Story of the World

How do I love Story of the World, let me count the ways!

OK, first let’s get out of the way the fact that it’s not Waldorf. Not even close unless the moon and the stars align just so and you happen to be reading the right chapter at just the right time, like we are for Katie Grace right now. We’re reading the Middle Ages and she’s doing the middle ages. Awesomesauce.

But generally speaking? Story of the World is classical curriculum all the way, baby. It’s published by Peace Hill Press and the inestimable Susan Wise Brown. If you don’t follow her on Facebook you should go do it right now because she is really hilarious. An added bonus is that Jim Weiss narrates the audio books.

So why do we do Story of the World? Well, here’s the poop. I have 6 kids. That’s a lot of main lessons. It makes my life easier if we mostly do history and science together. It allows me to focus on things like teaching kids to read and making sure the toddler twins don’t find the knives. It makes my life a little nicer, and I’ve decided I am worth it. I’m sure if Steiner had 6 children all wanting to be fed 3 times a day he would have streamlined things a little as well.

Or not.

We do enjoy it though. Daniel especially enjoys the stories. They’re told in such a way that the two middle boys like to act them out as I read them. This morning they were in laundry baskets, pretending to be Maori in canoes.

The four youngest pretending to go for a magic carpet ride over the Holy
Roman Empire

After the story, we gather at the table. Daniel loves the coloring sheets (I know, I know!) and the older two do map work. Then we usually do some sort of experiential activity. Yesterday we made a snack mix called Moth Mix, because moths were apparently a hot treat among the aborigines. We used almonds instead of moths. Today we created our own kingdoms and dynasties. Katie Grace’s looked an awful lot like Disneyland.

It’s all fairly surface material. I do expect them to do more in-depth studies both on their own and as part of their main lesson blocks as they get older. Katie Grace, for example, is in the middle of a research paper right now. But it’s a gentle introduction to history that they all seem to enjoy.

My only other complaint would be that it’s pretty light on American history. We try to make up for that in the summers. Living in Pennsylvania, there are so many amazing places to visit to learn about America! I also try to plan read alouds that introduce various periods of US History.

What are some of your favorite history resources?


  1. //

    We use the Time Frame books –which we found accidentally and are absolutely in love with. The books began at the birth of human civilization and move to the nuclear age. Each book is split into a particular time frame.

    The articles are written by scholars of the specific subject who are both knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. The contributors write in ways that are engaging and conversational without ever being verbose, nor superficial.

    The books are Filled with full color glossy photos of the places and artifacts written about.

    They are readily available and very cheap.

    Here’s more info. about them and some photos —

    I know that you’re using Story of the World as a superficial introduction, but be careful, even just for your own ears, of the significant amount and quality of the errors in SOTW. I bought the whole set and was excited about them until I found several errors right off the bat. Then I read the one star reviews on Amazon and found that, if I had checked before hand(!), I would have found out about the problem.

  2. //

    I had a brief fling with SWB when Vincent was about 8. He loved SOTW, and I am thinking of using it again as we approach the end of grade 5 and get into real history. We are also beginning a timeline that I hope to continue over the next couple of years. We are using the beautiful figures from Homeschool in the Woods We are also reading The Short History of the World by EH Grombich – just the parts up to Rome and then we will continue it next year.

    Waldorf has definitely been a journey for me. It is not easy if you are constantly second-guessing yourself or wondering What would Steiner do . . . Glad to see you are blazing your own path.

    Have a great day, Annette.

  3. //

    What ages do you think this is good for? My oldest is about to turn 8. Thanks!

  4. //

    We just started listening to SOTW in the car. We aren’t doing much with it other than listening and discussing, but the kids are loving it so far. As far as American history, we used the American Girl series. The books are terrific historical fiction that give the kids a true feel of living during that time.

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