The fourth edition of World Studies has only minor updates and changes from the third edition even though the artwork makes it look quite different. Suggested for seventh grade, this softbound textbook covers the broad expanse of world history up to the present.
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 BJU Press’s history series, so they are not covered in this text. The origin and rise of Islam is next. This course dedicates significant attention to the rise, development, and present-day impact of Islam both in this early chapter and elsewhere in the text.This is important information that is rarely covered as well in other world history courses.
The two opening chapters set the stage for the rest of the text. The next four units move by stages through history up to the present, 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. iv).
The text reflects a distinctly Christian (Protestant) worldview. Catholics will take issue with many statements in this text!
Some geography is included in the text and with map activities in the Student Activities book. The geography in this text is political geography, and it is taught within the context of history and events.
The text is illustrated with many images as well as graphic elements, all in full-color. With over 400 pages, the text covers world history quite comprehensively for junior high level (aside from the purposeful omission of ancient civilizations).
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. 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 (TE) for the student textbook includes reduced student pages surrounded by helpful background and teaching notes plus 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.
The World Studies Subject 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.