The third edition of World Studies is a completely rewritten text from the second edition. Suggested for seventh grade, this softbound textbook covers world history but with a major shift from earlier texts in that it gives significantly more attention to the rise, development, and present-day impact of Islam.
The text begins with a brief Biblical history that continues with a similarly brief history of the early church through about 600 A.D. Ancient civilizations are studied in the sixth grade text of BJUP’s history series, so they are not covered in this text. The origin and rise of Islam is next. These two opening chapters set the stage for the rest of the text where Islam is given more attention than we have seen in earlier editions of this text as well as most other world history texts.
The next four units move by stages through history up to the present, but traveling the globe to view developments in the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas as well as beyond western civilization into Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
Religion and culture are important themes in this text. The seven goals for this text are that by the end of the school year, students should be able to:
- Explain why humans build cities and trace how cities have changed through the course of history.
- Trace the growth of Christianity and assess its impact on the cultures of the world.
- Assess the role of other religions in human cultures, especially Islam, and evaluate each religion studied.
- Analyze and evaluate how different cultures have viewed the importance of freedom, equality, justice, and citizenship.
- Analyze the development of trade and explain its impact on human culture and economic growth.
- Compare and evaluate various economic systems.
- Explain what roles Christians may play in a global society. (p. ix)
As you can see, the text reflects a distinctly Christian (Protestant) worldview. (Catholics would take issue with many statements in this text!)
Some geography is included but there was more map work in the second edition than there is in the third. The geography in this text is political geography, and it is taught within the context of history and events.
Section quizzes are interspersed throughout each chapter to check on student comprehension. Each chapter concludes with a Chapter Review. The review includes a list of “People, Places, and Terms to Know” plus questions and activities. Most of these questions challenge students to shift to higher levels of thinking. You might assign some as essay questions and use some for discussion. Occasionally, suggested group activities require more than one or two students and won’t be practical for homeschool situations. However, you can generally glean an idea from the activity to use with only one or two students. Activities generally involve discussion, research, writing, creating a timeline, or presentation.
The companion Student Activities book has reinforcement and extended learning activities. The extended learning centers around brief primary source material readings that are included in the Student Activities book. Questions based on source material and other chapter content include matching, fill-in-the-blanks, chart completion, and mapwork. In addition, each chapter has lines for “teacher’s choice” questions that teachers might add based on topics they emphasized or added. Tests are in a separate book of their own. You need the Teacher Edition for the Student Activities book which has overprinted answers as well as the answer key book for the tests.
The Teacher’s Edition for the student textbook includes reduced student pages surrounded by teaching notes and answers to section quizzes and chapter reviews. It identifies pages to be used in the Student Activity book, plus optional weblinks you or your student might want to investigate. The TE also includes a Teacher’s Toolkit CD-ROM that might be more useful for classrooms than homeschools. Photos, maps, and a few other items that are already in the text or Student Activities book are also on the CD (for use with a projector in a classroom). There are a few photos that are not in the text, but these are not critical.
Both the student text and TE are printed in full color. The student text has fewer pages than did the previous edition. This has largely been accomplished by reducing the font size. The text has not been dumbed down as was the trend a decade ago. The text actually appears more appropriate for seventh graders than did the previous edition. Similarly, the TE used to require two volumes, but it has now been reduced to one.
The homeschool kit includes the student text, teacher edition of the student text, Student Activities book and its companion TE, test book, and test book answer key. I expect that a question bank for BJUP’s TestBuilder software will be available soon, but at this time it is not. Once those questions are available, you can use TestBuilder in place of the test booklet.