activities manual, a test packet, and an answer key for the tests. An e-textbook version of the student text book is also available (“rented” for a 16-month period), but I expect that most students will prefer the printed text.
The teacher’s edition has reduced images of the student pages surrounded by teaching notes and answers. The teacher’s edition explains when to use the student activities manual and when there are pertinent resources on the Teacher’s Toolkit CD-ROM. This does involve “flipping” between resources, but if you plan ahead by printing out resources from the CD-ROM in advance, it shouldn’t be much bother.
The BJU Press website lists four historical novels that might be read with along with this course: Ellanor’s Exchange, Gunner’s Run, Silent Road to Rescue, and The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day. However, I couldn’t find any correlation to these books within the teacher’s edition. However, the teacher’s edition does list other suggested resources for most lessons such as writings like “The Justinian Code” and Luther’s Table Talk, DVDs, and maps. Many of the maps are available on the Teacher’s Toolkit CD-ROM.
The student text features full-color illustrations. Lessons are presented in seven units, with each unit divided into chapters, and each chapter further divided into sections. Section quizzes within each chapter highlight key points to remember. At the end of each chapter are vocabulary terms, factual recall questions, and thought-provoking questions. Answers for section and chapter questions are in the teacher’s edition.
Questions often relate biblical principles to history and raise worldview issues. For example, one question states: “Arius taught that Christ did not always exist but that He was created by God the Father. Using John 1:1-4 and Colossians 2:8-9, refute this heresy” (p. 105). Some questions draw on a biblical worldview without reference to Bible verses. For example, on page 201, one question says: “In the Middle Ages, church and state struggled over which would be supreme. In the modern-day West, the church and state have been separated from one another. Evaluate these three options biblically: church over state, state over church, church and state separate.” Questions like these cause students to think through issues related to both religion and political philosophy at a fairly deep level. The teacher’s edition has some commentary on questions such as this but expects that student responses will vary.
World History teaches about some other world religions such as Hinduism and Islam, but it concludes such sections with commentary about why those religions are in error. The Protestant outlook of this text is so strong that it makes it a point to identify errors of the Roman Catholic Church, sometimes misstating information about Catholicism in the process.
As it moves into modern history, the text reveals a politically conservative outlook. For example, the New Deal is viewed critically, stating that Franklin Roosevelt’s policies “increased government involvement in economic and social matters without resolving the core economic problems” (p. 472), and it takes a strongly negative view of Communism.
The student activities manual contains readings, map activities, charts to complete, and questions for each chapter. While the teacher’s edition directs you to have students complete activities in the student activities manual, you will need the separate teacher’s edition for the student activities manual as an answer key. A test packet and companion answer key are included in the homeschool subject kit, but you might not need to use them.
BJU Press’s World History does an outstanding job of teaching the facts of history while simultaneously raising thought-provoking worldview questions. For those who share its distinctively Protestant viewpoint, this is one of the best options for covering world history.