We've been pitching an older edition of Streams of Civilization Volume One as a personal favorite for years. Providing an overview of ancient history from creation through the 1620's, and written from a Christian perspective, the book is unique in that it does an excellent job of showing the themes—or streams—of history. As with most world history textbooks, it is a general overview, so there is far more to cover in any given area, but we think the authors did a great job of keeping the text balanced, informative, and flowing.
However, two complaints have stood out for nearly as long as we have sold it. First, it looked really dated. A landscape, two column format; grainy black & white pictures (with blue accents); ugly drawings; and old fonts are just not appealing to many modern kids. Second, as a curriculum, it has not included normal comprehension questions—just vocabulary to define and potential projects to do. These were often fascinating, but also time consuming. Comprehension questions were needed.
This third edition tackles those two complaints head on. Now in portrait format, the publishers have switched to single column text and added beautiful sidebars. Most pictures throughout have been replaced with high-quality photographs or attractive paintings, diagrams have been upgraded, maps have been colorized. It looks stunning.
Second, comprehension questions have indeed been added: 8-12 per chapter. These aren't read and regurgitate questions either; the authors challenge students to explain and defend their answers. That means the teacher's guide (never that necessary before) is now quite helpful. The vocabulary and project lists are still there, but they've also been cleaned up—there are fewer projects to do, and the vocbulary has been split into "Words and Concepts" and "People" lists.
Similar in content to the earlier edition, the table of contents is nearly identical. However, wording changes can be found nearly everywhere in the text. This book is highly recommended by many people as a reference book. If you wish to use it as a textbook, we recommend it for grades 8-10.
Review by Eli Evans
Formerly home educated and now father of five, Eli loves discovering amazing books, new and old. The owner and manager of Exodus since 1998, his focus is on offering thoughtful and well-written books that inspire the imagination and promote creativity and diligence while living for God. Read more of his reviews here
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