We at Exodus have come to believe that the best approach to studying history is to read real, "living" books, rather than textbooks. There are now quite a number of companies offering programs that do this, of which we offer several. So why do we offer yet another one? Well, quite frankly, we didn't want to add any more history programs to our selection. We felt we had plenty already. Then we talked to Bob & Tina Farewell (from Lifetime Books) at a Curriculum Fair in Portland, and our eyes were opened to something we hadn't really considered.
Mrs. Miller explains:
"All that good reading will still be mere humanistic fluff unless your kids have first been 'primed' to look for the deep spiritual issues at work in the lives of all those people and events they're reading about. Otherwise, your child will just be impressed by the human heroics..."
The TruthQuest History Guides offer that 'priming' she describes. Each new topic is introduced by a paragraph or two that "incrementally and subtly weaves together the deepest issues of history..." By the end of the guide, "the key importance of God and of beliefs will be seen, and the consequences of truth and untruth will be personally grasped by your children."
How Do These Work?
There are eleven books in the Truthquest series, five books covering world history from its beginnings through the 16th century, three covering American History for Young Students, and three parallel Age of Revolution books for older students. American History I and Age of Revolution I cover the same years (Exploration to 1800), as do books II (1800-1865) and III (1865-2000). This aspect makes the series a little more flexible for families with a wide age-span.
On the surface these guides may seem to be nothing more than a glorified reading list—but they are so much more! The three elements of the TruthQuest guides add up to new depth in literature-based history:
- The commentary personally guides families through the breadth of history (revealing the significant connections) and the depth of history (unearthing the cause-and-effect principles). Together, your students will see God's truths and how they are the source of freedom for mankind, how the "Big 2 Beliefs" (Who is God, and Who, then, Is Mankind?) and the church affect society, and how they are expressed in government, science, and art.
- The literature recommendations take you deeper than you thought you could go because you will be immersed in the very best living books, and the recommendations are satisfyingly specific.
- The ThinkWrite exercises prod your students to grasp these important truths and express them in their own words. These are the truths that parents want to impress upon their children but may not be able to express themselves.
Our Honest Opinion:
If your main interest is simply having an excellent book list covering world history, we'd first say that we have quite a few recommendations of our own listed for free on this site, but we'd also recommend you look at the book All Through the Ages as an outstanding (and much cheaper) reference than this series.
As a curriculum, these would be difficult to use on their own. There is certainly plenty of material to cover, an overwhelming amount to read, and the ThinkWrites offer excellent questions to ponder, but these questions are few and far between and there are no recommendations for activities to do. As a supplement, if you use some of Mrs. Miller's recommended spine books, and are creative with additional activities, these are amazing.
It's really the commentary that sets this series apart, which is quite reminiscent of Francis Schaefer's How Shall We Then Live (book or video). In fact, we'd recommend teachers and older students going through the books to also read the book or watch the 10-part video series (available for free, we believe, on YouTube). This perspective alone is what makes the series so compelling to us.
While most of the Truthquest books are prepared in such a way that many children could use them on their own, Mrs. Miller encourages parents to at least read her commentary of events, for, "you'll find yourself much better able to lead—and enjoy—vivid and profound conversations with your kids on some of the most important topics of life...and isn't that why we're home schooling?" Well, that's why we think home schooling is such a great option, anyway! These guides fit our philosophy of home schooling extremely well, and we recommend them highly.
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