I love history. I have loved it since I was a homeschool kid, and I have always loved teaching it to my own children. In fact, it’s central to my business. And in twenty-one years of homeschooling, I never loved a history curriculum more than Mystery of History. We just spent about a year studying the ancients and the Bible as a family, so I’m excited to share my Mystery of History Volume 1 Review. (This is not a sponsored post, and I did not receive anything in exchange. I just love it.)
I shared this with my social media followers recently, and I want to repeat it here:
When searching for a history curriculum, please, I beg you, don’t settle. Don’t just look for cheap, online, or “hands-off.” Don’t just ask what credits your high schoolers needs. Don’t ask “is all that extra stuff necessary?”
Go. All. In.
Start at the beginning and go with your kids through the centuries. Pull out the maps and globes. Make a timeline. Study the Old and New Testaments. Peruse ancient writings. See historic artifacts at museums and online. Learn about old languages, customs, and battles.
History is the most neglected and butchered school subject in the public education system. Homeschool parents: don’t copy that. We, the homeschool community, have curriculum, books, videos, and supplements that blow public textbooks out of the water. I am not exaggerating.
Pour your heart into this. Make the time. Learn what you do not know. See what you missed growing up.
History is so fascinating when you take the time to explore it. It’s eye-opening, inspiring, and just plain cool. And you know what happens if a society doesn’t know their history…let’s not go there.
So ask: what history curriculum is going to give my kids the best possible education about the history of the world? What will teach them to see men, governments, and God differently? How can my kids get the kind of history education that produced a Churchill, a Jefferson, or an Alfred the Great?
Don’t just settle for checking off boxes. Go all in.
Mystery of History makes this possible.
Six Reasons I love Mystery of History Volume 1
I have a page that details each lesson the way we studied it, but you can read my highlights here:
- The flow of ancient history with biblical history is perfect. Seperating subjects is the norm, and it is tragic. Biblical history is ancient history, and the two are so intricately connected. When students (and that’s most everyone these days) study history without God, it’s incomplete. Mystery of History Volume 1 makes it so easy to understand (and teach) the big picture of ancient history. Linda Hobar (the creator) has a great podcast on this: When Bible History and World History Meet Face to Face.)
- There is a strong biblical worldview. This is imperative for Christian families. For nearly a century, the children of Christian parents have been cheated of a worldview education. Mystery of History brings that back to homeschool history curriculum by showing that the stories we’ve heard and read are not just a bunch of disconnected stories. Knowing God and His word, these stories show us how nations that honor God are blessed, and those that don’t are not blessed. In Volume 1 specifically, students learn about the origins of our world from Genesis, and end the study with the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
- Parents who don’t know/like/remember history can “open and go.” Again, this is most people nowadays. Sadly, history has been undertaught or revised to death, and is rarely taught by those who love it. It’s no surprise that most adults forgot what they learned, or hated it altogether. On the flip side, I can’t begin to tell you how many moms have messaged me with, “This is so fun! I can’t believe I didn’t know any of this stuff!” after using Mystery of History with their children. If you feel that you are lacking in history, there is no time like the present to correct that. Mystery of History is set up so well that any parent can teach from it.
- It is complete and thorough for all ages. If you only used the text and the companion guide, you would have a complete history curriculum for all the children in your family. The additional supplements are added bonuses and we love them, but the companion guide would be plenty. The text can simply be read aloud to younger children, or can be assigned to older students. Parents can choose to add a variety of age-appropriate supplements, like picture books or full-length novels, coloring pages or note taking, maps to label or maps to color.
- It is flexible enough to adapt to any calendar. The timetable is yours! Though it is split into “weeks,” you can do the lessons on any timeframe. What’s more, you can expand on certain lessons and dive deeper into certain topics if you wish! The companion guide includes suggested activties, as well as a supplemental guide to extra books and movies. You can pick and choose how much time to devote to each lesson. I do exactly this. Sometimes a lesson is important to our family, or to me as a mom, so I’ll slow it down and explore more. Sometimes it’s a topic I know we’ve covered plenty, so we will read the text and then move on. The flexibility is superb!
- It has strengthened apologetics in our home. Studying Old Testament history on a world history timeline, complete with prophecies and fulfillments, archeological evidence, and ancient documents, has done so much for my childrens’ understanding of scripture and its trustworthiness. The kids love taking video tours of biblical locations and seeing the evidence of their existence. I love seeing the “oh wow” moments on their faces!
How we use Mystery of History
My kids are ages 10 through 16. I typically homeschool multiple ages together for so many reasons, and Mystery of History works wonderfully with this arrangement. We spend two days per week on history, covering 4-6 lessons (plus homework assignments for the rest of the week). You can see our homeschool schedule for more detail.
Everything that accompanies the Mystery of History text is so valuable, and I recommend looking at all of the options and choosing what will work for your family, depending on the ages of your children. We use everything in the Companion Guide, the folder book (lapbook) supplements, a timeline, and for Volume 1 we heavily rely on our Bibles as a supplement.
In addition, I like to add in things that I know work for my family. That’s the great thing about homeschooling: customization! You’ll see in my lesson-by-lesson descriptions that I have found some fun videos to watch, projects to try, field trips to take, and tons of great books to read.
Making History Fun
Let’s face it: if history is not fun, it’s boring. Too many (TOO MANY!) people hated or forgot all the history they learned because it was not captivating. This is not news to anyone. That’s why I like to add in a variety of supplements to bring it alive. Food, music, hands-on activities, video, and especially great stories are the key to making history relevant and fun!
But don’t be intimidated: I don’t do all of those things for evey lesson! I pick and choose and pace myself. You should do the same. If arts and crafts aren’t your thing, just do them once in awhile, and set aside a day just for that. Be willing to get messy, and schedule time for cleanup. I promise you, it is worth it!
If you want to make it fun (and memorable, which is most important), try sprinkling in some of the things we did in our lessons. I have blogged about each and every lesson and the added activities we did, from suggestions in the companion guide, to extra books and videos that I found on my own. Do a few things that speak to the senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch!
Check out my complete guide to each lesson, and the recommended supplements HERE.
Feel free to leave a comment below: do you use Mystery of History? What do you love about it? Questions? Ask below and I’ll be happy to answer them.