Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Truth Quest History Review-Revisited
A few years ago, I was introduced to TruthQuest History (see my original TruthQuest Review). My original review is quite lengthy and comprehensive, but to summarize in case you don't follow the link above to read it- I love TruthQuest :-).
My original review was of Ancient Rome, and this time, I chose Ancient Greece. My reasoning was two fold. First, next year we are moving back to world history, and TruthQuest Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome will be main components of that. And second, my daughter is currently REALLY into the Percy Jackson books, so a short foray into Ancient Greece fit in perfectly right now!
So what is TruthQuest? Well, in a way, WAY oversimplified nutshell, it offers brief Christian worldview synopses (short narratives) of events and important elements of each time period and then extensive recommend book lists for you to use to dig deeper into each subject.
For example, in Ancient Greece, there is a section specifically on Alexander the Great. Much of the narrative TruthQuest provides cross references the Biblical prophecy in Daniel about the rise of Greece over the Medo-Persians. Then, after the narrative, there is a list of "spine" references you can use to read more (a "spine" is like a textbook-it offers a little bit of information abotu a LOT of different things). After the "spines", there are other historical books suggested, as well as historical fiction. There are even books suggested about Alexander and his animals and Alexander and Judah. After all those, there is a section with a narrative about Aristotle because a) he's a famous Greek, but also b) he tutored Alexander. Do you have to read all of those things? No. Do you have to read about Alexander and his animals? No. Do you have to read about ANY of those things? No...but you'd miss the beauty of TruthQuest if you didn't ever use any outside resources. See, where the narratives give short dialogues about those events in history in light of a Christian worldview, the book lists help you to glean more wisdom about the time period itself in a way that is meaningful to your students. You can do crafts, play games, or explore poetry from that time period. Or can follow every rabbit trail. Or none at all. It's all up to you.
There are also a few suggested writing assignments along the way to help you child dig deeper. And always, the focus is on figuring out the culture's Big 2 Beliefs- Who is God? and Who, then, is mankind? The answers to those questions play a role in everything else about the culture, and figuring them out encourages your children to gather wisdom and not just knowledge.
The pros: This curriculum is totally flexible. You can read all of the narrative...or not. You can find every book they suggest...or none at all. You can feel free to substitute based on what is available at your library. Writing is encouraged not just to write but to reinforce the key concepts being taught and to help your children learn to express what they are learning. Wisdom is stressed over knowledge. God, as the Creator of all mankind, and therefore all man's history, is an integral part, not an afterthought. The guides now cover all the major eras of history and are not very expensive at all. And you can use these with a variety of ages at the same time by simply tailoring your booklist and adding in different activites for each level.
The cons: If you are the type of person who needs a detailed schedule that tells you what to cover each day, or at least what to cover each week, this is not for you. Part of the beauty of TruthQuest-it's flexibility- means that you aren't bound to rigid schedules...but it also means you don't even have a loose one to follow.
The bottom line: I can't recomment TruthQuest enough. We used a different history curriculum this year (because of participating in a co-op) and while I loved the readers it uses, the PACE was intense and left very little time for any supplemental studies. Too often, I felt like I was teaching the subject and not the STUDENT. TruthQuest eliminates that by offering a wonderful list of reading materials but no rigid timeline to follow. The pace is mine to set.
To read more about TruthQuest, or to order any of their History Guides, go HERE. They range in price from $19.95 to $29.95 depending on the time period and on whether you want the hard copy or the pdf. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say (some of them received different time periods to review), go HERE.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a free download of the Ancient Greece pdf in exchange for my honest review. That download is the only compensation I received.