World History Elementary - Text

All Ye Lands

World Cultures and Geography
Book cover: 'All Ye Lands: World Cultures and Geography'
Author(s): 
Rollin Lasseter et al.
Copyright: 
2002
Publisher: 
Ignatius Press/Ave Maria College
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
352 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

I've had a chance to skim the book briefly and read the chapters on the Greeks and on the Aztecs and found them helpful and enlightening. There is a distinct effort to be fair to our Catholic legacy without whitewashing faults. (e.g. I noticed that Charlemagne is treated very favorably with the exception of one paragraph that honestly and without sensationalism explains a terrible thing he did in killing a large group of people who refused to be baptized. It also clears up the false rumors regarding the "evils" of Spain while still criticizing where there is fault).

It is quite specifically Catholic in mentioning many great saints and Catholic figures and the role of Christianity in shaping Western Culture (without ignoring the contributions of the Hebrews, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans) and being written from a Catholic point of view even where Catholics aren't specifically mentioned. There is a significant focus on World Cultures including chapters on many non-Christian cultures - eg. Japan, China, India and the Middle East - as well as a great deal about the largely Christian west. I think it is important for our children to understand these cultures and it is so helpful to have a book that honestly highlights the good and beautiful things from these cultures without acting like it doesn't matter that they weren't Christian (In other words, it's NOT in any way new-age or modernist in presenting these other cultures). I think this is an excellent antidote to modern multiculturalISM.

The book is very visually appealing without being overly-busy. It has beautiful full-color pictures throughout with informative captions. There are some fun features as well, such as a "Let's Eat" segment for each culture with information on what people ate and some simple recipes. The book is intended for 6th grade, but would be profitable and enjoyable to anyone wishing to get a better sense of history and culture. This is the first book being published in a series of Catholic history textbooks. (6-21-03)

The book describes the "Legend" of Samson which some have taken as unnecessarily calling into question the historicity of the Bible. Since there is no other indication of a flawed theology in this regard, I would encourage people to simply interpret this as one of the other meanings of "Legend" which is simply "Story".

There's a confusing typographical error on pg. 133 referencing the life of St. John Chrysostom as "(A.D. 550-407)" I believe it should read "(A.D. 350-407)".

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
9-16-02
Reviewed by: 

Catholic World Culture

Book cover: 'Catholic World Culture'
Copyright: 
1998
Publisher: 
Seton Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
124 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This book is sold as a 7th/8th grade history text, but with the addition of some outline maps and a little imagination it could easily serve as an introduction to world geography.

When I first saw Catholic World Culture it appeared to be a rather dry and boring book, but after reading a few paragraphs I was convinced that it would hold my children's attention and excite them about the Faith and history. My oldest son told me that he found it interesting and inspiring, as well as a great source for trivia with which he could impress his friends (a humble child as you can imagine.)

Each of the 30 chapters in this 124 page full color book focus on a specific country, Catholic personality or event. Some of the topics covered include: "The Artist of Mysteries" (da Vinci/Italy), "God Alone Sufficeth" (St. Teresa of Avila/Spain), "Martyrs and Miracles (The Netherlands), "Conversions in the North" (Scandinavia). The chapters end with "Thinking Over" prompts which lead to several interesting discussions in our family.

We attempted to use this as part of a chronological history program and it just did not work, but as part of a geography or religion program or as a supplement to history it was ideal. Best suited for 8th-12th.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
9-16-02
Reviewed by: 

Connecting with History Vol. I

Author(s): 
Andrea Chen
Sonya Romens
Copyright: 
2001
Publisher: 
RC History
Binding: 
Loose-leaf (binder-ready)
Number of pages: 
162 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

A guide for implementing a very comprehensive history program for all ages from preschoolers through adults (yes, even mom!), Connecting with History also incorporates religion, literature, discussion, composition, scripture and poetry memorization, hands-on activities, and more. The stated goal of this program is to help families better understand the Catholic Faith through the study of history, and to better understand true history through the study of the Catholic Faith. Faith, facts and reason are intimately inter-connected in a way that is effective, easy, and interesting. It is designed as four separate volumes covering history from Creation to the present, to be covered in a sequential four-year cycle. Volume One is currently available. Volume Two is available in units and will be available in its entirety by winter 2007. Volumes Three and Four will be forthcoming shortly thereafter.

Unlike other family-based programs on the market, Connecting with History provides a detailed and thorough history education at all academic stages (even high school) that is specifically laid out, offering both options and structure at the same time. Because of its totally unique format, it is effective for virtually all teaching and learning styles, including those who prefer a Classical education (it is based on the trivium‘s stages of learning), theme units (it involves the whole family and many academic subjects), textbook approach (it utilizes core textbooks and fact-based books as its foundation, broken down into specific daily readings), Charlotte Mason (it is literature-based and offers narration, dictation, and notebook suggestions), or interest-driven (the students are encouraged to choose from various resources and activities). Visually appealing, its use of large subject headings and charts makes it easy on mom. Just a glance is needed to understand how to implement the program. Coordinated products such as timeline cards, notebook timeline pages, student report pages, and complete literature units further simplify its use and effectiveness.

