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It’s finally here! Have you been waiting as long as I have? We love the Mystery of History volumes, and Volume 4–the last–is finally out.
Many, many years ago when I first started homeschooling, we were turned onto “living books” (such as biographies and historical fiction) and the use of story-telling as the best way to study and learn history. The other story curriculum we used wasn’t written from a Christian perspective, however. And ALL history is written from someone’s point of view. Later on as my children mature I will want them to read the other perspectives out there. They need to know how to discern and compare and contrast. But while they are young, I want them to learn history as it relates to God working in our world.
You get the best of both –the fun stories of history and written from a Christian perspective– in Mystery of History. Volume 4 is organized as the previous volumes have been, with a lesson that you can read aloud to your kids (or the older ones can read to themselves), activities for various ages and tests and quizzes if you’d like to use them. I am so grateful that all the maps are included because we love doing the map activities (and I don’t like searching for maps), and I adore the Supplemental Reading list. We always get a ton of those items from the library!
Here are some details about Volume 4 (I have only seen Quarter 1, so this information is based on that):
* It is available for pre-order now. You will receive the first quarter in PDF download so you can start using it or planning before the actual book is sent in September 2014.
* If you pre-order, you’ll also receive the coloring pages in PDF download for free.
* It covers the Wars of Independence (1708) through Modern Times (2014). 84 lessons divided into 4 quarters.
* Written by Linda Lacour Hobar
* Here is some of what you’ll learn in Quarter 1 of Volume 4: Bach and Handel, the Thirteen Colonies, the Great Awakening, the Seven Years’ War, leaders of the Enlightenment, Benjamin Franklin, the French and Indian War, Catherine the Great, American Revolution, Mozart, French Revolution, Napoleon, Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, William Wilberforce, Beethoven, Mexican War of Independence, War of 1812, Battle of Waterloo, Simon Bolivar, Greek War of Independence.
* Quarter 1 covers 7 weeks, 21 lessons (3 lessons a week), years 1708-1829.
* Quarter 2 covers the years 1822-1877. Quarters 3 and 4 cover the rest of modern history.
* This volume is in color! It has beautiful color pictures, photographs, and maps! I especially like the famous paintings (like Washington Crossing the Delaware) and the portraits of famous men and women.
* The reading difficulty of Volume 4 is 9th/10th grade reading level. But don’t let that scare you from reading it aloud to your younger kids. You can always skip parts or change words if you need to.
* The Companion Guide is chock full of wonderful things to do along with your reading.
Here is what you’ll find in the Companion Guide (Again, I have only seen the portion for Quarter 1.):
* “What Do You Know?” Pre-tests (I always do these orally, but they can be copied and filled out by the kids.)
* Enough extra work for high school students to reach 4-5 hours a week on history in order to earn their high school history credit.
* How to make Memory cards (homemade flash cards)
* How to make Timelines
* Map activities. The special maps needed for Volume 4 are all included in the Companion Guide.
* “What Did You Miss?” exercises–many of these are in the form of a game or competition.
* “What Did You Learn” quizzes (I do these orally, as well.)
* “Put it All Together” Quarterly Worksheets
* Semester Tests
* Supplemental Reading (I have LOVED picking and choosing extra books and DVDs from this list in the previous Mystery of History volumes! This is also important for high school students to add onto their reading of the time period.) The Supplemental Reading appendix has different categories like primary sources, classic books of the time period, and other resources for specific grades.
* Explanations on how to set up a student history notebook and how to adapt the text and activities for your specific kids’ ages,
* Details on how to use Mystery of History for high school credit.
* Answer Keys
There are additional purchases you can make to add-on to Volume 4 of Mystery of History such as the audio version of the student text (with and without music of the time period), challenge cards, coloring pages, notebooking pages, and folderbooks.
Overall, Mystery of History is a must-have, in my opinion, for any Christian homeschooling family. We add lots of resources to it, especially living books. This year we will even be using a different curriculum to study 20th Century History, but we will also be reading many lessons from Mystery of History. I’ll be back at the end of the year to give a more comprehensive review of Volume 4 after we use it this year.
In the meantime, head over to Bright Ideas Press to see sample pages of Mystery of History Volume 4.
(Disclosure: I received the PDF version of Quarter 1 of Mystery of History Volume 4 in order to write this honest review. I will receive the full volume when it is released and will be back later in the year to write a more comprehensive review. This post also contains affiliate links.)