Light to the Nations

The Development of Christian Civilizations, Volume One
Catholic Schools Textbook Project
Sewn Hardcover
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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

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.

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