On a personal note, Connecting with History has far and away done more for my family than any other purchase I have made in eight years of home schooling. Not only have we been brought closer together through this truly family-based approach to history, but never before has the truth of God’s Word and His Church, within the larger context of world history, been made so brilliantly clear to my children. The discussion prompts and supplemental books and activities bring out the deeper concepts in a way that engages their intellects and helps them to connect the facts of their studies with their day-to-day lives and spiritual growth. It has made home schooling enjoyable and interesting for the kids and myself in a way that nothing else has done (and I’ve tried the gamut of all the different educational approaches mentioned above, and countless products). Additionally, my four children range widely in ages and learning styles: two have ADD and additional unique learning needs, one is a more typical learner, and one is a kindergartner who wants to be included in school with the rest of the family. Connecting with History works for all of them equally well without overwhelming their pregnant mother who is plagued with health problems! And though we operate on a very tight budget, the multiple subjects and grade levels covered with this product help to put our money to very good use without waste. I cannot begin to recommend Connecting with History highly enough!

As we studied Volume One (ancient history and Old Testament), my children really understood Salvation History and the personal love of God as He continually reaches out in greater mercy and tenderness. They felt the newness of revelation when God called Abraham. They felt horrified at the slavery in Egypt. They felt the importance of obedience to God's Law when God gave the Ten Commandments and Moses proclaimed "I place before you today a choice: life or death. Choose life!" They felt frustrated as Israel fell over and over again. They suffered during the Exile. They rejoiced during the Return. They felt the anticipation as Israel waited for the coming Messiah. They understood the historical context of what was happening in the world at those times. They understood the political upheavals, the greatness of Greece and Rome, and how God was preparing the world for His Son. When we got to the New Testament, the study of the life of Jesus and the institution of the Church finally made sense in a way it never did before (even for me!). Nothing has affected us quite the way this product has!

For further information, please visit the following sites: RCHistory.com and The Connecting with History Blog Also see Sample Pages from the Program

Reviewed by Cathi Horning (7-13-06)
Available from RC History

Cathi Horning has been homeschooling for 8 years. She has four children ranging in age from 5 to 13 (plus another on the way). She and her husband converted from Protestantism to the Catholic faith in the Jubilee Year (2000). Her goal in homeschooling is to give an integrated presentation of the Truth of the faith, supported by the various subjects (especially history and religion), and to develop the minds of my children so they can think critically in today's world.

Review Date: 
11-16-06
Reviewed by: 

History Links - General Studies and Ancient Egypt

Book cover: 'History Links - General Studies and Ancient Egypt'
Author(s): 
Jennifer Alles
Barbara Little
Copyright: 
1996
Publisher: 
Wooly Lamb Publishing
Binding: 
Spiralbound
Number of pages: 
68 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

We've only used the General Studies and just begun Ancient Egypt, so I know little. However, I do think they are very creative and very Catholic in their presentation. They recommend a certain kids Protestant Bible for ages 2-8 because of the "high picture-to-text ratio with twelve pictures per double plate spread. The characters are dressed in authentic garb, making it a wonderful companion to the unit studies. There is one reference to Jesus's brothers, but overall it is a fabulous learning resource for younger children and every child loves it!" They then go on to say that older children in the 6-10 year old category and pre-teens/teengagers should be able to use the adult Catholic Bibles, like the NAB, the Douay-Rheims, Jerusalem Bible or the RSV. The other resources they recommend in the "Resources Needed" section are a globe, a world map or atlas, a dictionary, a Catechism of the Catholic Church and a set of Encyclopedias. In the section on "highly recommended but not essential" resources, they also include the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, Usborne Book of World History, Usborne Book of the Ancient World, National Geographic Magazines, Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, Encyclicals, a concordance, the WWW and last but not least, the Institute for Excellence in Writing program.Throughout the program, too, they also highly encourage the use of primary resources, which I think is a good idea. I was really impressed with their General Studies program, mostly for their emphasis on learning first HOW to study the Ancient World (thru. History, Archaeology, Geography and Theology) encouraging students to look methodically at the Ancient World thru. these lenses, rather than thru. a hodgepodge 20th century perspective. They start each section of the General Studies by recommending memorization of various Catholic hymns and prayers, too.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Light to the Nations

The Development of Christian Civilizations, Volume One
Author(s): 
Catholic Schools Textbook Project
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Most Catholic homeschoolers today are familiar with the high quality level of the Catholic Textbook Projects volumes, and this one, Light to the Nations is no exception. (Note that I write this review based on the CD format of the book). Attractive, user-friendly layout, beautiful reproductions and helpful maps are found throughout the chapters.

