I was sent Studies in World History volume 1 written by Dr James Stobaugh as part of the Mom’s of Master books review team. While the book is intended for Jr High students I was interested in reviewing it to broaden my options for when we reach this stage. I have skimmed through the book for personal interest and review purposes but it is not a book we will be using for a few more years (should I chose to use it.)
Studies in World History volume 1 covers Creation through the Age of Discovery (1500 AD). The accompanying Teacher Guide includes the Answer Key, a Daily Calendar, Daily Discussion Questions, and Weekly Exams.
What I like about Studies in World History:
I like the layout of this text. Each chapter has an introductory “first thoughts” and “chapter learning objectives”. Key concepts are also written out on this page.
Each lesson is short and, for the most part, well titled with a general overview of what it will talk about; either the history, geography, government, culture, economics or religion of the era and civilization. Biblical passages, references and truths are woven throughout the historical events.
What I do not like about Studies in World History:
There is a lot more that I do not like. Primarily, the images in this book are pathetic. There are plenty of them, but they are small and black and white. This book would have been much better without the printed images and with links to large, colorful images. I realize plenty of wonderful textbooks lack beautiful colorful images (and that colorful images cost much more to produce) but for a book published in early 2014 I was really disappointed with the quantity of poorly represented images.
Second, the text is not very engaging. While flipping through there were bits and pieces of information that caught my interest, but to use this as a history curriculum to engage a jr high age student will require a lot of passion from the parent to bring history to life and give it the wonder and awe that it is deserving of. And while I haven’t read the entirety of the text, I did read some things I found odd, such as chapter 15, lesson 5 which includes an essay on how Christians can prosper in a post Christian, hostile world based on Obadiah and his experiences. It seemed awkwardly out of place.
Third, the discussion questions seem insulting to the intelligence of a jr high student. For example, in chapter 22 lesson 2 dogs are the topic of the lesson. It very briefly covers seven people groups and their use of dogs in warfare and the discussion question is; “How were dogs used in warfare?” It is a direct question and answer – no room for discussion. A lot of the “discussion questions” are the same style – answering a specific question that the text answers for you, not encouraging the mind to expand and discuss.
Overall, I would have been disappointed had I purchased this for our homeschool purposes for a jr high student. Since I own it I am sure I will put parts of it to use when we cycle back through ancient history, but it will be me extracting the better parts and making it work for our family.