Light to the Nations explores World History starting with the birth of Christ. So it is the history of our Christian, Western civilization. Volume One, the book in question, goes from the time of the Birth of Christ until the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Volume Two will pick up where this volume has left off, and from what I can assess on their website, it is in production. See more information at the publisher's website at http://www.catholictextbookproject.com/purchase/purchase-main.html

What is different, and both extremely rewarding and delightful about this book, is the issue of trust. You know the feeling: you are studying History with your kids and when it comes to certain historical periods, you begin trembling, knowing all too well what's coming: attacks on the Church based most times on ignorance of History and Protestant slant. Not here!

While this book doesn't have the usual Protestant or secular slant, it does not glorify the Church as a spotless, perfect human institution: She isn't. We know that, as mistakes have been made and apologies have been issued. Light to the Nations gives the Catholic student a balanced, cohesive, balanced account of the turbulent and wonder-ful times of the development and growth of Christendom in Europe.

I led a small group of 8th and 9th graders this past school year (2008-2009) using The Catholic Textbook Project's Light to the Nations. We got together once a week for an afternoon and read aloud the chapter, stopping to discuss when necessary, and using Atlases many times to follow along paths of events. We read the summary at the end of the chapter and loved the interesting extra snippets about people and places of interest. Since the teacher's manual is not yet available, I had the students write different types of questions with answers for each chapter and many times we had fun quizzing each other.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
7-13-2009
Reviewed by: 

The Old World and America

Book cover: 'The Old World and America'
Author(s): 
Rev. Philip Furlong
Copyright: 
1937
Publisher: 
TAN Books
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

The Old World and America is a superb history book that is decidely homeschool-friendly! The book begins briefly with a mention of Genesis, which is unusual in a history text. It is a thorough guide to the history of the world, from the time of primitive man to the mid-1500's. The approach is decidedly Catholic, and reference to Catholic saints are scattered throughout.

We are presently in the early chapters of this text, but the flavour of the book is apparent. Each chapter is amply illustrated with photos, diagrams, and maps (all black and white). Following each chapter is a series of tests, which include oral questions, written questions, discussion questions, word list, questions to make you think, and questions that test your character. What more could a homeschool mother ask for?

The book is reasonably priced. With older children, some supplementary material may be needed to cover various topics in more detail. It is my opinion that this is a wonderful book, and would be an asset to any history program. It would be suitable for a variety of ages (presently, I am using it for Grades 4 to 8).

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Founders of Freedom

Book cover: 'Founders of Freedom'
Author(s): 
Sister M. Benedict Joseph SNJM
Copyright: 
1954
Publisher: 
Neumann Press
Series: 
The Land of Our Lady
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
296 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This first volume in the Catholic American history program, Land of Our Lady, is intended for the fourth grade. It overviews history from Creation to just before Columbus' voyage in 1492. The focus is mostly on Western History - Europe and the Middle East - but Ancient China is also touched upon. Emphasis is placed on the origins of democracy and people in history who were instrumental in its development in various forms (as a preparation for the study of American History - this year's text develops the "background"). The text is very Catholic with a great deal of attention given to Saints who had a role in history and the Catholic Church's influence on civilization. Also included between each Unit are a Marian hymn (with a black and white illustration of Our Lady) and the history of the hymn. While some more controversial issues such as the Inquisition aren't covered (which is reasonable for a 4th grade text), I was happy to see the author point out some of the good and bad of events such as the Crusades. This balanced presentation of history is more helpful for students who have to prepare themselves to defend their Faith in the future.

The text is readable and interesting (although do keep in mind that I LOVE history), but still rather textbookish. Because it is an overview, many topics are covered rather briefly and the "stories" of history aren't present. There are a rather large quantity of written problems, activities and other reviews designed to reinforce the ideas in the text. I would be inclined to only use some of the written problems and instead supplement with some "living books" (stories from History), such as those listed on our Timeline of Good History Reading.

I did notice a few small errors (as is common in textbooks).

First, the term Oro et Laboro which means literally means "I pray and I work", is interpreted as "To work is to pray" which I think is not only a mistranslation, but a misunderstanding of the rule of St. Benedict.

Second, on page 205, a photo of Neuschwanstein Castle (from Germany),which was built in the 1800s, is labeled "a medieval castle". (No, I'm not an expert on castles - our family put together a 1000piece puzzle of this castle last year!).

Some brief references to the Latin Mass (as a universal institution) and Communism are slightly outdated. Overall, I thought it to be quite a good text and I'm looking forward to reading the next volume.

Additional notes: 

This book was donated for review by Neumann Press

Review Date: 
3-2-2000
Reviewed by: